Depression affects more than 19 million people in the United States today. The use of anti-depressant medications is on the rise with approximately 1 in 10 Americans currently prescribed. However, many of the anti-depressants available today have negative side effects that can affect a person on a day-to-day basis. Read this list of natural solutions to ease symptoms of depression.
Maybe you have heard the expression that exercise is the most underutilized anti-depressant. Very true! Often when a person is feeling depressed, the idea of getting moving seems strenuous and undesirable. However, the truth is that exercising has been proven to boost a person’s mood due to endorphins being released in the brain. Endorphins are neurotransmitters that give a person that happy feeling. Additionally, exercise is beneficial for keeping the body healthy and for helping eliminate stress and anxiety.
- Eat Healthy Foods
The foods that a person eats directly affects mood! Despite how enticing greasy, sugary foods seem, particularly when you are depressed, these foods can actually contribute to depression because the body is not getting the proper nutrients needed for optimal function. On the other hand, those who tend to turn away from food when feeling depressed may be experiencing a similar reaction. The body needs certain foods for healthy function and if a person denies the body these needs, it will contribute to depression as well. Look for foods high in nutrients like fruits and vegetables. Stay away from stimulants like caffeine, as they are known to contribute to negative moods. Additionally, if you are depressed, stay away from alcohol and other depressants, as these will only worsen a person’s mood.
Depression often leads people to spend time alone, isolating themselves from the social world. While the thought of spending time with others can be daunting when a person is depressed, the truth is spending time around others is known to increase a person’s mood. Patterns of isolation only get tougher to break. And the longer a person spends alone, the harder it is to mentally prepare for social interactions. However, human beings are meant to be social, which is why spending time with others is beneficial. Spend time with friends as much as possible or join group activities that you enjoy to meet new people. Joining a local sports team or club is an excellent way to get more exercise and to meet people who have similar interests.
- Keep a Journal
Finding methods of coping with emotions is very important, especially when a person is depressed. One of the simplest ways to cope is to keep a journal. Being able to express feelings helps to not only alleviate stress and anxiety, but it helps to improve mood. Journaling can help a person identify what has been bothering them and further explore the causes or depression. Writing helps to identify and prioritize the problems being experienced, and it can help a person identify triggers in their daily life, especially if a person is journaling every day. In addition to using journaling as a way to let negative emotions out of the mind, it also can be used as a place to create positivity for oneself. At the end of every journal entry, try writing a few positive notes about yourself. A little positivity goes a long way!
- Take 5HTP
When a person is experiencing depression, this often correlates with depletion of serotonin, a type of neurotransmitter than influences mood. Serotonin can influence many different functions in the body in addition to mood including sleep, appetite, memory, and more. 5-hydroxytryptophan is a naturally occurring substance in the pods of Giffonia simplicifolia, which is a West African plant used for medicinal purposes. Because 5HTP is a natural supplement that helps the brain to naturally restore serotonin levels, no prescription is necessary. 5HTP can be bought at any local drug store.
Another valuable method of coping with depression is the practice of meditation to effectively calm the mind and body. In addition to helping improve mood, meditation is known to improve mindfulness and focus while simultaneously calming anxiety. The simple act of regulating breathing can help a person find a state of calm, ultimately improving their mood.
An essential part of treatment for anyone suffering with depression is psychotherapy. Spending time talking with a therapist on a regular basis will help a person verbalize what they are feeling in a safe and caring environment in an effort to understand their depression. Therapists help people make sense of their emotional experience being by looking at past traumas and discussing present experiences. Additionally, therapists help teach coping tools in an effort to change destructive behavioral patterns that may be contributing to the depression.
Depression is a brain-based disorder, meaning when a person is depressed, certain brainwaves are not functioning in a healthy manner. Neurofeedback is a method of retraining the brain to function normally, eliminating depression. First, a specialist finds where the brain is having trouble communicating using a quantitative EEG brain map. After this step, neurofeedback sessions are performed to correct these brain waves. Neurofeedback is natural, safe, and effective, not requiring any additional medications, and also helps to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, memory, focus, and more! To learn more about neurofeedback and how it can help you by scheduling a free consultation with our director Dr. Jolene Ross.
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