- Mental Health
10 Ways to Treat Depression Naturally
Don't Suffer in Silence
It’s more than just an occasional case of the blues. If you suffer from depression symptoms, you know it’s not something you can easily shake, even when well-meaning friends prompt you to do so. Depression is a real illness that can affect your body as well as your mental outlook.
Depression symptoms can include extreme sadness or melancholy, anger, inability to concentrate, lack of sexual desire, altered sleep patterns, weight fluctuations and lethargy. Major depression is much more serious and includes fatalistic thoughts and the feeling that life has no purpose. If you’re experiencing symptoms of major depression, call your doctor or tell a family member or friend right away.
Skip the Brewsky
1. Restrict Alcohol and Illegal Drugs
It can be tempting to drown your sorrow in a bottle or hide under the influence of an illegal street drug, but the use of these substances to treat depression is more likely to add to the depths of depression.
Depending on a substance to block the pain could leave you battling another problem...addiction.
2. Take it Outdoors
Schedule in some outdoor activity daily, even if you have to drag yourself off the sofa. A brisk daily walk or jog – of at least 45 minutes does two things. First, it gets your blood pumping, which increases circulation to your brain and the release of good-feeling endorphins. Second, it mentally removes you from isolation, which can exacerbate depression symptoms.
Sip to Sooth and Balance
3. Turn to Tea
Your grocery store carries herbal teas in flavorful combinations, but some herbs are more likely to ease depression symptoms than others are. Sip a cup of steaming chamomile, St. John’s wort, Valerian, ginkgo biloba, Siberian ginseng, lavender, ylang ylang or catnip.
Herbal tea blends that combine one or more of these herbs may be even more beneficial.
4. Eat the Right Foods
While there is no specific diet for treating depression, eating a balanced diet filled with natural whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables and plenty of fiber are your best bet. In some cases, an allergy or hypersensitivity to certain foods can have a detrimental effect on your mindset. These foods include, but are not limited to dairy products, wheat, corn, sugar, refined and processed foods, artificial colors, preservatives and additives. If you think your diet is part of your depression problem, talk to your doctor about following a food elimination diet to determine the food triggers.
Schedule Your Activities
5. Set a Daily Schedule and Follow It
It can be tough just to get out of bed when you’re depressed, but by setting a strict schedule, you won’t have to make decisions on a daily basis about when to get out of bed, when to shower, when to eat and when to do chores. Following a schedule gives you emotional stability through organization and, in combination with other natural depression treatments, goes a long way toward making live happier.
6. Supplementing Your Diet
Not getting enough of some nutrients can worsen depression symptoms in some people. Studies show that certain supplements can help beat mild cases of depression. These include 5-HTP, Omega-3 fatty acids, B-Complex vitamins, folate, SAMe, Melatonin and GABA. Follow the dosage instructions on the package and consult your doctor before taking supplements if you’re already taking medications for depression or any other medical condition.
7. Breath Control
It seems like such a simple thing – and it is – breathing is the most natural and simple thing on the planet, which is why we often overlook its healing benefits. When you’re anxious, afraid, sad or depressed, your breathing becomes shallow and you don’t draw in deep cleansing breaths. When you’re feeling down, find a quiet place where you can be alone for at least 10 minutes and sit or lie down comfortable. Close your eyes and focus only on your breathing. Draw in a deep breath through your nostrils to the count of 3 and exhale slowly to the count of 5.
As you perform the breath control exercise, note the physical feelings associated with the breaths. Feel the sensation of the air as it enters your nostrils. Feel how your ribs expand and release. That’s all there is to it – just focus on deep breaths and maintain the breath control count. If your mind wanders, smile and gently bring your thoughts back to your breathing. 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient.
8 Create a Rescue Scene
Your rescue scene is a mental image that you create in detail and to which you can turn when depression sets in. To create your scene, imagine two or three of the happiest times in your life and create a short mental story – like a skit – in which you start with the first memory and proceed to the next. As you do this, take note of your FEELINGS. Remember them. Savor them. Remember the smells, the tastes, the feelings, the exhilaration. It can take a while to create your rescue scene and you can change it if you like.
When you feel the need, close your eyes, no matter where you are, and call up your rescue scene – in every minute detail. When you finish savoring the scene, which can last anywhere from a minute to 5 or 10 minutes you can’t help but feel better.
Natural Depression Cures
9. Fake a Smile to Feel Better
Hold a pencil between your teeth to beat depression. This might seem strange at first, but studies show that by exercising the muscles that make us smile – our brain releases feel-good endorphins that fight depression. Place the pencil sideways between your teeth so it sticks out of both sides of your mouth. This position triggers the “smile” chemicals and you can go about your work while using the natural treatment.
What's Your Depression Quotient?
What best describes your experience with depression.
10. Try New Things
Depression can result when you see your life as stuck in a rut and never changing. The truth is – whatever is bothering you today, probably won’t matter nearly as much this time next year. Sometimes, all it takes is letting the old slip away and trying new things. Make it a point every day to try something new. It doesn’t have to be major. Take a new route to work, rearrange your furniture, buy a bright throw pillow, order something different at lunch, talk to someone you’ve never spoken to, change your hairstyle. By trying one new thing every day, you’ll open yourself up to new possibilities, which is what beating depression is all about.