Top 15 Natural Ways to Deal with Depression

treat depression naturally

Photo credit: flickr

When we feel depressed we also feel helpless, out of control, and unable to do anything. You don’t have to take those toxic pills so many doctors try to push on you. There are many different things to try that help most people deal with depression.

Take a look at the top 15 ways you can deal with your depression naturally and start feeling more like your old self quicker than a trip to the pharmacy.

 

1. Find a routine

Depression can disable you so much; you can’t seem to do anything. Even the simple things in life elude you. Don’t let depression strip the structure out of your life. Set up a light schedule that help you get at least part of your life back on track. Try something simple to begin with such as getting up at the same time every day and making breakfast. You can add tasks as you feel better.

 

2. Talk things out

See a therapist, life coach, or psychiatrist to work things out. Sometimes all you need is someone who truly listens to you and can help you understand why you feel the way you feel and how you can make changes in your life for the better. Don’t fall into that old wives tale about how only crazy people go to therapy. Everyone needs someone in their corner now and then.

 

SEE ALSO: How to Naturally Treat Depression: 7 Easy Principles to Follow

3. Set small goals

Depression makes you feel as if you can’t do anything and that, in turn, is depressing. Break out of that rut by making very small goals every day such as doing the dishes every night or walking around the block once a day. You will feel better doing anything at all, no matter how small.

 

4. Take off that mask

Too many people walk around wearing a costume and mask, a presentation to the world about what they want the world to think they are. Forget all that! You are fine exactly as you are so stop pretending to be something that you’re not. Get in touch with your real self and show that unique YOU to the world!

 

5. Eat healthy

Yes, it’s easier to just hit the drive through but that certainly isn’t going to make you feel better. There is no magic diet that will make your depression disappear, but eating healthy things from Mother Nature will certainly make you feel better about yourself.

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Meditation

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6. Try meditation

Try meditation or guided imagery. The positive effects that meditation can have on your mood are very well documented. Calming your mind can improve your mood.

 

7. Get enough sleep

But not too much! Depression makes some people sleep all the time, while others are plagued with insomnia. If you sleep too much, try not napping during the day and be sure you get plenty of sunlight. If you have insomnia, don’t lie in bed watching TV. Set a regular bedtime and make a regular routine for sleeping, such as having a cup of tea or a warm bath about 30 minutes before bed. These things will become a signal to your body that it’s time to sleep and getting the proper amount of sleep can help with depression symptoms. Read more about dangers of sleep deprivation.

 

8. Eat more serotonin rich foods

Speaking of a healthy diet, you can also try eating more foods that cause your body to make more serotonin such as turkey, coconut oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and wild caught fish.

 

9. Challenge those negative thoughts

When you are fighting depression, a great deal of the work is mental. It will help you if you change the way you think.

The next time you find yourself having terrible thoughts about yourself, or imagining the worst case scenario, remember this little story:

A woman watches two dogs walk into a room. When they come out, the woman notices one dog is wagging his tail, the other dog is sulking, with his head down. Curious, the woman goes into the room to see what was there and finds the room filled with mirrors. The happy dog saw a thousand other happy dogs, wagging their tails, while the sad dog saw a thousand other sad, unhappy dogs looking back at him.

The choice is entirely yours. What do you see when you look in the mirror?

 

10. Do something different

Depressed people tend to get into a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Drive home a different way, go to a museum instead of the same old mall, read a book in the park instead of sit home and watch TV. When we do different things, there are actual chemical changes in the brain. Doing new things actually changes the levels of dopamine in the brain, the chemical that makes us feel pleasure and enjoyment.

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Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

11. Move that body

Yes, depression makes you want to just sit and stare out the window or stare at the TV, but if you can get yourself to exercise, even just a bit, you will feel better. You don’t have to run a marathon, but try to take Fido for a walk every day and see if that doesn’t make you feel even the tiniest bit better.

 

12. Don’t skip meals

Keeping your blood sugar stable will go a long way towards reducing mood swings.

 

13. Get sunlight

Exposure to sunlight improves moods and increases the body’s vitamin D levels. If you don’t get much sun where you live, or if you live in a location with very little sun in the winter months, invest in a therapeutic light box.

 

14. Don’t shirk responsibilities

Many people who are depressed tend to pull back from life and give up many of their responsibilities, but don’t let yourself fall into that trap. Staying involved in life and having daily responsibilities can help ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.

 

15. Try supplements

There is very promising evidence for certain supplements such as Saint John’s Wort or folic acid, but you should always check with your doctor before doing so, especially if you are taking other types of medications.

Sources:

Ian A. Cook, MD, Director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program, University of California Los Angeles.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Can Folic Acid Help Ease Depression?

Liebenluft E, American Journal of Psychiatry, December, 2008.

National Sleep Foundation: “Sleep and Depression” and “Sleep Hygiene.”

Reviewed on July 02, 2014