5 Ways to Overcome Depression without Medication
Clinical depression goes beyond having a bad day. Depression is categorized under mental health because it is a real illness with the capacity to impede one’s daily life and basic functioning. It can cause pain to the person affected as well as people close to them.
Unfortunately, because of the stigma and connotations associated with this mental disorder, depression is often overlooked or ignored. Most people refuse to accept or believe that depression is a serious mental health condition, and others insist that one can just ‘snap out of it.’
However, this isn’t the case. People diagnosed with depression are predisposed to many health issues, and if not treated or handled correctly, they are at risk of committing suicide. In the United States, an estimated 17.3 million adults are affected by depression, making it a common mental health disorder.
People diagnosed with depression need regular treatment to get better. However, while most will need medication to feel right, there are several strategies one can implement to fight or treat your depression without medication. This article will show fives effective ways you can overcome depression.
While sadness is the most common symptom associated with depression, it’s just a small part of the mental disorders. Some people may not feel sadness and experience other symptoms associated with depression. These symptoms include:
- Persistent sadness or anxiousness
- An ‘empty’ mood
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
- Change in weight
- Suicidal thoughts
While these symptoms could lead to more mental and physical health consequences, there are better ways to combat these signs without using medication. Everyone has a chance at recovery, even those depressed most of their lives. Here are five ways to fight depression without medication:
Depression is basically a stress disorder. It is more of a disease where the body doesn’t manage stress. It’s like people with depression have an intern situated at the command center of their nervous system that keeps miscategorizing stress responses, and sends the responses to the wrong department of their body.
Moreover, the intern sits next to the fire alarm, constantly ringing it each time there is a hint of panic. But according to research at the Massachusetts General Hospital from the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine, you can alter your gene expression that’s tied to inflammation, insulin production, and metabolism – all which impact your mood.
Hence, we recommend engaging in the parasympathetic nervous system with practices like yoga, meditation, massage, deep breathing, and prayer. A few long deep breaths will message the intern in your head to not sound the fire alarm when you start feeling panicky.
Dark, leafy greens like kale, spinach, and Swiss chard fuel every system in the body more than any kind of food. They are packed with minerals like iron and calcium, vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate, fiber, carotenoids, omega-3s, phytochemicals, and antioxidants, making them nutritional powerhouses.
According to Victoria Boutenko, author of Green for Life, dark, leafy greens heal and cleanse all our organs and destroy internal enemies like pathogenic bacteria, cancer cells, fungi, and many others.
Hence, if you are battling with depression, consider swapping that sandwich for lunch with a green salad. Make a conscious effort to eat more mood-lifting foods. Start drinking more green smoothies, and you will start to notice some changes in your general mood.
While there is no magic diet that will fix depression, you need to watch what you’re eating. Depression tends to make people overeat, by getting control of how you’re eating and what you’re eating will be helping yourself feel better.
Protect Your Sleep
Chronic sleep and disrupted sleep cycles are the main factors that keep people with depression from climbing out of it. Unfortunately, depression affects sleep too. Hence, people with depression need to prioritize and protect their sleep.
Move sleep up on your priority list and protect it with everything you have. You don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m to work out; you can choose to sleep in and exercise later. By getting enough sleep, you will become more resilient to mood swings.
Adopt strict sleep hygiene rules to make sure you don’t end up with miserable insomnia tendencies. Leave your phone downstairs, shut off the computer hours before sleep, avoid checking your messages 1 hour before bed, and be in bed by 10 p.m each night.
Try to sleep and wake up at the same time each day. Avoid napping and remove all distractions from your bedroom – no TV and no computer, and with time your sleep quality will improve.
Mindfulness is about learning to live in the moment, without obsessing over the past. Most people with depression are stuck in the past and tend to worry and be anxious about the future.
Breathing exercises, meditation can initiate mindfulness, and building a state of mind where you encourage yourself to focus more on the ‘here and now’ and engage all your senses in the present moment to experience life fully.
Becoming mindful can feel unnatural for beginners; it takes time. However, if you commit mentally, mindfulness will become an active way of boosting your mental health.
Exercise and Stay Engaged
On those days, you feel like getting out of bed is the last thing you need to do; exercise could seem like the last thing you want to do. However, physical activity and exercise are powerful depression fighters.
According to research, exercise can be as effective as antidepressants and other medications at relieving depression symptoms and can help prevent future depressive episodes. Start with a five-minute walk around the block and work your way up.
Exercise will massively boost your mental state, mood, sleep, and confidence. We recommend combining exercise and mindful practices like yoga.
Staying socially engaged will also help improve depressive symptoms. Most depressed people tend to withdraw from their friends and family and shut themselves out.
Maintaining your relationships and expanding them will help improve your overall mood. You can also stay socially stimulated by volunteering. Volunteering is an excellent way to engage socially and mutually benefit others, as well.
Guest Writer Bio
Keith J. Myers is the Founder & Editor in Chief of the Hempire. He has overseen and directed the editorial growth and skill of this website since 2012. Before creating the Hempire, Keith was a writer and editor who covered topics in CBD, health, science, and wellness. His personal commitment to helping people naturally and safely improve their health has driven the Hempire to commit to quality and consumer transparency.