Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. It is estimated that 40 million adults struggle with some form of depressive disorder. For many who struggle with depression, powerful medications such as Prozac and Zoloft are effective tools to minimize their effects. While effective, medications are not a cure and only work if part of a comprehensive treatment program that includes simple but powerful ways to naturally combat depression.
First and foremost, you must learn about what depression is, its cause and symptoms. Having knowledge of depression in this manner—and knowing there are many options for treatment and help—empowers and motivates you to successfully get your depression under control.
Another effective way to fight depression is to talk to a loved one or friend about what you feel. While it may be difficult, talking to those you love and trust reduces your feelings of isolation and loneliness which can make things worse. The feeling of connection can go a long way in helping lessen depression’s power over you.
Journaling is also an excellent tool in helping you fight off depression. Whenever you feel the need, write down what you feel and the emotions you are going through. The act of writing can be very cathartic, and you can identify disruptive patterns that hinder your recovery. When writing in your journal, it is helpful to write about those things that you are grateful for—no matter how small or trivial.
While it may seem like the last thing you want to do while in your “blue funk”, regular exercise is another effective tool you have in combating depression. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, and they promote feelings of calm and peace. The best thing about exercise is that you can start off simple like a 20-minute walk, go on a bike ride, or go for a swim.
Another great way to minimize depression in your daily life is to eat a balanced and healthy diet. Your daily diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as fish and lean meats, whole grains and healthy fats like avocados, nuts and seeds. Be sure your diet is rich in omega 3 fatty acids and iron. Deficiencies in these key nutrients have strong links to depression.
Getting a restful night of sleep is especially important in helping maintain good mental health. Getting a good night’s sleep helps reset your body clock and gives your brain a recharge in dealing with the stresses of the day. You should shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep each night if possible. In order to achieve this, you must have a sleep “ritual”. This includes no consumption of caffeine after early afternoon, no eating before bed, sleeping with a fan or “white noise” generator and curling up with a book or magazine.
Finally, make time out of your day to have “me” time. What you do during this time should be healthy in nature. Activities include being outdoors, engaging in a hobby you love, reading or simply meditating. Having dedicated time in your day to focus on you and your needs will give you a much-needed break from the hustle and bustle of your day and will stave off depressive thoughts and feelings
If you are looking to curb and manage the effects of depression in your life, speak with your doctor right away in finding the right treatment programs and resources you need to achieve a healthy mental mindset.