Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Residential Programs in  Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo



Cottage Residential Center Alumni

Depression Strategies


Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods. It can distort the way you see yourself and your situation – you see everything with a more negative attitude, and you cannot imagine that any problem can be solved with a positive outcome.


Symptoms of depression can include the following:


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Anxiety Strategies

Music and Meditation


  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Becoming withdrawn or isolated
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping

Here are some suggested ways to deal with depression:



Exercise can help increase endorphins (which act as a natural anti-depressant), can trigger a positive feeling in your body, help ward off feelings of depression and boost self esteem. Go to a gym to use exercise equipment, free weights, and yoga mats for a good workout.



Write about problems you’re facing, your feelings and thoughts, but then also write about possible solutions. This can help you understand what you’re going through and what choices you have.


Gratitude List

Make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for…such as your sobriety and recovery, people in your life who are supportive, the things in your life that are going well (not everything  is negative), this morning’s sunshine, a walk to the beach, etc. etc. Making such a list can quickly change your attitude, which in AA-speak is “starting your day over” – you can do it at any time, if not in writing then in your mind and in your thoughts.



This strategy is also known as “changing the channel.”  When other techniques don’t seem to be working, sometime this one can help.  It is based on the idea that the brain isn’t very good at doing analytical work and emotions at the same time.  So, challenge your brain to focus on something analytical and help it shift out of its depressive state.


Here are some suggestions to engage the analytical parts of your brain: crossword puzzles, Sudoku puzzles, word search puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, math problems, etc. The staff can provide you with some puzzle options, or challenge yourself with some tough subtraction in your head.  For example, start at 500 and subtract by 7s in your head for as long as you can or until you feel better.


Prayer and Meditation

Engage in prayer – ask your higher power for guidance and suggestions (an important part of the art of “turning it over”).  The Serenity Prayer can also be helpful.  Guided meditation may also help redirect your thoughts and emotions to a more positive state. See our recommendations for music and meditation tracks >>


Affirmations *

Affirmations are positive statements that describe a desired situation, and which are repeated many times, in order to impress the subconscious mind and trigger it into positive action. In order to ensure the effectiveness of the affirmations, they have to be repeated with attention, conviction, interest and desire.


Most people repeat in their minds negative words and statements and consequently, create undesirable situations.  Do you keep thinking and telling yourself that you cannot do something, you are too lazy, lack inner strength, or that you are going to fail?


Affirmations program the mind in the same way that commands and scripts program a computer. The repeated words help you to focus your mind on positive aims, and automatically build corresponding mental images in the conscious mind, which affect the subconscious mind, in a similar manner to creative visualization.  It is important to understand that repeating positive affirmations for a few minutes, and then thinking negatively the rest of the day, neutralizes the effects of the positive words. You have to refuse to think negative thoughts, if you wish to attain positive results.


It is advisable to repeat affirmations that are not too long, as they are easier to remember. Choose only positive words, describing what you really want. Always affirm in the present tense, not the future tense.


Some examples:

  • I am healthy and happy.
  • My mind is calm.
  • I am surrounded by love.
  • I am successful in whatever I do.
  • Everything is getting better every day.

(* From


Cottage Residential Center
316 W. Montecito Street
Santa Barbara CA 93101
(805) 569-7422

  Cottage Residential Center in Santa Barbara