Introduction: The Prevalence of Depression
As of 2020, more than 260 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It is a mental health disorder of global magnitude that is often triggered by trauma or stress. In these stressful times, it becomes all the more important to find natural ways to fight depression.
We are all well aware of the benefits of good mental health, however, our lifestyle often triggers or aggravates depression. Hence, we need to focus on our all-round health and holistic wellness to improve our resilience against depression.
What is Depression and How is it Diagnosed?
Clinical depression is a mental health disorder marked by a perpetual feeling of sadness and loss of interest in daily activities. It is much more severe than the feeling of grief or sadness that we all experience from time to time.
If a person suffers from such symptoms for over two weeks, they are usually diagnosed with depression. Some people also suffer from high functioning depression and anxiety where they seem energetic and can perform day to day activities but struggle with depressing feelings on the inside.
Depression has many forms and faces, but there are ways to improve mental health to help anyone struggling with the disorder.
Common Triggers and Causes of Depression
Depression can often be genetic, and those with a family history of depression are usually at a higher risk of being depressed. It is also often triggered by childhood trauma, abuse, bereavement, or even a chronic illness.
Exposure to stress on an everyday basis can also put you at a higher risk of depression. This is why we all need to pay the utmost attention to our mental and emotional health.
What to Do If You Have Depression
If you are suffering from the symptoms of depression, you must visit a doctor at the earliest. They can prescribe you the right set of medications to alleviate your symptoms. Additionally, there are various ways to improve mental health that you can adopt in your lifestyle for faster recovery. You should always remember that depression is treatable, and you can recover from this difficult phase of your life.
15 Natural Ways to Fight Depression
The best way to tackle depression and prevent a relapse is to make positive changes in your lifestyle. There are various natural ways to fight depression that can minimize or eliminate the symptoms of the disorder. Here are some of the proven ways to fight depression, which you can try out for yourself.
1. Fix Your Sleep Cycle
Some of the common anxiety symptoms in men and women are triggered by inadequate sleep. Studies have revealed the close linkage between disturbed sleep patterns and depression.
If you are struggling with depression then you should try and follow a fixed sleep schedule every day. Try to get 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night and make sure to get into bed at the same time every night.
Avoid looking at your phone around your bedtime. Dim the lights and play some soothing music if you like. This will help you sleep better, and you will wake up feeling rejuvenated.
2. Soak Up The Sunlight
Boosting your Vitamin D intake is one of the most effective natural ways to fight depression. If you are suffering from Vitamin D deficiency, you need to increase your sun exposure.
Outdoor activities can help with this and will also uplift your mood. In case you do not receive adequate sunlight where you live, you can opt for nutritional supplements too.
Oily fish such as sardines and mackerel, egg yolks, red meat, and liver are some excellent sources of Vitamin D, which you should include in your diet. Vegans can opt for vitamin supplements instead.
3. Avoid Alcohol And Caffeine
Alcohol is a depressant and should be completely avoided if you are suffering from depression. Caffeine, on the other hand, is a stimulant but is known to trigger anxiety symptoms in men and women.
If you cannot give up your morning cup of coffee, at least try to avoid a second cup in the afternoon. This will also ensure that the caffeine does not disrupt your sleep routine.
To avoid the uncomfortable symptoms of caffeine withdrawal, reduce your caffeine intake gradually over time. Whenever you get the craving for coffee, distract yourself with some physical activity instead.
4. Add Exercise To Your Daily Routine
Exercise releases endorphins in the body that will boost your mood. You can pick any form of exercise that you enjoy, be it cycling, swimming, running, or walking.
Whether you like to hit the gym, or prefer hiking in the outdoors, make sure to include some exercise in your daily routine. You may need to push yourself in the beginning, but will see the benefits of good mental health soon!
5. Consume The Right Diet
To reap the benefits of good mental health, you need to focus on your diet too. A well-balanced diet that is rich in vitamins and minerals and low on saturated fats is the way to go.
Consume more fish, nuts, and probiotics as all these foods are mood boosters. Studies also indicate that consuming foods that are rich in magnesium and folic acid can help fight the symptoms of depression.
Hence, it is crucial to incorporate green leafy vegetables in your diet too. You should also avoid processed foods that contain large quantities of sodium, sugar, and fats.
6. Avoid Toxic People
Since the olden days, anxiety symptoms in men have often been triggered by toxic bosses.
Even today, toxic people that lower your self-esteem with their words and actions can aggravate your depression. If you have any such people in your life, avoid interacting with them altogether.
If someone close to you is exhibiting toxic behavior, try to make them realize how it triggers you. However, if the person refuses to correct this behavior, it is best to minimize contact with them.
The benefits of good mental health surpass the obligations of any relationship that hurts you!
7. Celebrate The Small Achievements
Depression often leaves you with low energy, which means that you may not be able to accomplish all that you want to in a day.
Even those who suffer from high functioning depression and anxiety often feel that they aren’t productive enough. This feeling of being unproductive can bog you down. However, remember that you are suffering from a clinical condition and should not be too hard on yourself.
So, you couldn’t put the laundry away, but you did manage to fold the clothes. That is a small win worth celebrating! Reward yourself for any task you have finished that day, no matter how trivial it may be.
8. Indulge In Relaxing Activities
We live in a day and age where everyone seems to promote the hustle culture. However, overworking your mind and body can trigger or aggravate depression.
Remind yourself daily that it is ok to take breaks and to relax. If you are someone with high functioning depression and anxiety, set an hour aside every day to pamper yourself.
Unwind at the end of the day with a relaxing bath, get a massage over the weekend, or spend a day catching up on your favorite show. Intersperse your daily routine with activities that calm your mind, and you will realize how therapeutic this can be.
9. Find Ways To Manage Stress
Stress is an inevitable part of our life that we cannot avoid forever. Hence, you need to find ways to deal with stress to protect your mental and emotional health.
Whenever you have to deal with something stressful, take deep breaths to calm your mind. Once you avoid the immediate panic, you will be able to handle the situation better.
Always ask yourself – “What’s the worst that can happen?”. This may help you realize that the situation is not that stressful at all.
Exercise and progressive muscle relaxation techniques also help reduce stress and are great ways to improve mental health.
10. Don’t Jam-Pack Your To-Do List
If you are someone who struggles with high functioning depression and anxiety, try not to jam-pack your day with too many goals.
If you try to be over-productive, you are setting yourself up for failure. Instead, set a few achievable goals for each day to gain a sense of accomplishment.
One of the best natural ways to fight depression is to take each day at a time. If you are feeling particularly low that day, keep your to-do list short and simple.
This way, you will manage to achieve your goals for the day despite your state of mind.
11. Try Out Meditation
Meditation is one of the time-tested natural ways to fight depression. It encourages you to eliminate all thoughts from your consciousness for some time, which induces calmness.
It is not only helpful to fight depression but is also an excellent preventative measure.
If you want to boost your mental and emotional health with meditation but don’t know how to go about it, you can sign up for a meditation class.
Various online classes can help you meditate in the familiar surroundings of your home. You can start with ten minutes of meditation daily and can slowly increase the duration to reap maximum benefits.
12. Simplify Your Daily Routine
Some of the common anxiety symptoms in men and women can be triggered by a hectic daily routine.
Also, being presented with too many choices can trigger anxiety in many individuals. Hence, you should try to keep your daily routine as predictable as possible.
While planning out your schedule for the week, try not to incorporate too many unfamiliar experiences in one day.
This tip is crucial for those suffering from high functioning depression and anxiety who try to squeeze too much into each day. Remember not to overwhelm your mind just for the sake of being productive!
13. Interact With Positive People
Interacting with positive, uplifting souls is as important as eliminating toxic people from your life. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with a loved one is one of the best ways to improve mental health.
Surround yourself with people who are empathetic, non-judgemental, and optimistic. If you cannot find such people in your family, you can join a support group too.
Communication is one of the most effective natural ways to fight depression. Talking to the right person will lift the burden of your feelings off your chest. It may sound too simple but is an effective solution!
14. Minimize Your Social Media Consumption
Social media can be a toxic place and can be a massive deterrent to optimal mental and emotional health.
It is a rabbit hole that tends to suck you in but can encourage all sorts of negative thoughts in your head. The best way to fight depression in the digital era is to minimize screen time.
Stay away from social media as much as possible and look for other means to keep your brain engaged. Books, movies, music, and gardening are some excellent activities that can keep you engaged instead of scrolling through the internet.
15. Accept And Document Your Feelings
Acceptance is often the key to healing, no matter what the disorder. This is why you should never live in denial of your symptoms.
Instead, embrace what you are going through and document your journey on the road to recovery. One of the most powerful natural ways to fight depression is to track your symptoms and progress.
Sure, some days will be awful, but when you feel better, make sure to note that down too. This will help you identify what triggers your anxiety and what makes you overcome it, which will help you in the future!
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Deal with Depression
Depression can be caused by various genetic, environmental, or physiological factors but is often triggered by trauma or stress.
Anyone with a family history of depression is more prone to be depressed. Also, those who have experienced trauma, abuse, loss, or prolonged stress are more likely to be depressed.
Anxiety-related disorders are more prevalent in females than in males. However, anxiety symptoms in men are not uncommon either.
Some of the common symptoms of depression are perpetual sadness, low energy levels, poor appetite, sleeplessness, and/or low self-esteem. In severe cases, depressed people may also have suicidal thoughts.
If you are suffering from depression then you should seek medical attention at the earliest.
You should inform your doctor about the nature and duration of your symptoms, any possible triggers, your family’s medical history, and any existing medical condition that you have. This will allow your doctor to offer you the best treatment strategy.
We are all aware of the benefits of good mental health but we should also know that depression can strike anyone.
Early identification of symptoms and seeking therapy for the same can help treat this disorder. Also, a healthy lifestyle with ample exercise, relaxation, and meditation can help you fight the symptoms of depression.
So, if you are someone who is struggling with depression, do not lose hope! With timely medical attention and these natural ways to fight depression, you will sail through this challenging phase of life.