Natural Ways to Fight Depression
Dealing with depression can be a long and stressful process, especially if you're not one to opt for medication or weekly therapy sessions. Although everyone experiences different levels of symptoms, there are a number of natural ways to fight depression, from your diet to your daily hobbies.
Whether you want to avoid taking medication or just want to pick up some habits that improve your mood, it's important to know what activities have an effect on your mental health.
Depression is not a rare issue, and it affects more people than you would think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 15.7 million adults experienced at least one major depressive episode in the year 2014, making it even more important that people know their options when it comes to treatment.
So if you've been feeling down and want to avoid taking medication – or even just want to add in some extra activities to what you’re currently doing, — try making a habit that has been shown to lower your risk of depression.
The first step to combating depression naturally is exercise. Exercise can increase levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, and endorphins. These are some of the same neurotransmitters that we know are decreased in depression, and increases in these neurotransmitter levels are what gives people that mood boost after a good workout.
Next is making sure that you get some rest! Sleep deprivation can impact daily work performance, cognitive functioning, and exacerbate symptoms of depression. Also it is know that lack of sleep can have negative effects on your overall health. Try to make sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night and maintain a good sleep regimen.
We totally understand that sometimes your social meter can run out in the middle of being social but it's actually really important to socialize. When people feel depressed, they tend to isolate themselves, which only increases feelings of loneliness and desperation. If you're able to engage with others (NOT JUST SOCIAL MEDIA lol), especially if it is doing enjoyable activities, this will help reduce depressive symptoms. Pursuing interests and hobbies can also help, as can volunteering or giving back to others in some way.
Like most millennials we're trying to save $$$. So if you're looking to get a boost for FREE then we highly recommend going outside. Being in sunlight increases vitamin D levels in the body, which boosts your mood naturally. Studies have shown that spending time outside in nature can decrease your stress levels, lower your blood pressure, and reduce symptoms of depression.
Another major component that can contribute to our moods is the food that we eat and our overall diet. To make sure your body has the nutrients that you need to produce those feel-good hormones, eat foods that have tryptophan in them. Elevated levels of tryptophan have been shown to boost serotonin, the body’s feel good hormone. You can take in more foods with tryptophan like egg whites, cod, spirulina and soy beans. Diet plays a major role in mood disorders, so it's important to include lots of fruits, vegetables, whole, grains, and nuts to stabilize your overall mood.
Our personal favorite to naturally overcome depression is turning to the arts. It's one of the main reasons that 'The Art House' is so important to us and it is a big factor in maintaining mental health overall. Whether it's taking up painting or drawing, learning an instrument, or joining a dance class, art therapy can help you cope with your problems and provide a healthy outlet for expression. According to the American Journal of Public Health, creative engagement can decrease anxiety, stress, and mood disturbances, including depression.
Everyone is different in how they respond to treatment, but in general, these natural remedies can be effective at helping to reduce depression. If your symptoms seem serious, always talk to your doctor to find the best treatment.