15 Natural ways to help depression
There are many things you can do to help yourself with depression and contrary to the myth it is completely curable and to get you started here are the top 15 ways without medication that you can make a difference and put yourself on the road to recovery.
Become aware of how you’re thinking.
One of the things that causes depression is negative thinking. The first step to changing the way you think is becoming aware of your thoughts, do you subconsciously criticize things, complain or beat yourself up? Be conscious of how you think subconsciously.
Regulate your sleep
Do you know that sleeping too much is as exhausting as not sleeping enough? Depression is exhausting, the temptation is to sneak off for a little nap whenever you can – don’t! If you do too much REM sleep (this is when you’re dreaming), you will feel worse for the nap, not better. If you’ve gone the other way and developed insomnia, you may not be able to go to sleep on demand, but you can keep yourself awake on demand, control the awake period to be as normal as possible and the sleep will start to regulate.
Be with people
When you have depression there is a tendency to isolate yourself and withdraw from people or social events. You need the opposite, you need to be with people. It helps to create serotonin and dopamine, feel good neurotransmitters that help motivate you and make you feel better.
Take an interest in other people
Don’t talk about yourself and your depression. You will already be spending enough time dwelling on how bad you feel, if you go over and over it by talking about it with other people, it will make it worse. Get professional help with the right sort of therapy and focus on what’s going on in other people’s lives, not what is not going on in yours.
Restrict Social Media
You need to be with real people, social media is not an appropriate substitute so limit your time on it, but above all stay away from pseudo support group, listening to other people complain about how bad their life is and joining in is going to do more damage than doing nothing at all. Don’t do it, I can’t stress enough how unintentionally damaging these groups are.
Go for a walk outside
Regardless of whether it’s sunshine or rain (just dress appropriately) go for a walk, get outside in the fresh air and exercise, it will do you so much good. You will feel better for doing it.
Practice Mindful Meditation.
Clinical trials are showing that mindfulness and meditation are helpful for both anxiety and depression. They help adjust the way you think about things as well as allowing the intrusive thoughts to be dealt with in a healthy, helpful way. If there are classes near you – go, that will put you with people, get you out the house and teach you a helpful skill.
Self hypnosis tracks
When you are ready to go to sleep at night, put on a track and fall asleep to it. Your subconscious will continue to listen after your conscious mind has switched off and it will work wonders while you sleep. If you don’t have one, you can access a free track here
Most adults are up to 80% magnesium deficient and many of the symptoms of depression correlate with the symptoms of magnesium deficiency. You can of course eat magnesium rich foods as well.
Eat a Mediterranean diet
Studies have shown that following a Mediterranean diet can help alleviate the symptoms of depression which can then last for up to 6 months. Get the fresh fish, olives and red wine out.
Be open to learning new things
A typical thought pattern of depression brain is “I’ve tried everything, nothing works”. Don’t close yourself off to the cure for you, it could be staring you in the face – in fact I can tell you it is, you just need to open your eyes and more importantly your mind to trying things with positive intention.
Do the little things
Make a ‘to do list’ of all the little jobs you need to do. Then break them down into even smaller components. – pick one small things every day and do it.
Keep a daily gratitude diary
Get a small note book and every day write down three things you’re grateful for. It doesn’t matter how small they are, the important thing is to focus on the good things in your life, it will help to retrain your brain.
Change Your Routine
When depression and anxiety (or any emotional pain) shows up in your life it is a sign that something needs to change. However, depression will try and keep you doing the same things day in day out and it will hate you deviating from your comfort zone. Start changing things in your every day routine and introduce new things into your life and with time your brain will work out what needs to change in the bigger scheme of things.
Believe in getting better
Believe you are going to get better and put a timeframe on it – then take action. It doesn’t matter how small that action is. There is nothing more powerful than your own belief and right now you could be sabotaging your recovery by believing you’ll never get better. You will, but you have to believe it before you will get enough motivation to do something about it.
If you were going to do one small thing today that works towards that wonderful goal of being depression free, what would it be?
Wishing you health, wealth, happiness & success
HPD, DHP, MNCH(Reg), AfSFH
Clinical Hypnotherapist, Psychologist & Life Coach