How to Treat Depression Naturally Without Drugs or Supplements
I have dealt with depression for my entire life and in so doing I have developed ways to deal with it when it comes without resorting to drugs or supplements. I have tried medications in the past but they never worked very well and I didn't like the side effects and I just don't like the idea of them. I also tried all the natural supplements out there, they too didn't work and they are rather expensive. Now at the ripe old age of 48 I think I have a pretty good handle on fighting the monster of depression through natural depression remedies without using drugs or supplements.
First and foremost when seeking natural remedies for depression is prevention. I use exercise, a light box, and eating well to prevent the onslaught of depression. These methods do help and if you aren't exercising on a regular basis I would highly recommend it. Start out slow and build up to at least ½ hour a day and if you can do it outside all the better, try to sweat (I have this thing about sweating; I think it's good for you :). This alone will help you to feel better almost instantly. When I exercise inside I do so with a light box in front of me. I did some research and there seems to be ample evidence that a certain amount of light helps to defray depression. So I exercise in front of the light box and it does seem to help, but then again it could just be in my head :). Lastly, eating well helps me to keep from becoming depressed in the first place. I don't know about you but feeling like a fat pig never helps me to get out of a depression.
Oh and I didn't mention one other common remedy for depression and that is getting enough sleep. I purposely didn't mention this because usually when you are depressed you get too much sleep (or at least I do). So a little common sense goes a long way regarding sleep...don't get too much, make sure to get enough...enough said.
Ok, now that we have the basics for prevention taken care of what can you do when you are sliding down the slippery path of depression in spite of your best efforts at prevention?
Here are a few things that have helped me in the past:
1, DO SOMETHING OUTSIDE:
This can be something as mundane as chopping wood to playing with your dog in your yard for awhile or playing your guitar, but whatever it is do it outside for at least ½ hour and longer if you can.
2. DO SOMETHING CREATIVE:
Make something, cook something, work on your car, learn to knit, mend some clothes, bake bread, paint a picture, create a You Tube Video, write a poem (it may be a sad poem but hey some of the saddest poems are the best). Write for hubpages or wordpress! Sometimes just getting something on paper (or a computer screen) will make you feel better. Some of my best poetry was created when I felt really down.
3. GO SOMEWHERE:
Take a drive, go to a movie, go to a bookstore, to to a museum, visit with a friend, go window shopping. Try take a short trip for a weekend to another place. Change up the scenery. This will help to distract yourself and sometimes that is all you need to help your body lift out of the depression. Make a list of places to go to when you aren't depressed and refer to it when you are.
4. DO SOMETHING FOR SOMEONE ELSE:
It always helps to get out of your own head and also I have found that misery loves company! Find someone else who is hurting and help them, it will make you feel better. One thing I would avoid are inordinately happy people. Inordinately happy people make me more depressed when I am already depressed, if you are not like that then go for it but that's the way I am so I avoid them like the plague when feeling low.
5. GET A PET:
This is is more of a long term solution but it really helps. Some of the greatest joy in my life was with my dog and there is nothing more wonderful than having a companion greet you in the morning and when you come home. Also, it helps to have something to take care of so I would heartily recommend getting a pet. I had one and I can truly say he was the joy of my life in so many ways.
6. DEAL WITH YOUR ISSUES INTELLECTUALLY:
What do I mean about this? If there is a particular problem you are having that is causing you to succumb to depression, deal with that problem, research solutions, talk to a therapist or with friends and come up with a game plan. Don't let specific problems go unanswered to fester into a long term depression but search out solutions and then put a plan into action. Make a goal and take a step towards that goal, even if it is a small step, then figure out the next step and do that, don't think about the endgame, just think about the next step. The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time! Just working on the problem will give you hope and help your depression.
7. CUT OUT THE SUGAR!
Taking sugar out of your diet will elevate your mood tremendously. Stop eating all refined sugar and replace it with a limited amount of honey or maple syrup and/or fresh fruit. In less than a week you will notice your depression lifting, anxiety fleeing and a sense of calm that wasn't there before.
8. LAST BUT NOT LEAST:
Call a friend. I recommend this last because I don't like to burden my friends with my bouts of depression. Sometimes it can wear down a relationship. But, there are people out there that are just plain good to talk to (you don't even have to tell them you are depressed) so I definitely didn't want to leave this out, besides all that good company is a balm to the soul.
I hope that some of these ideas will help you as they have helped me. Depression is not about character flaws or moral deficiencies, depression is a problem like any other and there are methods that help. In the end you have to get to know yourself and what works for you, there are no hard and fast rules. These ideas have helped me and I hope that they will help you too!
Good luck, God bless and just remember this too shall pass!
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