Natural Ways to Deal With Depression

1971

In my last post I discussed how to recognize if you are depressed as well as some daily mental exercises you can do. Today I want to continue this discussion with some natural ways to deal with depression.

Natural Ways to Deal With DepressionAs I have gotten older, it seems I am getting more and more prescriptions. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of taking pills every day. So I have begun to research other ways I can make my body feel better without taking pills, of which, many have unpleasant side effects.

Many people experience depression in their lives, some more extreme than others. I have been depressed many times in my life. Being a parent is not easy but doing it alone is a bit harder, especially if you have no support from family or friends.

Natural Ways to Deal With Depression

I want to start with external practices and then get into ingested items such as natural foods and supplements. What we put into our bodies is important but there are things you can do physically to help with your mood.

Many experts in mental health would agree, the best thing for depression is talking. There are different types of talk therapy such as interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavior therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Sometimes it is easier to talk to a stranger than someone close to you.

brainI’m sure you have heard or read about serotonin levels. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which signals good feelings. When you have less in your brain it is a result of your depression, not the cause of it. A depressed person’s brain is no different than anyone else’s, meaning that there is no imbalance needing to be corrected by medication.

That’s not to say that medication cannot help you but it is not right for everyone. If possible, join a support group for depression. If you can’t find one in your area then look online. The internet has opened up new ways to communicate and in some cases may even make it easier to talk about what’s bothering you.

The point is to find someone who you can talk to, who won’t judge you no matter what you tell them. For me, I had my Aunt ‘Wonderful’ Wanda. I could call her anytime and no matter what I would tell her, she never judged me. She would listen and empathize. The few times we were able to be face to face for these talks, she even had been known to just hold me.

Exercise

Studies have proven that exercise will relieve depression symptoms. 30 to 60 minutes of moderate activity can help lift your mood and do so quickly. Even just walking a few days a week can have immense benefits.

walkingThe outdoor walks will also give you exposure to sunlight. At least 15 minutes a day can give you a mood booster. Too cold to go outside, try sitting in front of a window with good exposure or there is also a light therapy box you can get.

There is evidence to suggest physical activity can trigger new brain cell growth, increase neurotransmitters and endorphins, reduce stress levels, and relieve tension in your muscles. All of these have an effect on depression.

 

Although 30 minutes daily is best, you can work up to it and start with just 10 minutes. If you need to get creative, here are a few ideas:

  • Instead of the elevator, take the stairs
  • Park your car as far away in the parking lot as you can get
  • Walk your dog, or a neighbor’s
  • Get a partner to walk with
  • Get moving while on the phone

Take Care of Yourself

yoga and meditationNot getting enough sleep can make your depression worse. Make changes in your routine if needed and remove distractions such as the TV and computer. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.

Meditation and Yoga have been known to lower stress and anxiety which contribute to depression. Yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation and meditation are all known to reduce symptoms and promote feelings of well being and happiness.

Challenge Your Thinking

When you are depressed it puts a negative light on everything. But you can’t just change this thought process by thinking positive. The idea is to create a more balanced way of thinking.

If you’re thinking negatively about yourself, ask yourself if you would say these about someone else out loud. If you wouldn’t then why are you being so hard on yourself? Think of something that is a more realistic description.

Allow yourself to not be perfect. Often times we hold ourselves to unrealistic standards. When we fail to meet them then we begin to beat ourselves up. Set more realistic goals for yourself and don’t be afraid to change those goals if necessary. My goals changed after I had my daughter and have changed again now that she is grown.

surround yourself with positive peopleAssociate with positive people. Negativity breeds more negativity. Have relationships with people who add value to your life not take away from it. Even if you have to force yourself at first, try and emulate their positive thinking.

Keep a journal of your negative thoughts. Write down the thought and what caused the thought to occur. Go back to the journal when your mood is a bit better and then think if it was an honest evaluation of the situation. Also think of more honest point of view.

 

I feel this is such an important topic for moms, especially single moms. I want to be sure I cover it thoroughly so again I must continue on in another post. My next article will cover foods and supplements which can naturally help boost your mood.

What kind of activities do you do to help improve your mood?  I would love to hear your ideas in the comments below.

 

 

12 COMMENTS

  1. Exercise is great for battling depression. It releases endorphins which has several positive effects on mental health. If you can’t find 30 minute or even 10 minutes, go to YouTube and find a 3 to 5 minute workout. Sometimes adding 1 positive habit to your daily routine can lead to the development of other good habits.

    • Hi Steve,
      Excellent idea! You can find anything on YouTube. Changing habits is a great start but takes works. Possibly adding a good habit first might be a good start.
      Angela

  2. It is very nice to see someone talking about natural ways to fight depression instead of the same old way of pills being shoved down your throat. I love that exercise can help with so many things. We all really need to realize how necessary exercise is to our lives!!

    • Hi Nicole,
      I agree. It seems pharma has taken over and Doctor’s prescribe pills for everything. There are so many natural ways to deal with anything that ails you.
      Angela

  3. I totally agree with this article. I once went through a time of real stress and the verge of depression and I found the exercise and healthy eating really worked. Times were reallly tough as I had realised I had made a lot of mistakes with an excessive lifestyle which ultimately lost me my job and had made friendly with some quite undesirable people and I had a girlfriend who I found out was cheating. I was at an all time low

    I was invited to head to a class of self defence, I really enjoyed it. I eventually got really cleaned up and trained like hell. I got up and moved far away from the town I was living in, I reunited with some old school friends. I then moved onto doing kickboxing (non competitive) and let training get more intense and followed a diet to further enhance myself.

    All in all it all worked out, I got good people around me, I met my wife and work, well work still aint a good story but I don’t let it bother me.

    Keep up the good work Angela, this is stuff people really need to know.

    • Hi Jason,
      The great thing about us humans is that we are just that, human. We are allowed to mess up. Learning from our mistakes only ensures our success. It sounds like you were able to see where you needed to change and made that change.
      Getting involved with and being passionate about something like self defense or kick boxing is definitely a way to shape up your body and mind. Of course it is not for everyone but there are other ways to work out for them.
      I’m happy you met your wife and I am sure the work situation will improve.
      Angela

  4. All of these things are wonderful for combating depression, however, there are times when the problem is a chemical imbalance in the brain. My family has a long history of mental illness, including Major Depressive Disorder, that can be eased by the things you suggest, but some kind of medication or herbal remedy is needed to get that chemical balance in check.

    For minor depression or stress that can lead to depression, these are great steps to take to alleviate the depression. It’s important to “catch” depression before it gets to be so overwhelming that it consumes you. This happened to me and I tried to commit suicide in November of last year. I was very serious about it and medications saved my life, literally. I still have to take them, as the milder herbal antidepressants just aren’t enough.

    However, I do walk daily, use a light-box, and eat a very balanced diet.

    Thanks for writing this!

    • Hi Jean,
      Thank you for sharing your experience. I do understand that sometimes medication and therapy are needed. I also believe that many people who are on medication could help themselves in a more natural way. I think society has changed over the years and children aren’t learning good coping skills any more. I am glad you are getting the help you need. I wish you luck in your journey.
      Angela

  5. I know that taking care of ourselves with diet and exercise is excellent for any condition. But with depression, where there is actual molecule interactions lacking in the brain, I find that many require medication in order to even function. How do you incorporate a medication into your daily routines for depression maintenance?

    • Hi Sarah,
      Yes, I agree that some people have a more serious case of depression and might require medication and therapy. If that is the case, then the medication regime recommended by ones doctor could easily be incorporated into a daily routine. And all of the methods I described could be used along with what the doctor has prescribed.
      I am all for someone getting medication they need. I just think some do not try and help themselves.
      Angela

  6. Hey Angela,

    I am so happy you’re providing people an alternative to taking prescription drugs. It seems any time you turn on the TV there’s a commercial for some new drug. One of the many reason why I don’t watch TV.

    But you’ll notice 10 seconds of the commercial is telling you how this drug can help and the last 50 seconds of the commercial is a list of all the side affects. It’s ridiculous.

    Drug companies could care less about your health all they care about is profits.

    Everything we need to live a healthy lifestyle can be found in all natural foods, and that includes helping with depression. By adopting a healthy lifestyle and by that I mean exercise and like your mom told you – eat your fruits and vegetables and never touch a prepacked food item again in your life.

    You’ll give your body all the ammunition it needs to stay strong, and healthy.

    Keep up the great work you do here

    Cheers
    Leo

    • Hi Leo,
      I could not agree more. I am appalled by big companies tactics to empty people’s pockets. I don’t watch TV either. It seems to only filled with negativity and propaganda.
      Exercise and paying attention to what we put into our bodies is the best way to stay fit, not just in our body but in our mind as well. We have everything we need, all we have to do is take care of this vessel.
      Thanks,
      Angela

LEAVE A REPLY

*