Natural Ways to Combat Depression
There are many natural ways to combat minor depression, what people often refer to as a "case of the blues." Try one or more of these and you may feel your spirits lift. Note that a depressive episode that lasts for weeks, months or longer, or one that keeps you from functioning normally, may be clinical depression or another serious condition. If natural remedies aren't helping, you should seek the assistance of a medical professional.
Natural supplements used in treating depression are St. John's Wort, omega-3 fatty acids, SAM-e, folic acid, 5-hydroxytryptophan, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and magnesium. If you are taking prescription medications, check with your doctor and/or pharmacist before adding any of these supplements to your diet.
Exercise is one way to combat depression. Simply being active can make you feel calmer and more optimistic, but exercise also releases endorphins that can boost your mood. Choose an exercise you love to do and that makes you happy when you are doing it. Some people have found meditative exercises like yoga and tai chi help reduce depression.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Additionally, make sure you are eating properly and nutritiously. Drink plenty of water. Get plenty of rest. All of these actions ensure that your body is functioning properly, which can stabilize mood swings and alleviate physical discomfort and fatigue (both of which can exacerbate feelings of sadness or helplessness).
If you suffer from winter depression, and you live in an area with little to no sun, you may have seasonal affective disorder (SAD). In this case, light therapy could help cure your depression. You can purchase a special lamp that simulates natural daylight. Independent studies have found they are effective when used for 20 to 30 minutes per day. The costs of these lamps can be prohibitive, but the investment may be worth it if you struggle with depression every winter.
An alternative treatment for depression is the ancient art of acupuncture. Acupuncture is based upon the belief that humans have a fundamental energy, called "qi," that circulates through twelve invisible energy lines known as meridians. Every meridian is associated with a specific organ system. Disease occurs when qi does not flow properly through a meridian. An acupuncturist inserts needles into specific points in the meridian to restore the balance of the qi.
Lastly, speak with a counselor or therapist. Sometimes just the art of talking with someone else about the issues in your life will help to ease the burden. If you have tried one or more of these methods and you are still depressed, please seek the assistance of a medical professional.