• Kelly Hurley

8 ways you can start decreasing your depression in Phoenix Arizona

Updated: Apr 8

8 ways you can start decreasing your depression in Phoenix Arizona


Are you starting to feel some of your depression returning? Have you lost some enjoyment from your usual activities, feeling tired & having difficulty getting out of bed? Are you feeling sad or irritable most of the day? Are you focused on everything that’s been going wrong in the past couple of months…years? It’s time to take your power and control back. The depression episode might still happen, and you might be able to keep it from becoming too intense or last too long. Here are some interesting things that you can do to shake up your routine and start getting active. If these don’t work, you might consider starting up your depression therapy sooner rather than later. But let’s at least try 1-2 of these.


1. Go for a walk or a hike


For the easiest type of walking, just go out your front door and walk in your fabulous Phoenix Arizona neighborhood!! Especially in the winter months, this is why we all live here! Get outdoors and enjoy the seasons! Even if it feels like you can’t enjoy it today, if you do this consistently for a short time (10-15 minutes) each day you’ll notice that your mood starts to shift. Let’s look for those small steps of progress.



As you’re walking, without judgment, enjoy your neighbors’ yards and how they have things decorated. If you let judgment creep in, that will make shifting your mood difficult. So, when you notice judgments or comparisons coming up, gently shift your attention just to noticing the trees, the flowers, the cacti (Phoenix has such variety) and any funky yard art they have.


For a fairly gentle stroll in the Phoenix Arizona area, try the Dreamy Draw Area using the access by the 40th Street Trailhead. The main parking lot is closed through the Fall 2022 for a Drought Pipeline Project, but the Charles Christianson Trail (#100) is open for use. I’ve walked that trail many a Saturday to decompress from my week.


For a little bit more rigorous hiking, you can hike North Mountain or Piestewa Peak. These 2 mountains are close to one another and provide fabulous views of the Downtown Phoenix area as well as surrounding views.



Maybe your depression won’t let you hike right now, but how about enjoying the outdoors and learning something new at the Pueblo Grande Museum Archaeological Park. There are both hiking trails as well as tours.

2. Find a Comedy Club.


Because Phoenix Arizona is so close to Hollywood, we can pull in some big-name comedians. This is also the place where people like to go to start honing their comedy routine so that they can make it in Hollywood. Take advantage of some fun venues in Phoenix and surrounding areas. Taking some time out to laugh and enjoy your sense of humor can help ease some depression symptoms. Some good ideas are Stand Up Live link, Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy AZ link, Improve Comedy Club (Tempe) link, or Stir Crazy Comedy Club link,.

If your depression has gotten so intense that nothing makes you laugh, consider trying a mindfulness laugh exercise like the one here by Robert Rivest called Pure Laughter. You’ll have to set some intention to listen to this everyday and practice laughing for 3-5 minutes to start. Work your way up to laughing with him for the full 20 minutes. Allow the laughter to rise and fall in waves as you laugh along with him. Ask your spouse or partner to join in to help keep the laughter going.


3. Call a friend and go to the movies—maybe a horror flick or a comedy


Research has shown that horror movies, can greatly shift our mood. We are better at regulating our emotions when we learn how to be startled, feel that rush of adrenaline and then remind ourselves that it’s just a movie!!


Shifting your emotion away from events in the past that you feel guilty about, whether you watch a scary movie or watch something that you can laugh along with, both will help ease your depression. Some of the top scary movies to check out are Get Out, A Quiet Place, Psycho (1960), Aliens (1986), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), or The Birds (1963) to name a few. You could also try any of the “Scream” movies for the comedy as well as scary parts in the movie series.


For horror movies filmed in the Phoenix AZ area try, “Eight Legged Freaks’ (2002) or “Piranha 3D” (2010)


Phoenix Arizona has all kinds of different types of movie houses, AMC (they have a Dine-In theater in the Biltmore Area), Harkins, or several parks host “outdoor movie” events during the winter months.


4. Go sit in a park & enjoy the sunshine on your face


When I was a kid and pushing to stay at home another day after I’ve been sick, my mom would always make me get outside for 5 to 10 minutes in the sunshine— with my favorite blanket of course. After I was out there in the full-blown sunshine, I would reluctantly agree to go ahead and go to school. It’s tough to get back out of bed when you’re not feeling good. So just getting some sunshine on your face and hands can help begin shifting your depression. Watching dogs play at a local dog park, can make you smile if you are an animal lover. Find a few of your nearest Phoenix public parks with this link.



5. Learn to paddle a kayak on Tempe town Lake


Whether you reach out to a friend or just go by yourself, it can be fun to be out on the water. Enjoy learning how to paddle around. Or really push yourself physically. This is a great event to do when you invite friends and family from out of town to visit you here in Phoenix Arizona. Other people would love to help you by doing something fun to keep you from becoming extremely depressed.



There are single person or double kayaks. Once you’ve learned the basics, you can rent one on your own or build your skills with your spouse, partner or a good friend. Phoenix has so many opportunities to be near or on the water. Let this help you relax and enjoy the moment you are in rather than being depressed about the past.


6. Go for a Segway tour in Scottsdale


Do something new, I really enjoyed the Segway tour I did in Lake Havasu City Arizona. It forced my body to balance and use my core just a little bit. This is a great way to get yourself activated without any strenuous exercise. They teach you how to use the Segway, which is straightforward and there’s not a lot of exertion needed. You’ll get to know a new part of town with a fun group of people. I’m hoping someone starts a Segway tour in some fun Phoenix areas soon as well.



Another tip to work your core at home in your Phoenix apartment is to purchase an exercise ball. Instead of sitting in a chair when you’re working from home or watching TV, spend 10 to 15 minutes sitting on the exercise ball and switch back-and-forth. Notice how you feel emotionally or physically from sitting on the exercise ball vs. sitting/slouching on the couch.


7. Attend the First Friday Art Walk in downtown Phoenix and enjoy spending time with creative people


Sometimes just getting out and enjoying other people’s creativity and see what amazing things people can make can shift things around. Downtown Phoenix Arizona hosts a First Friday Art Walk every month. They do a great job making a space for artists and art lovers to enjoy a creative atmosphere.



This is another area where you’d have to watch your judgments. Allow yourself to be inspired. Watch for judgement to creep in. Stop any negative self-talk you do (“I should be more creative!” “I’m not creative at all!”) Remind yourself ways that you are creative, it doesn’t have to be painting or drawing. Everyone’s creative in some way. Allow yourself to get in touch with your inner five-year-old that loved to finger painting or using chalk on the sidewalk!



Speaking of chalk, when was the last time you did some hopscotch. Draw this on the sidewalk outside your house; the neighbors might come out and join you—or use it when you are looking!


8. Do something of service for others, call St. Mary’s Food Bank or some other organization and volunteer


Helping others can improve your mood and self-esteem. Any amount of time you can spare is a huge help for local Phoenix Arizona non-profits. It won’t cost you any money to feel like less of a burden (I’m NOT saying you are a burden, however, you might be having a thought like that and volunteering could reduce or stop that feeling).


You can also check out the opportunities on the Valley of the Sun United Way website. They have a web page dedicated to Volunteer Opportunities. Even during COVID, there are several ways you could help out!You could read to kids virtually through a couple different programs. You could support VSUW during Spring Training with the Milwaukee Brewers.




I really hope a few of these have sparked just a little curiosity to go and try something new in this great town of Phoenix AZ. Being active and learning something can be so helpful to get you out of ruminating about anything. Depression is a tricky beast. If you’ve tried these things, and you can still feel the depression getting worst, make a call to get Depression Therapy help. You deserve to get some peace of mind as soon as you can. We would like to give you back some hope for your life & future. Call for a 15-minute Consultation.




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