3 Holistic Approaches to Depression
Whatever holistic approach you take to deal with your depression, you must stick with it. Depression does not change overnight, and you need some patience to get to the end of it. If you end up needing antidepressants, do not feel you have failed. See your physician to determine if there are any biological factors involved in your depression.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are a natural form of antidepressant. Exercise also alters the brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin, which are responsible for much of your mood. Aerobic exercise is best for fighting depression. Aim for three to four session of at least 20 minutes per week. Even just a walk on your lunch hour can help to relieve stress and increase your energy levels.
While sugary foods can boost your mood right after you eat them, very soon you find yourself sad again as your blood sugar crashes. If instead you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet of fish, whole grains, fruits, veggies and lean meats, your blood sugar stays on an even keel throughout the day. Avoid skipping meals, which wreaks havoc with your blood sugar.
Nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12 are believed to play a role in brain function and may help alleviate depression. Add wild salmon, sardines, coconut oil and free-range turkey to your diet to enhance serotonin production. Avoid alcohol since it can affect mood negatively. Some people also find caffeine has a negative effect on their mood since it reduces serotonin levels.
Talking through what you are feeling can make a huge difference when you are battling with depression. Find a therapist or life coach who has training and experience to help you work through what you are feeling and provide you with strategies to deal with depression over the long-term. One form of therapy is learning to focus on the positive. Try writing down when something positive happens, and then look back over the list when you are feeling sad again.
Consider joining a support group where you can discuss how you feel and what is happening in your life with people who understand what you are experiencing. If you do not want to dwell on your depression, try to connect with people who share some of the same interests by joining a sports team or book club.
While medication can be a great help to those suffering from depression, it does not have to be your go-to when you find your mood sagging. If you have suicidal thoughts or another definitive need for antidepressants, see a doctor. If you are only suffering from mild depression, however, consider treating the condition holistically and without drugs. Exercise, dietary changes and talk therapy all have proven benefits in treating depression.