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Suggestions for Treating Mild Depression Naturally

Updated on September 21, 2012

Several years ago, vague health problems had gotten so bad that they were taking over my life. I finally went to a doctor and got an official diagnosis - mild depression.

Medication for my sleep issues and a couple of months going to counseling were helpful as a start. But I wanted to be an active part of my own healing too. I just wasn't sure how.

I researched, asked for advice, and just tried some things I thought of. And over time I found several approaches. Everyone's situation is different, but perhaps these ideas will work for you, too.

Two Things To Remember:

1. You are worth taking care of

Believe that you deserve the attention, and make a commitment to your well- being.

2. Small steps are the key to big changes

By adjusting little by little, better habits take firmer root. And a sense of accomplishment will come sooner.

Is it depression?

First, you need to get the official word. Everyone goes through difficult patches. But my "case of the blues" stretched on, and grew worse when I tried to ignore it. The symptoms can became so overwhelming that I had trouble functioning, never mind being able to enjoy my life.

Have you experienced any of these over a long period of time?

1. Feelings of guilt, self-blame, anger or hopelessness

2. Loss of or increase in appetite

3. Changes in your normal sleep patterns

4. Lack of interest, even in favorite activities

Awareness and admitting your struggle is vital. Get any professional help you need. Then start an action plan for yourself.

Natural Depression Treatments

Exercise - It was hard to get excited about working out when I wanted to stay in bed! But even short walks around my back yard with the dog lifted my mood. Now I try to do at least 20 minutes of some sort of movement most days. Yoga, walking and dance have served me well. Others have sworn by swimming and running. Find some type of activity you like - you'll enjoy it more.

Diet - My eating habits were derailing me. Way too much fat and sugar lived in the comfort foods I was treating myself to daily. But don't try to change your whole diet at once. Start by adding in more fruits and veggies and grains. Soon, you'll feel better and that can have a huge impact on your mental state.

Herbs and Vitamins - Many people get a boost from herbs like St. John's Wort. B Vitamins to help with stress and fish oils are often recommended as well. Just be sure to use them according to directions so you'll get the maximum benefit.

Counseling - Speaking your feelings or thoughts out loud can be huge. A trained therapist may be a good option for you. That's where I started, but ended up getting more out of a support group and talking with good friends. Find a place that feels safe to share, and a person you trust to keep your conversation private.

Journaling - Sometimes writing can be a terrific outlet. Jotting down a memory, a revelation, or even a question releases thoughts pent up inside. You might discover things about yourself or your past that can help your progress.

Thought Adjustment - It's amazing how much an effect our negative thoughts and beliefs have on our feelings and actions. Once I saw the connection, I knew I had address the issue. The process takes honesty and openness to change. But dispelling the old unhealthy thoughts will give you a lot of hope for your future.


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    • profile image

      Heather63 5 years ago

      Thanks for your comments! I also think a huge part of recovery (for anything, really) is knowing you're not alone. When you sympathize and share with those other people, you're being a great encouragement to them. You may not hear it, but I know they appreciate you!

    • VirginiaLynne profile image

      Virginia Kearney 5 years ago from United States

      I really love your article ideas. I faced depression from childhood until about 25, and I have been a "friend counselor" to many mildly and severely depressed people. I honestly think that if people follow these suggestions they will have a much better chance of overcoming these thoughts and feelings. Voted up and useful.

    • Heather63 profile image

      Heather Adams 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      Thank you so much for your comments and insights, especially regarding the possiblity of depression being an indicator of something else going on. I've found that one thing usually is tied in to another in regards to health

    • DocBoulay profile image

      DocBoulay 5 years ago from Canada

      Excellent article illustrating a variety of approaches available to overcome depression. The point is well made with respect to getting a proper diagnosis since depression may be a symptom of something else including a variety of medical conditions. However,once diagnosed, most depressions can be successfully treated using evidence based interventions such as cognitive therapy with or without medication. Chances are by the time a person is referred for therapy he or she is already on medication. Medication is needed in some cases since, as pointed out in this article, depression can drain every ounce of energy a person has.

      This article should inspire people who are depressed to get the help they need and not rely only on medication.

    • Heather63 profile image

      Heather Adams 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I totally agree. Winter in New England is long and tough, and the grey days can be tough.

    • kschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel 5 years ago from North Carolina, USA

      Sunlight and vitamin D are also great for those of us who get worse in the winter. I want to hibernate as soon as the days get shorter, but some time outdoors on sunny days revives me.