Depression, a common mood disorder, causes an assortment of symptoms, the most prominent being a persistent feeling of sadness. It may also cause a loss of interest in activities that used to bring joy. People who suffer from depression may often feel like life isn’t worth living. To help lessen and cope with symptoms, there are a variety of depression remedies, medications and treatments available. But what if you want to know how to cure depression by yourself? If you are wary of medication, know that there are more natural remedies to help treat depression.
Depression self treatment involves some of the typical lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise.
Additionally, there are a few natural supplements for depression. To learn more about these lifestyle changes and depression remedies, read the information provided below.
If you want to know how treat depression on your own, try these 6 natural remedies for depression and anxiety:
Food choices can affect your mood. Choose foods that support your neurotransmitters. These are the brain’s messengers that control your mood, energy levels, appetite and several other functions in the body. What you put into your body can significantly influence your neurotransmitters.
A 2009 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined the association between dietary patterns and depression. There were 3,486 participants divided into two categories. The first was those who ate a whole food diet, consisting of vegetables, fruits and fish. The second group ate processed foods. Their diet included sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After five years, researchers assessed participants. They found that those who stuck to the whole food dietary pattern had lower risk of depression. However, they found an association with high consumption of processed food and an increased risk of developing depression.
Be sure to include omega-3 fatty acids, organic fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins into your diet.
2. Build Relationships and Get Support
As depression is commonly caused by emotional issues, lack of friendship can make it worse. Find a group of friends who will support and encourage you. You might consider seeking help from a mental health therapist as well. Either way, social support just might be one of the best natural depression remedies available.
A 2013 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that the “quality of social relationships is a major risk factor for major depression.” Depression risk was greater for those with poor relationship quality, a lack of social support and social strains. In fact, researchers found that these relationship statuses more than doubled the risk of depression.
Perhaps, then, strong relationships are one of the most important methods of natural depression remedies.
A 2012 systematic review discovered that exercise can help to reduce the symptoms of depression, especially when done in conjunction with psychological therapies.
Everybody has different needs when it comes to exercise. If you’re a beginner, be sure to start slow. Generally speaking, aim to exercise three to five days a week for 30 minutes or more. Whether you prefer biking, swimming, jogging, Pilates or yoga, you are sure to find something to suit your needs.
Of all the natural depression remedies, exercise is one that offers the most variety. Pick what works best for you.
4. Spend Time Outdoors
Research has shown that upping your vitamin D levels can help reduce symptoms of depression. Here is an noteworthy fact: the relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure was first noted over two thousand years ago.
Try to spend 10 to 20 minutes in the sun daily.
If it’s a nice day, make it a point to spend some time outdoors to soak up some vitamin D!
5. Avoid Refined Carbs and Sugars
Junk food is like a drug, in a literal sense. Chips, cookies, etc release serotonin, a natural opioid that acts in the brain similarly to the drug opium. However, these foods will also lead to weight gain, issues with sleep, candida overgrowth and low energy levels. These can make your depression symptoms dramatically worse.
And there’s research to back it.
For example, an investigation conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found that sugar consumption rates were correlated with the annual rate of major depression.
And a systematic review published by the American Public Health Association found that there is a significant relationship between unhealthy diet and poorer mental health in children and adolescents.
If you want to see an improvement in depression symptoms, eat whole foods that are in their natural forms.
There are a number of natural supplements for depression, such as vitamin D3:
Probiotics can improve mental outlook, due to the gut-brain connection. Studies show that there is a direct link between the gut and the brain, so taking probiotics can change your behavior and brain chemistry. This results in an improvement in depression symptoms.
If you can’t get enough vitamin D from the sun, take a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body. It affects brain function, which is why a deficiency is linked to an increase for mood disorders.
Adaptogen herbs help to balance and protect the body by reducing cortisol levels when you are under any type of stress. Try rhodiola, which increases the sensitivity of your neurons, which will help improve mood. Ashwagandha works to fight stress, reduce anxiety, and balance hormones.
Vitamin B is involved in neurotransmitter function. Research shows that low levels of vitamin B12 are linked to depression.
Vitamin B12 supports the neurological system and boosts energy. Taking a B-complex will help produce serotonin naturally and relieve symptoms of depression.
St. John’s Wort
A St. John’s wort depression treatment can help fight mild to moderate symptoms. It’s comparative to the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibiters, or SSRIs, a common antidepressant. The great news is that St. John’s Wort has fewer side effects than a given prescribed antidepressant.
However, if you choose to use St. John’s wort as a natural remedy for depression, do so under the guidance of your doctor.
7. Essential oils
Essential oils can be great natural remedies for depression and anxiety. Try lavender oil, which helps to relieve stress, promote a feeling of peace and improve sleep.
Studies show that lavender oil also has neuroprotective effects. It augments dopamine receptors and works as an antioxidant.
To treat depression, add 5–10 drops of lavender to warm bath water. Alternatively you can diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep. You also might try applying 2 to 3 drops topically to the temples, chest and wrists in the morning.
Use roman chamomile as a mild sedative. It will naturally calm nerves and promote relaxation. Furthermore, research shows that Roman chamomile oil can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. You can use it alone or with lavender oil.
To treat depression, inhale Roman chamomile oil vapors directly from the bottle a few times a day. Additionally, apply 2 to 3 drops topically to your wrists and back of neck, or diffuse 5 to 7 drops.
A word of warning: If you see any adverse reactions from these depression remedies, discontinue use and consult your health provider.