- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Natural and Home Remedies to Help Ease Depression
By Joan Whetzel
There are times when people feel overwhelmed by their circumstances, hurt by those around them, or just simply run down. All these things can leave them a bit bluesy. Occasional bouts of the blues are not uncommon and are even considereed normal. But when these down times drag into a full fledged depression, that's when a person needs to do something to clear it away. Along with talking to a professional, there are many alternative therapies that may help to lift someone out of these dark places. First, it helps to understand the causes and symptoms of depression.
Causes of Depression
Some of the causes of depression are genetic while others are brought on by external or internal events. The list includes:
- · A family history of depression.
- · Prolonged periods of anxiety or tension.
- · Major life events like losing a job; death of a spouse, significant other, parent, sibling or child; move to new house, new city, new country; or divorce.
- · Other major stressors like serious illness or serious injuries.
- · Neurotransmitter malfunction in the brain.
- · Hormonal changes after childbirth, during menstrual cycles or at menopause.
- · Reaction to certain medications.
- · Extreme and wholesale drug use
- · Dissatisfaction with family life, sex life, or having money issues.
- · Failure to attain career goals.
- · Jealousy.
Symptoms of Depression
Any or all of these causes of depression can lead to the following symptoms.
- · Difficulty eating or sleeping.
- · Always being in an angry mood.
- · Obvious sadness.
- · Trouble carrying out daily activities.
- · Lack of interest in daily endeavors.
- · Tension or anxiety.
- · Negative thought patterns and self-talk.
- · Suicidal thoughts.
- · Trouble concentrating.
- · Inability to make decisions.
- · Feeling afraid.
- · Lack of energy.
- · Lack of confidence.
- · Loss of sex drive.
- · Lowered body temperature.
- · Lowered blood pressure.
- · Tiredness.
- · Need to sleep all the time.
- · Overeating and weight gain.
Ways to Reduce or Eliminate Depression
Listed below are several home and natural remedies that can help lift just about anyone out of depression. This is not meant as medical advice. At anytime, should you feel that you or a loved one is in need of professional help, by all means, do not hesitate to get it. That being said, go through this list with a discerning eye. Try any of the remedies that you think may help, and give them some time before writing them off. These remedies can be used in any combination so don't be afraid to try multiple "treatments."
- · Take a multivitamin. Depression has been linked to a vitamin B deficiency, so make sure the multivitamin provides a full day's supply of the B vitamins and folic acid.
- · Eat nuts especially Brazil nuts which provide selenium and cashews for the B vitamins.
- · Drink apple juice to help calm the nerves and increase energy.
- · Drink ginger tea, made by steeping 1/2 t o1 tsp. ground ginger in hot water, twice a day.
- · Drinking 1 to 2 cups of coffee in the morning may ease depression. But don't drink it in the late afternoon or evening because it will keep you awake, which will only make your depression worse.
- · Eat these foods: Garlic (elevates mood), Chicken (the B6 helps the body make serotonin which elevates the mood), spinach (contains folic acid which elevates mood), swordfish, tuna, oysters and sunflower seeds (provide their selenium, a mineral that eases anxiety and depression symptoms), and omega-3 fatty acids (required by the brain to function properly).
- · Avoid heavy foods and heavy meals.
- · Avoid drinking alcohol.
- · Get rid of the junk food (i.e. sugar, butter, cream), exchanging it for a healthy diet.
- · Get rest and relaxation. Get plenty of sleep, about 6 to 8 hours a night. Take power naps during the day. Take time to just relax in front of a fireplace, at a picnic in the park, listening to the surf on the beach. Whatever takes you mind off your troubles and your body and spirit away from the places and situations that are stirring up the negativity.
- · Exercise. Not only does this rejuvenate your body and help you lose weight, it gets the blood flowing to all parts of your body, most especially your brain. The extra oxygen that blood carries helps the brain produce its natural mood elevating chemicals.
- · Breathing exercises. Deep breathing is another way to increase oxygen in the blood and oxygen supplies to the brain. Go outside and breathe. The fresh air and sunshine is nothing short of miraculous.
- · Go out into the sunshine.Spending too much time inside and away from windows worsens depression. Being outside in the sunlightis a natural mood elevator. Even as little as 5 to 10 minutes a day can create a major improvement in your spirits.
- · Spend time with family and friends. Sometimes it's helpful to have a friendly shoulder to cry on or a friendly ear to hear your troubles and help you sort them out. Other times, the very act of being around the people we love and who love us, is enough to start the healing process.
- · Laugh. Laugh at the Sunday comics. Laugh at a funny movie. Laugh at the class clown or the family funny man. Laugh at yourself. It's a whole lot more difficult to stay sad or depressed if you can find the humor in any situation.
- · Positive thinking. This may sound a bit "Pollyanna" but there's here's a reason the book "The Power of Positive Thinking" is still on bookshelves today. Positive thinking works. By finding the positive in any circumstance, you have something positive to dwell on rather than dwelling on the negative and swimming around in the pity pool of depression.
- · Aromatherapy. Certain scents have a relaxing and revitalizing effect on the nervous system. Use aromatherapy oils in a diffuser or in a hot bath, or use bubble bath and soap with these fragrances, or even buy yourself a bouquet of these flowers or cut up some of these fruits, then inhale their fragrances - rose, jasmine, lavender, lime and grapefruit.
- · Meditate. But not on the negative things. Use Eastern meditation to empty the mind of all the thoughts and negativity swirling around in your brain. Use meditation practices associated with western religions to contemplate on passages from the bible, religious ideals or teaching that are uplifting, or issues that are bigger than yourself
- · Pray. Ask God to show you what you can do in the midst of your depression that will help the depression lift, like helping other people, doing community service, or simply performing anonymous acts of kindness. You get the credit but you'll still get the good feelings from performing the act.
- · Self-nurture. This could be something as simple as buying yourself some flowers, allowing yourself that piece of chocolate, or taking a hot bubble bath by candlelight with soft music playing. It could be something more substantial like getting a facial and mani/pedi, getting a massage, taking yourself a weekend long or weeklong retreat - far away from pressing family needs and from work. Just take time to be with yourself. All those things going on with your family and at work will still be there when you get back - or maybe your family or your coworkers will figure out how to take care of it in your absence. Either way, you'll return refreshed in mind, body, and soul and with a fresh outlook.
- · Change your working environment. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, the work environment does not improve (angry bosses, bullying coworkers, long hours with no overtime, not being allowed lunch breaks or vacations due to work demands). Consider the possibility of changing jobs. Pull out the help wanted ads, start carousing the job websites, start flooding the marketplace with your resume.
- · Relax your mind with soft music and candles or a fire in the fireplace.
Alternative Therapies for Depression
These alternative or nontraditional therapies sometimes help ease depression. They are non invasive and don’t involve taking drugs. If you've been prescribed an anti-depressant by a doctor, don't stop taking it in favor of any of these or the above remedies. Use them together with the prescribed medication. None of the home remedies or alternative therapies will interfere with the medication. The Alternative therapies include:
- · Acupuncture
- · Biofeedback
- · Chiropractic treatments
- · Guided imagery
- · Hypnosis
- · Massage therapy
- · Yoga
Discovery Health. Home Remedies for Depression.
Web M.D. Alternative Treatments for Depression.
Living Strong. Natural Home Remedies for Depression and Anxiety.
Remedies at Home. Home Remedies for Depression - Natural and Herbal Treatments.
Natural Cure Guide. Home Remedies for Depression.