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Natural Mood Boosters for Depression

Updated on March 21, 2013

Depression Connections in the Brain

Why Go Natural?

You may be wonder why you should even search out ways of dealing with depression naturally when you can just pop a pill and be on your way. If you have ever watched the commercials for anti-depressant medications, there is a laundry list of negative side effects. Sometimes when I see these, I would rather just deal with my depression than some of the things I could experience from the medication. The pills you take to combat your depression can sometimes cause irreversible damage to your health.

Antidepressants: What You Need to Know About Depression Medication

General Tips on Pulling Yourself Out of a Rut

  • Don't fall into the trap of being depressed and sitting on the couch all day in your PJ's. Even if you feel horrible and don't want to do anything.This will likely make it worse.
  • Surround yourself with people; more specifically, encouraging people. Engage in conversation. It is hard to stay depressed while being social.
  • Get out and do something you love, no matter whether you "feel like it" or not.
  • Trick yourself! Just smile and see what happens. Your mind will actually think you're happy if your body is doing something it would do if you were happy.

Chemical Causes of Depression

There are three neurotransmitters that play a big role in depression. These chemicals are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Depression is typically a result of a lack of these chemicals or a limited supply. Serotonin has been shown to have a calming effect, soothing and generating general feelings of contentment. Research has shown that depression sufferers have lower levels of homovanillic acid. This acid helps to metabolize dopamine in the Central Nervous System. Norepinephrine is a neurotransmitter commonly called adrenaline. This is what helps us recognize and deal with stress. Norepinephrine is typically the chemical addressed in anti-depressants.


Ways to Increase Serotonin

  • Get out into the sun. Sunlight releases serotonin stores in the central nervous system.
  • Eat more fiber and less processed carbohydrates. This will release insulin into your bloodstream which allows a serotonin producing amino acid to freely flow to your brain.
  • Exercise. This reduces stress. Stress robs the brain of serotonin.
  • Get better sleep. Serotonin is produced primarily while you sleep.
  • Make sure you get enough Vitamin B, Calcium and Magnesium. These are important in Serotonin production.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol and fake sugars. These give you an artificially good feeling and make mood regulation more difficult.

Ways to Increase Dopamine

  • Eat ripe bananas. The more a banana matures, the more natural dopamine it contains. The "bruises" on bananas have the most.
  • Eat foods rich in antioxidants. These help get rid of free radicals in your body which lower dopamine levels.
  • Reduce the amount of sugary foods and saturated fats in your diet. These reduce the amount of dopamine in your bloodstream.
  • Avoid caffeinated drinks. Caffeine causes a spike in serotonin a short time and then causes a drop in dopamine.
  • Eat raw almonds, sunflower seeds or sesame seeds.
  • Purchase natural amino acids supplements that will give you a dopamine boost.

Ways to Increase Norepinephrine

  • Take a supplement with L-tyrosine, L-phenylalanine or St. John's wort.
  • Get least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days per week.


Do you take medication for your depression?

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Disclaimer

I acknowledge, not everyone can deal with their depression through these natural means. Talk to your doctor before you avoid or discontinue any medication.

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    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 4 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Every person is different. Some people can pull themselves out of a depression by following the suggestions you have given here, especially if it is based primarily on their thought process. Unfortunately, there are many who suffer from depression that comes from chemical imbalances in the brain that require medication to get them back on track. Then, they are in a position to make more positive life choices.

    • Learning in Life profile image
      Author

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      I completly agree with you. Not everyone can deal with depression naturally. But, even those on medicaion can benefit from these srategies. These suggestions are intended for those with mild to moderate depression.

      Thank you for the comment and taking he time to read my hub.

    • Rain Defence profile image

      Rain Defence 4 years ago from UK

      I can't see any downside of following the tips in here. Of course the people that have severe clinical depression aren't going to be able to just pull themselves together, but these are good tips for keeping your brain and mind healthy.

    • Learning in Life profile image
      Author

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      Not everyone can fully deal with depression naturally. Even those who require medication to treat their depression can benefit from these natural techniques.

    • profile image

      Depression... needforhealth.wordpress.com 4 years ago

      Nice suggestions to get rid of depression. Thanks for sharing.

    • Learning in Life profile image
      Author

      Megan Sisko 4 years ago from SW Florida

      You can never really "get rid of" depression. You can only hope to keep it in control.

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