Depression is a debilitating problem for many people. But treating it with pharmaceuticals can sometimes have undesirable side effects. The following natural approach may be helpful to some people suffering mildly from this condition.
1. Eat well
Diet alone may not cure depression, but eating properly is the foundation of a healthy body. If you regularly consume highly processed foods you are contributing to the toxic buildup in your body. This buildup leads to a variety of problems, including depression. Eliminate sugars and high fructose corn syrup, controversial ingredients included in many processed foods and drinks these days. Eating too much sugar can cause highs immediately after eating, followed by a crash. This can make you feel worse than you did before you ate.
It’s believed that adding more folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids can also help combat depression. You can find omega-3s in fatty fish such as sardines, salmon and tuna. Avocados, green leafy vegetables and seeds are good sources of folic acid.
Moving your body can keep it healthy and can promote a chemical reaction in your brain that makes you feel good. Endorphins – the chemical responsible – are called the feel good chemical. Your body naturally produces endorphins when you exercise. You can start out small by just walking for a little bit each day, even as much as 10 minutes will help boost your mood. The more you begin to move your body the better you will feel. In fact, you may find that you begin to crave the exercise for the feel good reaction.
Getting proper sleep is important to a healthy mind and body, but depression makes it hard to get a good rest. Even though you may feel like you’ve slept, it doesn’t mean you are getting proper sleep.
If you have trouble getting restful, deep sleep try some relaxation techniques, such as turning off all applications and TV at least one hour prior to your desired bedtime. This will help your mind to relax from those distractions before trying to sleep. Another would be reading a lighthearted book that promotes good feelings. You can also try drinking warm milk before going to bed, as it can be mildly sedative for some people.
4. Go outside
Sunlight is not only good for the soul, it also promotes the production of vitamin D in your body. Vitamin D helps boost your mood. Make sure that you are not overexposed to sunlight – everything in moderation.
5. Herbal supplements
St. John’s wort is an herbal supplement that comes from a flower of the same name. Proponents say it can be as effective as pharmaceutical anti-depressants for treating mild depression. You can make tea from dry St. John’s wort, but the most common way to take it is in pill or liquid form. You can find St. John’s wort in health food stores. If in doubt, do check with your doctor or medical advisor.
Keeping your body moving, sleeping and eat well can only help you to feel better – regardless of how you are feeling. So start with that.