10 Home Remedies for Depression
Although depression is one of the most serious illnesses a person can experience, it’s often a taboo topic people will gladly avoid discussing. There is often a high level of shame and embarrassment for those who are experiencing depression, and a reluctance to acknowledge the seriousness from friends and family.
That is why so many people experiencing some form of depression, suffer in silence. Depression is a common mood disorder which can cause mild to severe symptoms which have an impact on how you feel, how you think, your ability to complete daily tasks, how well you sleep, eat and work. For depression to be considered a disorder these feelings must be present in the person having them for 2 weeks or longer.
A very difficult issue when it comes to depression is that it rarely impacts anyone the same way, and treatment needs to be unique for each individual in order to be effective. Pharmaceuticals and anti-depressants are only a temporary fix to the chemical imbalance caused by depression, but actual reasons behind it need some serious work to solve. It is important to state that anti-depressants are something to consider if your depression is debilitating stopping you from being a fully functioning human being.
It’s important to note that anti-depressants are only there to help you function while you yourself have to solve the real issues. Here are 10 home remedies for depression to help you on your journey to recovery:
#1 – Exercise This is the last thing that someone who is depressed wants to do, getting motivated to do any sort of exercise or sport can seem impossible. But exercise is probably the only thing that all mental health professionals agree on when it comes to fighting depression.
The positive effects of exercise are almost immediate and it can help you feel better, more positive and full of energy quicker than most pharmaceuticals. Aerobic or strength exercises cause a release of endorphins, dopamine, adrenaline and endocannabinoids which are powerful chemicals that have the ability to instantly change your mood. These are the chemicals responsible for feeling happy, confident, capable and less anxious and less stressed. Regular exercise also helps in reducing depression long term.
The better shape you get into, the better you feel and the more balanced the chemicals and hormones in your body are. This creates a better and more balanced feeling of well-being. Healthy body = healthy mind.
#2 – Diet You are what you eat, and if you eat junk that is how you’re going to feel. While switching your diet will not help you to instantly get out of your depression, eating well is a very important component of mental health2. There are many researchers who believe that the chances of being depressed while having a poor diet are extremely low, and people who ate the Mediterranean had a significantly lower risk of depression.
#3 – Talk about Your Problems One of the worst things that you can do when you’re depressed is to distance yourself from your friends and family. Although this seems like the logical thing to do for many people, it’s exactly the opposite of what you should be doing. Johan Hari who is the author of Lost Connections, one of the world’s leading authors on the causes of depression, claims that one of most common and strongest causes of depression is loneliness and a lack of connection with the people around us. While it might be hard to trust someone to listen to you and what you’re going through, it’s something you should absolutely do if you have someone like that in your life.
#4 – Routine Structure and some form of disciplined-way of living your day-to-day life is very helpful at getting rid of feelings of depression3. Having a purpose to your day takes your thoughts away from being directed inward, and allows you to concentrate on external things3. Your daily routine should include:
* Some degree of social life
* Hobbies/passion/pet projects
* Education (Finding a way to progress a bit every day)
#5 – Having Goals Having goals give you a reason to get up in the morning and can help motivate you to do the things you need to do to get them accomplished. If you’re busy accomplishing your goals, you’re not busy being depressed. It’s a good idea to start with small realistic goals, as failures are something you want to avoid if you’re in a state of depression.
#6 – Getting Enough Quality Sleep This one can be a little tricky because depression can cause trouble sleeping and bad sleep can contribute to depression5. There are a few things you can do to help yourself sleep better, and this will without doubt help ease feelings of depression and improve your over all well-being. Some of the most effective ways of helping you get a good night of sleep are:
* Having a mantra
* Getting a massage on a regular basis
* Melatonin supplements
#7 – Taking on Responsibilities When you’re depressed one of the first things you probably want to do is just lay in bed and forget about your responsibilities, this is actually one of the worst things that you can do. Keeping yourself involved and having responsibilities can help you counter depression7.
This can help keep you grounded and give you a feeling of accomplishment. If you currently don’t have school or a job, volunteer work is a great way to take on some responsibility and help you feel good about helping other people. It’s also a good way to get around others and avoid being alone.
#8 – No Alcohol or Drugs While alcohol and other substances can give you temporary relief of your symptoms, the aftermath is going to make it a lot of worse. Drinking alcohol or taking drugs will cause or worsen symptoms of any mood disorder, including and especially depression8. This is something you need to stay away from if you want to help yourself recover.
#9 – Mindfulness and Meditation Mindfulness means living in the moment, not in the past or the future, Most people’s minds are on autopilot most of the time, worrying about things they have to do or perhaps regretting things they have done past.
Mindfulness means giving all of your attention to what you are doing or what is happening in the present moment. Meditation is a regular exercise that helps you achieve this state. You can start by finding a comfortable place to sit and breathing in deeply through your nose, and exhaling through your mouth. Pay attention to your breathing and notice the thoughts which are constantly coming into your mind.
Do not judge the thoughts, just slowly revert your attention back to your breathing. Do this 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes before going to bed. Most people who stick with this for a month report that they can’t imagine their life without meditation in their life.
#10 – Do Something New Doing something new and perhaps exciting is a great way to get you into a positive mindset. New things require learning and effort and that means you’ll have less time to concentrate on bad or negative feelings. Getting through depression is something most of us can do on our own, but it’s important to remember that it takes a great effort on our part. No one and no pill can do that for us. But if you’re suffering from depression which is stopping you from functioning it is a good idea to see a mental health professional.
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Depression References and Depression Information
* Harvard Health: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/diet-and-depression
* Sleep Foundation: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/depression-and-sleep
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/healthy-sleep/insomnia-home-remedies
* Healthline Magazine: https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/alcohol-and-depression