Depression is one of the most chronic conditions faced by teens, adults and even children. While many people take medications to deal with their mild, moderate or severe depression, others want to find all-natural alternatives for treatment. Below are 10 alternatives to popping pharmaceutical pills – which can lead to substance abuse – every day. Please be advised that those involving herbs or similar ingredients may interfere with other similar products you are taking. Just because a cure is all-natural doesn’t mean it can’t do harm if it is taken in the wrong dose or taken in conjunction with another substance.
#1: Exercise Consistently
Physical activity has been shown in studies to help alleviate some of the stressors that can trigger depression. If you cannot run mile after mile, don’t worry; you can still get the benefits of exercise even if you’re just walking. The key is to do it every day to keep your feel-good endorphins flowing.
#2: Stay Organized
Are you in a rut? Feel like your life has taken on a mind of its own? Start to schedule your daily activities and get more organized. Researchers say this take-charge kind of attitude can make you feel less like life is happening around you and more like you’re in control of what you do.
#3: Engage in Yoga
Yoga helps center the body and connect it to the mind. This link is critical to remaining focused and staying in touch with emotions. As you begin to feel depression coming on, you can use the techniques you’ve learned in your yoga classes to at least slow down the progression of the depressive state.
#4: Eat for Mental Health
Feel like grabbing some junk food? This may be a sign that depression is on the horizon. Instead of indulging in empty calories and foods filled with refined sugar, opt for fruits and vegetables. Items with heart-healthy fats, like avocados and olive oil, seem to have a positive effect on mental states. The cleaner your diet, the more power you will have over your depression triggers, which can have their roots in what you put into your body.
#5: Take St. John’s Wort
In Europe, St. John’s Wort has been successfully used to naturally treat depression, and many Americans have taken notice. This herb is said to be a wonder drug; however, it’s important to remember that it has side effects that may be severe in some individuals. Therefore, it is recommended that you always take the herb under the watchful eye of a physician or naturopath. There are also studies showing Essential Oils especially citrus oils such as Lemon oil or Orange oil may also support healthy moods. (See the research at pubmed.gov)
#6: Turn to Acupuncture
Many depression sufferers swear by the eastern practice of acupuncture to relieve their symptoms. How often you go to your acupuncturist is up to you and him or her. The general consensus is that the tiny needles that are placed into your skin help align your energies, thus destroying the backed-up energies that lead to depression.
#7: Go to Sleep at the Same Time Each Night
Sleep is essential to fighting off depression. When you’re lacking enough shut-eye, it is tough for you to mentally deal with tensions and stressful situations. If you have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep, make sure you adopt regular sleeping routines that encourage you to stay on a schedule. Over time, this will help keep you from falling into periods of insomnia and can be one of the simplest natural alternatives to treat depression.
#8: Learn a New Activity
When you engage in learning something you’ve always wanted to know about, your mind is stimulated. It’s kind of like the rush you get when you first start dating someone. This boost in adrenaline keeps you eagerly awaiting what you’ll learn next and help ward off depression.
#9: Take Vacation Days
Are you a workaholic who prides him- or herself on never taking a day off? This may actually be self-defeating. If you have depression and haven’t gone on a vacation – or even a staycation – in years, it’s time to plan some down time.
#10: Discover How to Talk to Yourself
Those who have learned to talk their way through times of depression seem to do well and are often able to shorten the length of their depression. You may want to work with a therapist to find out techniques that can work for you rather than going at it alone.
No matter what method you choose to naturally overcome your depression, know that there is always help. Reaching out to people you love and trust when you’re feeling depressed is better than suffering in silence.
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