When talking about depression, I prefer to use positive/active words as opposed to combative or oppressive words. I'm looking for a word that fits in this sentence that is active and positive:

I can use this technique (to?) ________ depression

I thought about something like disempower, but to me it feels more oppressive, like taking power away. I'm looking for a word that reduces the implied power in the first place, like dimming a light vs shading it. Possibly like you see in films, where the imaginary influence becomes smaller and less significant, vs binding it.


5 Answers 5


I like the word 'ameliorate' in this usage. While not well known, which may require some explanation, it's meaning is so much more about redirecting that combating something - it literally means to take a bad thing and make it better.

It also has a soft, soothing sound to it...


How about:

I can use this technique to alleviate depression.

  • Not quite, but you did lead me to the word I was looking for.
    – Eris
    Commented Apr 12, 2016 at 17:25

Thanks to @Hugh-Meyers, I found the word I was looking for:

assuage əˈswāj

verb: make (an unpleasant feeling) less intense.

"the letter assuaged the fears of most members"



  1. to lessen in force or intensity, as wrath, grief, harshness, or pain; moderate.
  2. to make less severe: to mitigate a punishment.
  3. to make (a person, one's state of mind, disposition, etc.) milder or more gentle; mollify; appease.



Counter, as in off-set. Although counter itself can be opposing!

Definition of counter (Entry 3 of 7) transitive verb. 1a : to act in opposition to : oppose. b : offset, nullify tried to counter the trend toward depersonalization. 2 : to assert in answer We countered that our warnings had been ignored.

Source - Google People also ask:What is the definition of counter? https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=define+counter

  • Whose definition are you using? Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:31
  • Google, See edit, I thought of the word 'counter' before checking as it, does sound a little negative but, seemed to flow nicely.
    – user414952
    Commented Feb 24, 2021 at 21:39

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