Natural Remedies to Combat Depression

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Depression & anxiety are ever growing issues in the world today.

With so many expectations & burdens placed upon people’s shoulders by society, it’s no wonder. Take VCE for example, it should be one of the greatest years of a person’s life. It’s the last year of school, you finally get to do all the subjects you want to do & after eighteen years of waiting, you can get your drivers license & even drink alcohol.

Except that one little sentence is whispered in the ear of every child in VCE (Grade 12) – “Your results are going to define the rest of your life”. It’s no wonder people in VCE have breakdowns & panic attacks all through the year. That kind of pressure is just too much for any one person to stand alone. It’s not the only example of societal induced stress either, these pressures are everywhere.

So, with so much stress & pressure building up, how can people combat depression & anxiety? Of course, there are anti-anxiety & anti-depressant drugs that you can get a script for if you want to. However, the brain is arguably, the most complex organ in the body & what works for one person, may not work for the next. That’s why embracing natural, & doctor prescribed medicines is so important in the fight to break the depression cycle. 

Lifestyle Habits That Contribute to Depression

There are three core lifestyle habits that contribute to depression. The first is diet.

As crazy as it may seem, there are actually certain foods that encourage the brain to produce serotonin (a neurotransmitter associated with happiness). These expand over a wide variety of foods but the main ones are fish oils, healthy fats, eggs, dark cherries & pumpkin seeds. Believe it or not, these foods have been directly linked to mood & health improvement.

A good diet, not only improves your mood but improves your bodies health in general. There’s no denying, waking up in the morning feeling healthy & ready to start the day, puts you in a good mood, right from the get go.

If you’re struggling with your diet & aren’t quite sure how you’re going to fit eggs & dark cherries into the menu, simply start small. Learn how to cook yourself a few simple, healthy meals. Work your way up to eating pumpkin seeds as a snack, there’s no need to rush this.

Another useful tip about diet & depression, is the choice you make between drinking coffee & drinking tea. While coffee may lift your spirits & give you an energy high, much like chocolate & sugary snacks, it doesn’t last long & you will soon come crashing down. Switching to green or chamomile tea for your caffeine hit, will do your body wonders, giving you a relaxing boost that lasts longer & doesn’t leave you feeling wired. 

The next of the three core lifestyle hints on the list, is a no brainer. Sleep.

Everyone knows the importance of sleep. You don’t need to understand the stages of sleep, or be able to read brain waves, to know that nothing makes you feel better like a good night’s sleep.

You wake up well rested, & your mood is lifted accordingly. There is no scientific reasoning for why it’s so important for humans to sleep. All we know, is that it is vital to surviving, as going without it – can lead to severe health problems. There are lots of theories that attempt to explain its importance, including the restorative theory – which, as indicated by its name, suggests that we sleep in order to restore what our body loses during the day. This includes energy, metabolism & even muscle & body tissue injury.

Regardless of this, a good night’s sleep & even more so, maintaining a constant sleep schedule will improve energy levels & your mood. This will help achieve goals while you’re awake, which will undoubtedly, produce feelings of pride & accomplishment. There are a couple of tricks you can use to help you maintain regular & healthy sleeping habits.

  1. Train yourself to go to bed at the same time each night
  2. Train yourself to get up in the morning at the same time each day
  3. Have an hour before bed which is electronics free
  4. Use light in the morning to wake yourself up, open the curtains, turn on the lights
  5. Keep your bedroom dark when you sleep
  6. Meditate or take a hot bath before bed

The final of the three core lifestyle habits, is exercise.

Now, we aren’t asking you to go to the gym every day & lift weights too heavy for yourself, or run four miles every morning.

Exercising for your health isn’t about being the fittest, fastest or the strongest. It’s about keeping your body in healthy shape, & feeling proud of yourself as you achieve your fitness goals. Additionally, exercise is known to release multiple neurotransmitters in your brain associated with happiness. Going for a light jog around the block in the morning, walking to get your groceries, going for an enjoyable swim after work – are all ways of using exercise to combat stress & depression in your life. A good idea, might be to join your local hockey or soccer team. This way you can make friends, get fit & combat stress & depression at the same time.

Break The Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

It’s important to embrace that there are multiple ways of dealing mental illness & stress in your life.

Going to see a therapist, & talking through your problems with someone trained to help you, is the first step to making a break through. Remember, your body is a temple & that includes your mind & soul. You deserve happiness & you have the power define the road that gets you there. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to take antidepressant medications, as they help a multitude of people across the globe. However, if you’re looking for a natural approach – you can’t go past the three building blocks of mental welfare. Diet. Exercise. Sleep.

If you have any questions or comments about managing depression naturally, make yourself heard in the comments. We would also life to invite each & every one of our readers to make their mark on The Essential Life by becoming one of our contributors. If you would like to share your story, your words & your wisdom with The Essential Life community & you'd like to see your article featured here on The Essential Life website, please submit your articles here