Today we want to share 5 medication free ways to deal with depression. According to the World Health Organization, around 5 percent of the world’s adult population suffers from depression. And that may even be a conservative estimate. Depression is much more than just being down in the dumps. It’s a mental health problem that saps our will to live and destroys our energy. Nothing seems interesting, exciting, pleasurable, or worth doing.
If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you may be offered medication, but the side-effects of antidepressants can be very unpleasant. Many people are reluctant to use them, either owing to the stigma attached to medicating for mental health or because they tried meds and felt even worse. Fortunately there are medication-free ways of addressing depression.
1. Get Counseling
Depression is associated with negative thought patterns. Identifying them and dealing with them on your own can be hard. After all, you’ve developed them over a long period of time so that they become your “normal.” If seeing a psychologist who practices Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is beyond your means or you aren’t comfortable with the idea, you can look at subscribing to a telehealth platform. Online counseling can have advantages beyond cost. For example, you can reach out for help anytime, anywhere. All you need is your phone.
2. Change up Your Diet
A diet rich in fats and sugars has been found to aggravate depression. Energize your body with a healthy diet that sustains your energy levels throughout the day. Include lots of leafy green veg, fruits, nuts, and seeds and cut down on red meat and processed foods. Try to cut out sugar. Researchers have found that it can cause changes to your brain chemistry, and it has been linked to a range of health risks including an increased risk of developing depression.
3. Get Some Exercise
Thirty to 40 minutes of exercise three or four times a week will help you to combat depression. While we are exercising, our bodies give off chemicals that are associated with feelings of wellbeing. Doctors believe that it improves the resilience of the brain and nervous system, and it’s commonly accepted that it will help you to combat depression.
If you aren’t used to exercising, start small and work your way up. You don’t have to do very strenuous exercise. A brisk walk will do the trick. Stick to it, and you’ll be able to manage more exercise as your physical condition improves.
4. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation, and mindfulness that lets you live in the present moment without becoming anxious about peripheral concerns will help you to relax and release stress. You’ll also be better able to identify some of the negative thought patterns that are causing your depression while equipping you with a technique for switching them off.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to sit still while you’re meditating – you can even turn your walking into a form of meditation. Try switching off any thoughts not related to what you’re doing. Concentrate on walking only. Meditation before bedtime will also help you to sleep better. Try consciously emptying your brain of all thoughts. When one pops up, don’t get anxious. Simply let it pass without judging it or allowing it to lead to more thinking.
5. Get Better Sleep
Depression and poor sleep often go hand in hand. A good night’s sleep helps your brain to process information, store it away neatly, and prepares you to face the new day re-energized. If you sleep poorly, you have a higher chance of developing depression. The link becomes even clearer when you look at people who already have depression. 75 percent of them aren’t sleeping properly.
Go to bed at the same time every night, and allow yourself at least eight hours of sleep. Improve the quality of your sleep by cutting out caffeine in the afternoons, staying away from screens for two hours before bed, and ensuring that your room is completely dark. Spend about 90 minutes unwinding before bedtime, and make sure the temperature in your room is comfortable. If all else fails, you may need to resort to medication.
Depression Doesn’t Have to be Forever
When you’re living with depression, it can seem like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. However, it really is possible to leave depression behind you and live a happy and fulfilling life again. The most important thing to do is to get help and support – some of it professional, and some of it from the people around you. Reach out for a better life. It really is something worth striving for.