I am well aware that there are different types of depression. Some people get depressed from the death of a loved one or someone close to them. Others get depressed because they struggle with major depression. Yet others get depressed from a heap of stressful events occurring consecutively such as: a speeding ticket, a bad break up, job loss, etc. Generally a low depression involves little to no energy, lack of motivation, sleeping too much, and possibly not eating right.
Another high type of depression involves depression as a result of chronic stress. Symptoms for this type may involve insomnia, excessive worry, intrusive negative or suicidal thoughts, etc. The reason I call one a “low” and one a “high” is because they are different. People may experience one or the other, or a mix of symptoms, but usually the result is the same.
Below are some very common, yet highly effective natural ways to cure your depression. If you haven’t tried them before medication or supplements, I highly recommend it.
10 Natural Cures For Depression
One reason people get depressed is that they sit on their asses all day. Really, the fact that so many people are slugs is a contributing factor to depression. People that work out frequently are way less likely to be depressed. I recommend forcing yourself to exercise at least 5 days a week for at least 40 minutes each day.
Don’t get all hyped up on cardio either – there are mental benefits from doing strength training too. Just get yourself moving and make yourself start up an exercise regimen. Plan it out and make no excuses. Initially you will want to make every excuse possible to avoid getting up and going to work out. After about 3 months of working out, it will become automatic.
Not only does exercise help reduce stress, but it will give you confidence. You will look better and feel healthier. You will sweat out some toxins and feel better about yourself. Trust me, so many people don’t exercise, keep eating food, keep being a slug, and they wonder why they feel like sh#t – it’s not rocket science. Make yourself work hard for 40 minutes; don’t make excuses, just do it.
If you aren’t getting sunlight and are living in a cave, maybe it’s time to go outside and actually get some shine. Go for a walk or even just lay in the sun for awhile. People that live in wintery climates that don’t get enough sunlight suffer from a depression called “seasonal affective disorder.” Basically since they aren’t getting enough sunlight, their brain functioning changes and they develop a depressed mood.
If you can’t get any sunlight, buy one of those SAD light therapy boxes online and sit in front of it for a healthy amount of time each day. Usually you can work with your therapist or professional to help you determine how much time is necessary for effective treatment. I sometimes use one of these during the winter months and notice that it gives me a little boost in spirits. Your brain is meant to get sunlight during the day, deprivation of sunlight for extended periods of time can certainly be a culprit for seasonal depression or SAD in some people.
Usually the first line of treatment for depression is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. This type of treatment combines cognitive elements (a.k.a. thinking) with behavior modification in order to improve your situation. Many people neglect going in for therapy because they don’t think it will fix the problem.
If you’ve never done therapy, you will probably be surprised to find that one empathetic person can make all the difference in the world. Even if your depression is kicking your ass, at least you have someone trying their best to help you during this dark time. Studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy can yield greater improvements than antidepressant medication.
This should be a first line of treatment for anyone experiencing depression as a result of stress, death of a loved one, or other life circumstance. I would argue that for anyone that cannot overcome depression on their own (most people that are trapped cannot), get some therapy. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you should be going into therapy at least once a week if you can afford it.
There are so many artificial flavors and preservatives a.k.a. unhealthy crap added to foods these days that if you are eating unhealthy, you probably will feel the effects. If you aren’t exercising and are shoveling loads of this artificial junk down your throat and it’s all building up in your body, you have a major problem.
If you wake up and are dipping artificial waffles in artificial syrup each morning with a pop tart for lunch and some fast food for dinner, you are basically setting yourself up for an unhealthy body – and an unhealthy brain. Throw in some soda or sweetened crap to drink and you’re a walking biohazard.
Optimal diets for mental health generally include plenty of protein. A healthy balanced diet is beneficial, but too many people have been brainwashed to think a lot of carbs are healthy – they are not. I would recommend a lot of lean meats, eggs, fish, fruits, and veggies as your staple foods. Feel free to add some healthy carbohydrates depending on what you do during a given day. Reduce sugary crap, cut out soda, and throw away the bags of chips.
In order for your body and brain to function optimally, you need to give them the fuel that they need. If you can, try to cook your own healthy meals instead of going out for some fast food crap. Fix your diet and your body will look healthier, feel healthier, and your brain will function better. For an expanded explanation to the dietary component of depression, read: “Best Diet for Depression.”
There are many self help books out there to help give you a mental boost that you may need during your darkest times. When all else fails, order a book off of Amazon and read it. Many people swear by reading books to help them overcome certain obstacles such as depression. During some tough bouts with anxiety and depression in my past, no medication, no therapist, and no supplement helped.
Literally nothing helped me until I read the right book. Go online, dig up some top rated books on the topic of depression and see if they have any advice that will help you get out of your trap. Although there may be a chemical problem, there also is a thinking problem. The books will help you think differently – giving you a different perspective on your bleak outlook.
At one point, my depression was so bad that I could barely read. However, I kept reading and re-reading pages over and writing stuff down until I formulated a plan to help pull myself out of the darkness. Don’t go overboard with the books though – you shouldn’t need to keep ordering more to feel better. All you really need is one great book to reference that you can re-read when you are depressed.
If you aren’t eating healthy and don’t exercise, chances are your sleep cycle is really knocked out of place. I’m not going to tell you how much to sleep at night – because everyone is different. What I will say though is that I’d recommend shooting for around 8 hours each night. Certain individuals with depression sleep too much (over 10 hours) because they are out of energy. Too much sleep usually goes along with deep, energy-less depression.
The other kind of depression, sometimes caused by excess stress, typically is evidenced by getting way too little of sleep – less than 6 hours. Only you know whether you are getting enough sleep or too little, but set your alarm clock and try to improve your sleeping. If you can’t fall asleep due to excess stress, then do some relaxation exercises.
If you are sleeping too much, force yourself to get up. If you get up and feel super tired, go do something – make your body stay busy. If it runs out of energy, keep pushing yourself to do more and be more throughout your day without succumbing to naps or sleeping breaks.
Most people’s sleep is thrown off due to lack of exercise – they eat, sit around all day, and yeah they may be “busy” but they still have a lot of energy to burn. Instead of hitting the gym, they sit around and say how tired they are, but can’t fall asleep. Go move your ass for awhile and you’ll be able to sleep.
Perhaps one of the toughest things to do when depressed is socialize with other people. If you want to get out of your funk, it’s a necessary step to improving your situation. Even if you are not a super social person by nature (I’m not), you can try to talk to someone each day. When you talk to other people, don’t talk about your depression. Talk about other stuff going on in your life and try not to focus on the fact that you feel like shit. If you keep talking about how depressed you are, people are just going to get annoyed and wonder WTF.
A good low key way to socialize without a ton of effort is to volunteer for something. Go online and look up some ways you could get involved in your community. If volunteering isn’t your thing, try to go join a club, or join a dating site and go out on some dates. You can even join a dating site or app on your phone just to make new friends. Heck if you’re really ambitious, go after them all.
For some people, socializing can make them depressed if they are around the wrong group of people. Find people that you get along with and don’t hang out with people that leave you feeling drained after each interaction. You want to feel energized after hanging out with someone, not even worse than when you started. This may take some trial and error on your part – especially when giving new people a chance.
Ask yourself: Is this person really my friend or only my friend to get something they want out of the relationship? Such as: Status, money, sex, etc. If they are really your friend and have a good time with them, you won’t feel nearly as depressed while hanging out with them. You may even forget that you were depressed if you have a really good time.
Another thing you may want to look into is getting a job – this will help you become more social and boost your confidence. Most people without jobs aren’t very happy not necessarily because their income is stripped, but more so because the social contact isn’t there. Jobs fill a social void for usually 8 hours a day.
If you aren’t setting goals, you are stagnating and aren’t going to ever really change. Tackling everything on this list may be a tough challenge. So set a goal to improve one area of your life such as “fitness.” Make yourself commit to working out every day for at least 40 minutes with about one day off per week for rest for at least 3 months. There are other goals you could set too such as: get a college degree, run your first marathon, or even something as simple as clean your house.
I recommend starting with a reasonable goal and not getting too carried away initially. With that said, a sense of accomplishment will leave you feeling much better about yourself than if you sit around all day and have the “woe is me” attitude. Another example of a goal would be to learn how to cook a certain meal. When you finish one, set another and keep the momentum going.
No matter how shitty your life situation is right now, you can always set some sort of a goal and work towards improving it. No matter how small the goal is – it will get you moving in the right direction – and that’s what counts. With each small accomplishment, your self-esteem will increase and you will feel more confident in your abilities. Even if you are depressed, at least you will be getting something done.
Mindfulness is not necessarily meditation, but it can be. Mindfulness is simply being aware of the present moment or the “now.” The practice of mindfulness helps you to not focus on fears and worries in the past or future, but to be aware of what’s going on right now – at this exact moment. You can get what is called mindfulness-based cognitive therapy to help your depression if you would prefer; there are specialists in this area.
The practice of daily mindfulness has been studied and has been found to significantly prevent relapse of major depressive episodes among individuals with depression. One amazing aspect to this practice is that it actually produces real changes in both brain wave activity and activation. Areas of the brain linked with happier mood experienced greater activation even after the mindfulness practice.
If you get serious about practicing mindfulness – not even necessarily mediation – you should eventually be much less prone to stress and limited by your depression. Results with this practice do not happen overnight, but after a few months of daily practice you may feel like a totally different person.
If all else fails and you feel like the world is crap, and you feel like crap, and you don’t know what to do, get out of town and take a vacation. Traveling may not cure how crappy you feel about yourself, but it may change things up. A new environment may distract you from how bad you feel and make you focus on something else. I recommend going to a place that you really want to go – or have wanted to go to for a long time and see how you like it.
Something as simple as a vacation can help us get a different perspective on everyday life and the world. You could go on a vacation just to experience new things and become more cultured or you could just book a trip to a nice resort and live it up for awhile (if you can afford it). During one of my worst episodes of depression, the thing that helped me cope was just laying on the beach, swimming in the ocean, and living it up for about a week.
Returning home might suck, but something like a vacation can spark a significant change in mood if you go to the right place. Bring along a friend or family for some company too if you’d like – having some other people around can be beneficial and will make things more fun. If you don’t get enough alone time and want to go by yourself, you have that option as well.
Heck if your vacation does lead to an improvement in mood – even if it’s a slight one, that’s a plus.