Seven Natural Ways to Fight Depression
By Addah Arcilla | August 20, 2014 10:39 AM EST
Depression can make us feel helpless and totally discouraged as if nothing can ever make us feel better about the world or ourselves. It is a treacherous disorder because the very symptoms prevent you from taking action or seeking the help that you need towards recovery. Lack of energy, feelings of worthlessness and loss of interest or excitability are just some of the symptoms that make it difficult to get out of depression.
For anyone who is in this state, it is important to remember that you are not alone and that depression can be effectively treated. Aside from therapy and medication, there are other ways you can do to conquer your depression.
Here are seven natural ways you can do to fight depression.
1. Do not isolate yourself, instead you should engage in supportive relationships.
You do not have to fight depression on your own. Getting the support that you need plays a big role in sustaining your effort in beating depression. When depressed, the thought of reaching out to friends and family members can seem overwhelming. It is not true that you feel ashamed and think that you should not bother them with your problems because reaching out and talking about your problems does not make you weak or self-centered and does not make you a burden. Opening up to a friend can lighten your burden and begin the process of healing and recovery.
2. Challenge and overcome your negative thoughts.
A lot of fight against depression begins with changing the way we think. Depression comes with negative and self-defeating thoughts that affect the way we see ourselves, our view of the situations that we encounter and our beliefs for the future.
It is important for people with depression not to listen to this destructive voice when it says to give up pursuing a goal or to keep away from other people. Instead of giving in to these thoughts, it is essential to recognize that these are unrealistic thoughts that should be replaced with balanced and positive ones. One way to challenge these negative thoughts is to think outside of yourself and ask if you would say what you are thinking about yourself to someone who is going through the same struggles. If not, then you do not deserve these thoughts either. Give yourself less harsh and realistic statements.
3. Keep to a structured routine.
Depression can easily take away the structure from your life. It is important to establish a daily routine and that you stick to it even if you do not feel like doing it. Make sure that you get out of bed at the same time or that you eat your meals at the same hour every day. Keeping a routine helps give you a sense of regularity even if you feel otherwise
4. Do the things that you used to enjoy.
Depression is a hard emotional state to endure because it strips you of the desire to do the things you love and could help you feel better about yourself. Do not allow yourself to be in this lethargic state. The times that you feel like slumping on the couch are the moments when you should force yourself to engage in something that would lift your spirits. Call a friend, go dancing, bake some cookies, or soak up under the sun in the park. Your depression may not lift immediately, but soon enough you will be surprised at the gradual change in you as you make time for activities that you enjoy.
5. Stay active.
Exercising or any physical activity may be the least thing that you want to do when you are feeling down. However, this is the last thing you wanted to do. Research has proven that exercise is an effective tool for overcoming depression.
According to WebMD, exercise helps ease depression by reducing the body's stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, and stimulates the production of endorphins, the body's natural mood elevators. Exercise also wards off depressive feelings by boosting self-esteem, improving sleep and increasing energy levels.
6. Eat healthy.
There is no diet that could fix depression, but what you eat can have a direct effect on how you feel. An ideal balanced diet consists of complex carbohydrates, lean protein, fruits and vegetables. Helpguide.org listed down some of the foods to avoid or include when planning a mood boosting diet:
- Minimize sugar intake or refined carbohydrates, such as cakes, pasta and French fries to avoid crashes in mood and energy.
- Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in vitamin B12, B6, and B9 are linked to depression. These vitamins play a role in producing chemicals that affect our mood. To make sure you are getting enough B vitamins, you can take a B-complex supplement or eat foods such as lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs and low-fat or fat-free milk.
- Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are said to benefit depression. Its best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, herring, anchovies and tuna.
7. Seek a therapist.
Seek professional help if you feel that you are not getting better from your depression or it is getting worst. There is nothing shameful in recognizing that you have a problem and you need help to overcome it. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, but a brave act. Talking to a therapist can help you identify the source of your pain and alleviate it.
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