While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years). Sometimes it occurs without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood. Depression is a common and serious medical illness. It negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable.
When you’re dealing with depression, things may seem more negative than they really are. Events that would have been taken in stride may seem more problematic or impossible to handle. But the idea of taking action on things may require more your resources.
Being depressed can make you feel helpless. However, there is a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Changing your behaviour, physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking are all natural depression treatments.
What Causes Depression?
While we don’t know exactly what causes depression, a number of things are often linked to its development. Depression usually results from a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors, rather than one immediate issue or event. These includes:
- Life events such as bereavement, divorce, work issues, relationships, financial problems or illness.
- Personality such as inability to cope in situations.
- Genetic factors includes having a first-degree relatives with depression.
- Childhood trauma.
- Some prescription drugs such as corticosteroids, interferon.
- Abuse of recreational drugs such as alcohol and tramadol.
- A past head injury.
Signs and Symptoms
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Natural Depression Treatments
These tips can help you feel better starting right now.
1. Never give up, keep going
My dad once told me, “You can’t wait for the storm to be over, you have to learn how to dance in the rain.” That is appropriate for a day, week, or lifetime weighted down by severe depression. Dancing in the rain demands perseverance and courage—going forward despite the evidence of difficulty and forecast of doom. It means not ending your life, even as death appears to be the only and ultimate relief.
2. Distract yourself
The best therapy for the severely depressed is distraction. Engross yourself in any activity that can keep your mind off the pain. I am unable to read when I’m depressed, so I make phone calls, even as it’s hard to follow a conversation. You can do all kinds of activities to keep your brain active: crossword puzzles, watching movies.
3. Revisit your strengths
This is not your glory hour. But you’ve had several in the past. Remember those moments of which you are most proud. For example, the hardest thing I have ever accomplished and the one for which I am most proud. Those accomplishments continue to carry i through rough patches today. I know that I have it in me not to give up.
4. Simple regular exercise
It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphin’s. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways. You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can help.
5. Eat healthy diet
There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better. Although nothing is definitive, foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
6. Get enough sleep and rest
Depression can make it hard to get enough sleep and too little sleep can make depression worse. Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom no computer and no Television.