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Natural Depression Remedies:

How to Lift Your Mood Holistically

Painting by Pieter Codde of depressed young man

Natural depression remedies can shift your energy and help you feel better when you're in the gray, hopeless place that it seems like so many folks experience these days.

When Do-It-Yourself Strategies And Natural Depression Remedies Aren't Enough

Major depression is a serious illness and needs to be treated seriously. If you have been feeling hopeless and down for a while, you should see a qualified mental health professional for evaluation. She or he can help you decide what if any medical and mental health steps you need and want to take as depression therapy. (Here a list of depression symptoms from the Mayo Clinic.)

Natural Depression Remedies You Can Do To Lift Your Mood

Whether or not you're diagnosed as having a clinically serious mood disorder and whatever therapies you decide to use, I also encourage you to try some of the following practical and lifestyle approaches to overcoming depression.

Of course you don't have to do them all; even doing a couple of these natural depression remedies regularly can help a lot. If you're just having a short blue streak or a mild depression, they might be enough to get you through it and out the other side.

If you're having a more serious depression, it can be hard to do anything. If that's the case, show this list to a close friend or family member and ask them if they can help you manage two or three of the suggestions. Really, you need to call in your people (as well as your doctor or therapist) to help when you're in a major depression.

  • Exercise! Take a daily half hour walk, rain or shine, or do at least 30 minutes of some other outdoor exercise, such as vigorous gardening. Morning light is best if your schedule allows. If weather doesn't permit, exercise indoors -- but the sunlight is really helpful if you can get it.
  • Consider using one of the "light therapy boxes" for Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Get out in nature as often as possible (that half hour walk, plus a longer outing on the weekend, whenever you're able).
  • Do 10 minutes or more of belly breathing every day, plus whenever you think about it during the day.
  • Try qi gong.
  • Cut sugar and simple carbohydrates (like white flour, white bread, white rice) completely out of your diet. Consider adopting other features of an anti-inflammatory diet, too.
  • Meditate; learn to be more present and to be mindful of your thoughts
  • Cognitive therapy: learn to identify and change negative thought patterns (having a therapist help you with this is ideal)
  • Avoid recreational drugs, including alcohol and caffeine. They can worsen depression.
  • Consider adding probiotic foods to your diet; consider supplements such as fish oil; consider other depression-fighting supplements and herbs if you aren't taking pharmaceutical medications. Here are Dr. Andrew Weil's nutritional suggestions for depression self-help.. (Scroll down the page a bit to find them.) Of course, to be safe you should check with your doctor before adding any supplements or herbs to your diet.
  • Get regular bodywork (massage). Studies show that it's very helpful in alleviating depression. If you can't afford regular bodywork, try to find someone who you can trade at least face/head, hand, and foot massage with.
  • Spend time with someone you enjoy every day -- someone who can make you smile or laugh. Little kids are great for this, if you've got any in your life. Animals can be very helpful, too.
  • Do something nice for or give a small gift to someone.
  • Make a few small goals for yourself each day -- goals you know you can reach. Then make sure you reach them. Make a list and cross them off. If you find that you're not reaching your goals, make them smaller, even more doable, and make them gradually more ambitious over time.
  • Make a list of things you enjoy doing. Divide it into things you enjoy doing in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15 minutes, 1 hour, several hours, a day, and so on. Get at least a few ideas in each time category. Put it on your fridge or some other easy to see place. Make a commitment to do several things from that list every single day.

  • Try these techniques for shifting the energy of your mood. (Feel free to ignore the perky pink graphic.)

I hope these suggestions for holistic, natural depression remedies are valuable to you. All these tactics have been personally helpful to me at one time or another, acting as effective depression therapy when it's been mild, or as a complementary therapy when I've had a more serious bout. You may also want to learn about energy healing techniques that you can use to help shift your mood.

Never underestimate the impact you have on others, and on the world, just by being you. The particular energy that you bring to the world matters, and you deserve to be happy. Please believe this, and make it a priority to find that happiness.

Wishing you blue skies. —Nancy

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