There are some usual and unusual accepted remedies that really work in a natural manner to alleviate your depression symptoms. They are effective in both young and elderly and should be seriously taken up.
Besides taking help for your clinical depression with the medicines prescribed by your doctor, there are certain lifestyle habits you could implement and natural remedies you could pursue to improve your depression.
Broadly, these measures advise about eating the right type of food, the type of oil to boost your omega fatty acids, following up with an exercise program and yoga, taking vitamin supplements, and to gain a little information about the type of depression, you suffer from and what could have caused it.
People with mild a depressive disorder have greatly benefited from these self-help measures, which are practiced at home and not in a doctor’s office. But, you should know that treating depression is a long-term affair. You, therefore, have to be patient.
Certain accepted remedies for depression can be practiced with the least of effort but these will contribute in a positive way to cure your depression. These are simple remedies, which will improve your lifestyle habits and which you can practice on your own without any help.
1) Learning about your depression
Learning about your depression will make you aware of your condition and the causes and risk factors that can cause a worsening or relapse of your condition.
You should also know that depression can have some dangerous effects such as attempting to commit suicide. The need to seriously implement these natural methods along with your treatment becomes paramount.
You will then learn the importance of taking your treatment religiously and attending psychotherapy sessions regularly even if you do not relish them much.
It will also make you know the necessity to stick to your treatment for the full period. This becomes very important in successfully treating depression.
Exercise reduces your stress, relaxes you and reduces the depressive mental state. It is effective because it produces a sense of well-being.
Choose an activity you enjoy such as walking, swimming, gardening or jogging. Exercising daily gives a higher success rate and fewer relapses.
An improved fitness leads to an improved self-esteem and a better ability to handle demanding situations. It will counter your feeling of low self-esteem, which is commonly seen with depression.
To further improve on the benefits of exercise on depression, exercising in natural surroundings amongst the trees and gardens brings about a positive effect on the mental state of the person.
Gardening, another activity, would be ideal as it provides mental benefits as well as practical ones. These benefits are quick to accrue in the initial stages of depression and are more pronounced in younger people.
3) Proper sleep
Depression does cause insomnia and the reverse also holds true. It is, therefore, important that you sleep well. If there is difficulty in sleeping well, do consult your treating doctor.
Sleeping well is essential and you must take whatever measures and help you need to get that proper sleep.
Proper sleep is important to rejuvenate not just the body, but also the brain. It is essential for good brain health. Adopting proper sleep hygiene is a key component for managing the symptoms of depression.
4) Omega-3 fatty acids
One of the effects of omega-3 fatty acids deficiency is depression and mood swings. Studies also suggest that countries like Japan and Iceland where the diet is rich in fish have a fewer incidence of SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
This itself is rich evidence that taking these healthy fats is important to control your depression and a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids works as an effective adjuvant to antidepressant therapy.
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in cold water fish like tuna and salmon, walnuts, flax seeds and flax oil and some other foods. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements can also be helpful.
5) Other practices for depression
Improving your mental health can be done by practicing certain remedies such as yoga, meditation, acupuncture and massage therapy. These therapies have to be practiced under the guidance of experts.
They help to bring about harmony between the body and mind, which contribute towards good health of both. These do form part of natural cures but cannot be relied upon solely to treat depression and serve only as a complementary medicine for treating depression.
You could massage yourself with some massage oil or use the services of a masseuse. Pour the oil into your palms, rub the palms together and start massaging from your scalp downwards to the toes and the soles.
Keep adding the oil as you move downwards. After allowing the oil to soak in, you could have a shower with lukewarm water and mild soap. Massage in a slow fashion giving enough time for each part of your body.
Meditation is the relaxation of the mind and could prove to a very useful. Learning to meditate first before practicing it, is necessary to get the full benefit.
You must practice it every day for about 10 minutes. It relaxes the body and mind and helps to calm the agitated and restless state of the mind. It lowers the heart rate and the blood pressure, decreases sweat and lowers the production of catecholamines and cortisol, which are stress-inducing chemicals and hormones.
Learn yoga first from an experienced guru before practicing it. Once that is done, you could practice it every day or at least thrice a week.
Yoga helps to fight off depression by increasing the levels of a chemical in the brain called GABA, which is responsible for a sound and relaxed mind.
GABA is gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is classified as a neurotransmitter and helps to induce sleep and relaxation of the mind.
It helps to maintain balance in the brain by inhibiting overexcitation and maintaining a state of calmness in the body.
Low levels of GABA are known to be associated with depression and other anxiety disorders. Practicing yoga even at home, therefore, will be a good home and natural remedy.
6) Vitamin supplements
Certain vitamins of the B-complex family such as vitamin B-12, vitamin B-6, and folate (B-9) are important for producing brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, which affect the mood of the person and other functions of the brain. Low levels of these vitamins may be linked to depression.
Low levels can result either from an inadequate diet or inadequate absorption of these foods due to digestive disorders such as celiac disease or Crohn’s disease. Foods rich in these vitamins are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. Fortified cereals are also rich in vitamin B-complex.
Older people and vegetarians can take vitamin supplements. However, consult your doctor before taking any supplements and note that these vitamins can only serve as adjuvants to antidepressive therapy and they contribute positively towards the natural cure.
A day without sunlight is often described as a dull and depressing day because such a day does cause fall in the moods. In the absence of enough sunlight, there is an imbalance of the natural hormonal rhythm in our body.
Serotonin levels in the brain, which affect the mood sentiment, fall and you feel depressed. Seasonal pattern of this disorder is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
Getting sufficient natural sunlight daily is necessary and if that is not available you could use a light box. Getting enough soft sunshine is a good natural cure for your depression.
Sunlight gives you a good amount of vitamin D and research has shown that there is a relationship between vitamin D deficiency in the blood and depression. The same research also showed that taking vitamin D in adequate amounts improved the depression symptoms.
Alcohol may cause stimulation in smaller doses but, it is classified as a depressant because in certain higher doses it depresses the nervous system. The amount of alcohol consumed to cause depression of the nervous system varies from person to person.
It makes your depression worse and also more difficult to treat. Similarly, other illegal drugs too will worsen your depression. Long-term alcohol abuse decreases the levels of serotonin and other brain chemicals in the brain, which affect the mood sentiment.
Alcohol also reduces the efficacy of certain medications used to treat depression.
9) Depression and Caffeine
Some evidence does suggest that removing caffeine and sugar from the diet helped to relieve depression symptoms. Other studies revealed that increased intake of caffeine of more than 750 milligrams a day increased the depression in the person. Again, caffeine does cause insomnia (lack of sleep), which can worsen your depression.
10) Help from Support Groups
Seeking help for depression with support from family and friends is very important to get rid of your solitary attitude. Depression does cause a person to become socially isolated and this further worsens the depression.
It is important that the person with depression seek the support of his family members, friends, and the surrounding members and reciprocate the love and friendship.
You could also join local support groups and communities you feel comfortable with. It is important to interact socially with comfortable people, which could prove to be a very effective remedy for your depression.
In a nutshell:
The natural depression treatments described above form an important part of your cure. They not only elevate your mood but also increase the efficacy of the depression medicines you are taking. Besides helping in the cure, they also help to prevent recurrences if they are adopted as lifelong habits.