As people go through their lives, they face different situations and are bound to experience a whole gamut of emotions. At some point or the other, everybody experiences sadness when things don’t happen their way. But, when sorrow grows intense, it can take the form of depression.
Depression is a mood disorder that prolongs the feeling of sadness. It makes one feel low and hopeless, a lot of times without any reason. This constant state of gloom can impair people from making the most out of their lives. It can hamper with their daily life, productivity, and worsen conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and arthritis.
If unfavorable feelings, like worthlessness, hopelessness, and rejection continue for many weeks or months for no apparent reason, then it could mean that you’re afflicted with depression. You must seek treatment to alleviate this because depression could make life a rather taxing ordeal to go through.
Here are a few natural healthcare treatment options for mitigating depression:
1. Diet And Serotonin
You are what you eat, and this applies to you not just physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Consuming the right kinds of nutrition can keep your mood elevated and your body’s chemistry feeling pleasant. Consuming healthy foods, like fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables, is excellent for improving mental health. Processed foods like sweets and too many carbohydrates are not ideal for maintaining good mental health.
Serotonin is the chemical that contributes to feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Also referred to as the “happy chemical,” it regulates our moods and is known to be a mood stabilizer. Low levels of serotonin are believed to cause depression.
Here are foods that enhance the serotonin levels in the body, thus boosting one’s mental and emotional health:
- All nuts and seeds contain tryptophan, an amino acid that helps boost serotonin levels. Also, a high-protein diet with tryptophan, like turkey, is particularly beneficial for boosting serotonin levels.
- Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like egg yolk, salmon, sardines, and anchovies, which are also super rich in tryptophan.
- Healthy fats, like coconut oil.
- Foods rich in magnesium. The body requires magnesium to produce serotonin. Green vegetables and whole grains contain good levels of magnesium.
Eating a few servings of such foods every week will naturally help enhance your body’s serotonin levels. This way, you won’t have to depend excessively on synthetic supplements.
It’s crucial to eat regularly and provide the body with proper nutrition. States of depression can mess up the appetite and worsen mood swings, so it’s essential to eat regularly and receive the right nutrition. Consuming nutrition-rich food will also keep your body’s energy levels stable throughout the day and counter the tiredness that tends to set in due to depression.
Some substances to avoid would be:
It relaxes the body temporarily, but it can exacerbate mood swings and depression.
It might boost the body for a little while, but it depletes the body’s serotonin levels and is not suitable for long–term mental health.
The intake of sweets should be reduced. When consumed, it makes the blood sugar rise and makes you feel good, but once your blood sugar drops, your mood is likely to worsen.
The body needs vitamin B6 to produce serotonin. Vitamin B6 deficiency tends to be rare, but taking oral contraceptives frequently can put you at a greater risk of deficiency.
Exercise is an excellent antidepressant. Exercising releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, like endorphins, and acts as a natural antidepressant. It’s one of the most inexpensive and effective methods to instantly improve your mood, both short-term and long-term.
Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, also decreases the stress hormones in the body. You could pick up an activity that you would find easy to stick to, such as swimming, running, lifting weights, playing a sport, or even taking a walk outside for 30 minutes. Even two or three days of such an activity during the week will result in mood improvements.
Research has revealed that exercise is a commonly underused treatment for depression. A report states that exercise is as potent at treating depression as antidepressant medicines. The report further says that being physically active could help prevent the onset of depression entirely and that when treating mild depression, exercise should be used before antidepressant medicines.
3. Set A Routine And Realistic Goals
Depression can make you lethargic and raze your life’s structure. You might not feel like doing anything and keep procrastinating on tasks. The more you delay doing things, the more lethargic and demotivated you would feel to do anything at all.
Instead of being sucked into this vicious cycle, you should have a daily schedule in place to keep you on track and prevent you from withdrawing entirely from necessary activities.
Along with this, you should ensure to set simple goals in life, both long-term and short-term. Having a goal or plan creates a sense of purpose in you and drives you to work towards something. But, if your goal-sheet is too long and filled with too many complicated plans, you might not feel motivated to start doing anything. Instead, you could set more straightforward goals that are achievable, such as the following:
- If the laundry has piled up, just do a few clothes instead of the whole pile.
- Instead of cleaning the entire home, you could clean one section of the home. Even simpler, just take the trash out.
Small achievements will make you feel like you’re not stagnating and will help you avoid spiraling into feelings of worthlessness.
Depression is not an easy adversity to take on and it can bring forth feelings that don’t allow you to function at your best. Incorporating these simple and natural methods in your routine could help improve depression. After all, a little goes a long way.