Natural Depression Treatments to Consider

Natural Depression Treatments to Consider

There are several natural ways to treat depression. Here are just a few methods to consider.

How to Face Your Fears

Natural Depression Treatments to Consider

Depression can be triggered by a recent loss or other sad event, but then grows out of proportion to the situation and persists longer than appropriate, affecting your emotional health. While there are many theories about mood disorders, the actual causes of depression remain unclear.

The core symptoms of depression include a sullen mood, Feelings of hopelessness, guilt and anxiety, loss of interest in things that used to be pleasurable, change in appetite, change in sleeping patterns, inability to concentrate and lack of energy or feeling run-down.

There are several natural ways to treat depression. Here are just a few methods to consider.

Exercise

Exercise temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular physical activity seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways. You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can make a huge difference.

Eat Healthy

Apples and banana peanut butter bread

There is no magic diet that fixes depression, but watching what you eat is a good idea. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better. Although nothing is definitive, there’s evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids — such as salmon and tuna — and folic acid — such as spinach and avocado — could help ease depression.

Do Something New

When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class. When you challenge yourself to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain. Trying something new alters the levels of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment and learning.

Over the Counter Supplements

You should consult with your doctor first before taking any over the counter supplements to rule out any potential risks that could occur.

Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oils (not flaxseed) may be effective for treating depression. Taking a daily supplement may have other benefits to cardiovascular health and has few or no known side effects.

St. John’s Wort is a plant-derived herbal remedy may be effective for treating particularly mild to moderate cases of depression.

S-Adenosyl Methionine is a natural compound all mammals manufacture that may alleviate the symptoms of depression. The natural compound could potentially result in the brain synthesizing and having available greater levels of the important neurotransmitters and that could reverse a depressed state.

Diet Control

Cup of Coffee

Reduce your intake of sweets. Sweets temporarily make you feel good as blood sugar levels soar, but may worsen a mood later when they plummet.

Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine and alcohol can both dampen a mood. Alcohol temporarily relaxes us and caffeine boosts energy, but the effects of both are short-lived. Both can worsen mood swings, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Light Therapy

light therapy

Getting enough sunlight has shown to be effective for seasonal mood changes that happen in the darker winter months. Exposure to light in the morning helps the body’s sleep/wake cycle work properly. Production of serotonin, a brain chemical that key in influencing our mood, is turned on in the morning upon exposure to light. During the winter when there is less sunlight, serotonin levels can drop, making us feel tired and prone to seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

One of the most simple ways to increase your exposure to light is to walk outdoors in the morning. Another option is to use special lights that simulate natural daylight. Studies have found they are effective. These lights can be found online. There are different types available, from light boxes to visors, that are typically used for 20-30 minutes a day. Look for lights with a minimum of 3,000 lux. many experts suggest 10,000 lux.

Acupuncture

accupunture therapy

Acupuncture therapy can help depression by correcting the imbalances of energy throughout the body. By promoting and correcting the balances of energy, acupuncture can aleive depression issues.

Meditation

Meditation’s effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits. (I recommend Jesus & His Grace)

Yoga

Yoga at Work

By reducing perceived stress and anxiety, yoga appears to modulate stress response systems. This, in turn, decreases physiological arousal — for example, reducing the heart rate, lowering blood pressure and easing respiration. There is also evidence that yoga practices help increase heart rate variability, an indicator of the body’s ability to respond to stress more flexibly.

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