Anyone with any experience with depression knows that it can be incredibly hard to deal with. You don’t feel like doing anything or talking to anyone. Just getting dressed and eating breakfast can become a chore.
And so in recent years, more and more Americans have turned to depression medication. Antidepressants, such as Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, Paxil, and Zoloft, have become incredibly common in the past couple decades. Everyone seems to know someone who is on an antidepressant.
Yet, often times the natural way is just as effective as prescription medication, if not more, and is free of the terrible side-effects that come along with many antidepressants.
5 Alternatives to Depression Medication
- Get Active
You’ve probably heard it before, but exercising really is the best way to get through a depression. It’s the last thing you feel like doing when you’re depressed, but it’s definitely the first thing that you should be doing for your mental wellbeing.
Exercise of any sort is great because it releases dopamine and oxytocin, raising levels, and contributing to feelings of happiness, love, and bliss. They also make feelings of pain less severe. In other words, being active is a scientifically proven way to cheer you up and boost your mood.
Having a pet to play with is especially good, or going for nature walks. Anything that gets you up and stops you from dwelling on the negative. Plus, you might end up getting into great shape.
- Eat Healthy
Your diet can greatly affect your mood. If you eat junk, you are more likely to feel like junk. Crashing from sugar highs, lacking nutrients from filling up on simple carbohydrates, these things can be terrible for your mental health.
For your brain to function properly it needs to be fed nutrient dense foods. Vitamin B12, fiber, folate, Iron, iodine, and calcium are particularly important for fighting depression. You should be sure to eat plenty of fish, eggs, nuts, and leafy greens. They’re nature’s antidepressants.
- Be Social
When you’re depressed, you often just don’t feel like talking to anybody. Not even close friends or family. Sometimes especially not.
But it’s important to force yourself to be social whenever possible. Send those emails to friends you’ve been putting off. Set up a coffee date. Go volunteer. Do anything to get more human interaction. It can help increase your levels of serotonin and make you feel better.
- Breathe Nature
Being in nature is a great feeling and has been shown to improve your sleep and overall mental outlook. I love gardening for the same reason. There’s something about being amongst the trees and the birds and having your hands in dirt that makes you feel alive.
- Get Better Sleep
Often when you are depressed you stay up late and stay in bed all day. Your sleep cycles get thrown out of sync which can be bad for your mental state and for your health. By being more active during the day, spending time with family and friends, and getting out into nature, you should be able to get your sleep cycles back to normal, which should help lift a depression.
In dire situations depression medication or therapy may be necessary. But I know that simply doing these things, even when you don’t feel like doing them, can be highly effective for dealing with depression. If you’ve tried these alternatives and are still feeling the pangs of depression, please go see your doctor – mental health is a serious issue.
To read a little more about alternatives to depression medication, check out The Mind Unleashed.
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