Meditation, Outdoor Movement and Yoga for Depression

4 min readFeb 7, 2024
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Many people experiencing OCD also suffer from depression. Meditation can help quiet the mind and support mindfulness, which is beneficial to people with OCD as well as to people with depression. But when some people close their eyes to meditate, they find themselves facing unwanted thoughts that pull them further into depression or OCD.

If you find yourself getting lost in unpleasant thoughts while meditating, you may want to try meditating with your eyes open. This helps to keep your focus on the real world, instead of an inner world of turmoil.

Open-Eyed Meditation

Sit comfortably with a straight spine and look ahead and down at the floor. Allow yourself to have a soft gaze. Your eyelids may be half-open and your vision can get a bit burry. You are not examining the floor and analyzing it; you are just letting your gaze rest on the floor in a soft focus.

Notice your breathing, in and out. There is no special breath technique here, just be aware of your breath and keep coming back to that awareness when you find yourself drifting into thought.

You can do this meditation for any length of time. See if it gives you a break from depressive thinking.

Get out and Move

Another way to find relief is through outdoor physical activity, like walks, jogs, hikes, rock climbing, skiing or swimming. If you are unmotivated to get yourself out of the house and into nature, it can be very effective to have a friend who will go with you. Scheduling a regular time can help. Having a buddy to go to the gym for a workout can also be useful.

Physical activity can produce depression-lifting endorphins as well as keep you distracted from your depressive thoughts by engaging in the world outside your house.

Yoga for Depression

You can also try to break the grip of depression with some basic yoga positions:

  • Inversions
  • Backbends
  • Heart openers

Here are basic examples of each. Like with the meditation, keep your eyes open during these physical yogic practices.




Essays, stories & poetry about OCD, culture and society, by Eric. OCD-Free the book: