First I will go over some foods and natural supplements which can boost your mood. What you put in your body can have a big impact on how you feel. You should always aim for a balanced diet composed of low fat proteins, complex carbs, fruits and vegetables.
Reduce the amount of foods you consume which can negatively affect your mood and brain. These would be things like alcohol, caffeine, saturated and trans fats and foods which have high levels of chemical preservatives (certain meats).
Manage Depression Without Medication
Skipping meals can make you feel tired and irritable so try and eat every three to four hours. The comfort foods (sugar, chocolate, French fries) can lead to a crash in energy and mood. Complex carbs can boost serotonin levels without the crash. These would be foods like baked potatoes, whole wheat pasta, whole grain breads and oatmeal.
Eating citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken and eggs can boost your B vitamins. Not getting enough can trigger depression.
Mood boosting foods (super foods) rich in nutrients:
- Magnesium to decrease anxiety
- Vitamin B6 to promote alertness
- Tryptophan to boost serotonin levels
- Thiamine to support socialbility
- Magnesium and folate to reduce agitation and improve sleep
Omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA can give a big boost to your mood. The best food sources would be salmon, herring, anchovies, sardines, and mackerel. Depending on how they are raised and processed, some canned albacore tuna and lake trout can be good sources as well. (but you can of course just take a supplement as well!)
Be sure to bake or grill rather than fry your fish. Flaxseeds and Chia seeds can be a vegan alternative as most people can convert the ALA type of Omega 3 to the DHA and EPA found in fish.
Always check with your doctor before taking over the counter supplements. You want to ensure it won’t interfere with any other medications you are taking and could have side effects as well.
- John’s Wart – extracted from a wild shrub, it has been used for hundreds of years as herbal medicine.
- SAMe – (S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine) this synthetic supplement is made from naturally occurring proteins in the body.
- Chromium – Chromium picolate reduces carb cravings, boosts energy and eases mood swings.
- Vitamin D3 – you normally get from regular exposure to the sun, boosts energy.
- Spirulina – from seaweed, boosts energy and immunity. Free of gluten and lactose as well as Non-GMO, ideal for vegans.
Daily Self Help
In fighting depression, most of the work is mental. You have to challenge and change the way you think. It won’t be easy either. You have to work at it every day. I have heard that it takes 21 days to make something habit.
I never thought I would ever try meditation. It was just one of those things I didn’t think was for me. I had a friend send me a meditation guide and still didn’t use it for months.
It came with a short PDF book and some other audio files as well as an AM and PM audio to meditate to. I finally decided to check it out and am so glad I did. I have been meditating daily for three days now and can already tell a difference.
Meditation helps produce brain changes, promoting positive thoughts and feelings while reducing negative ones. When I meditate, I can physically feel the tension easing from my shoulders. I also have been sleeping better.
Change Your Thinking
This is going to take work and commitment. The reward is so worth it though. We all go through rough spots in life but we can choose to be miserable while going through them or still experience joy.
Journal writing is the first step. Keep a daily journal, commit to at least those 21 days at first. Each day write down any negative thoughts you are having. Next to each negative thought, write down why it’s wrong. Create your new positive thought to replace the negative one.
Do a little research on the Law of Attraction (LOA). Basically it means like things attract like things. If you are always negative then you will always attract negativity in your life. Who wants to live like that?
Know that you are not alone. So many people suffer from depression. Search online for a support group. If there aren’t physical meetings you can attend, look to Facebook groups or Google Plus groups. Sometimes it is easier to talk to people online.
If you can’t get outside then face a window as often as possible. Look out at the world, at nature. Try and find something pretty or interesting to focus on. Observe the people going by and remind yourself that one out of five of them feel just like you.
Avoid drama on TV and in books, nothing serious, only comedies or mindless fluff. Fiction elicits emotion and the only emotion you need is laughter.
Many of these tips come from Rosalind Robertson who wrote a great blog on how to keep it together when depressed.
Another thing that boosts my mood is listening to upbeat music. Everyone has that one song which always brings a smile to their face. I actually have two and will share them below.
Are you dealing with depression? Do you have other tips to offer? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.
The video below contains explicit lyrics.