Depression is a form of mental illness that affects thoughts and actions. It makes the sufferer feel sad, anxious and results in a variety of physical and emotional problems affecting the cognitive functioning of the body as well.
Mental health affects our social, psychological, physical, and overall wellbeing. The National Alliance of Mental Illness states that 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental health issues every year. Depression is one such mental illness that disrupts the everyday lifestyle with negative effects on how one feels, behaves, thinks, or works. There are numerous ways to combat this disease, both natural and medicinal. Depression can be a silent killer if it doesn’t get diagnosed on time.
What is Depression?
Depression has become very common in today’s generation, given the lifestyle and food habits that we follow. It is a form of mental illness that affects thoughts and actions. It makes the sufferer feel sad, anxious and results in a variety of physical and emotional problems affecting the cognitive functioning of the body as well. The good part is, it is treatable and natural remedies are the best ways to cure depression. Natural remedies treat depression with no major side-effects and are not as addictive as regular medications.
Depression Vs. Sadness
- Depression is stagnant. There is no change in mood or pleasure for over two weeks. The emotions in grief come in waves and are mixed with bittersweet memories of the lost one.
- Depression affects self-confidence and makes you feel worthless.
- Depression lasts longer, and when it co-exists with grief, it can cause anxiety. Although they are similar, the intensity and recovery are what make them different.
Symptoms Of Depression
There are various symptoms of depression like:
- Feeling sad
- Loss of interest in activities
- Loss in appetite
- Suicidal thoughts
- No self-confidence
- Slowed speech and stammering
Natural ways to treat depression
It is vital to get into any form of physical activity. It can be anything you like. Running, jogging, dancing, going to the gym, etc. Exercising promotes the happy-making endorphins that are natural anti-depressants.
The PCF in the brain triggers stress and anxiety, while the amygdala triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol in the body, also caused called the stress hormone. Meditation breaks the unhealthy sync between the two regions of the brain. It boosts brainpower and strengthens you to ignore negative emotions, which decreases stress and anxiety levels. A study showed that participants who meditated for half an hour every day showed an increase in the volume of grey matter in the hippocampus. In contrast, the ones who suffered from recurrent depression showed a smaller hippocampus.
3. High serotonin diet-
Most anti-depressants work by increasing the serotonin levels in the brain. A more effective and natural way to do so would be consuming food that would boost the serotonin levels naturally.
Especially, the foods must be high in omega-3 fatty acids. For example, salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring are known to be higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish. Coconut oil is another source that is rich in healthy fats and augments the serotonin production in the body. A high protein diet is a must, especially the ones rich in tryptophan.
4. Get your daily dose of Vitamin D-
Vitamin D is a vital vitamin in the body, and the importance of it is highly underestimated.
Studies have shown a direct link between Vitamin D and Depression. A study in 2013 analyzed that people suffering from depression had low Vitamin D levels. Vitamin D promotes the immune system and also releases dopamine and serotonin. It thus improves brain function and augments mental health. The natural way to increase your Vitamin D levels is by exposing yourself to the sun or taking Vitamin D supplements.
5. See a therapist-
Sometimes the best therapy is to talk it out. A psychotherapist conducts talk therapy that itself is enough to treat mild depression. CBT, also known as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, is very effective in treating people diagnosed with clinical depression. It focuses on the present and shows a promising path to solve mental issues. It acknowledges a change in behavior and recognizes distorted thinking.
The Bottom Line
Depression is a severe illness and fully reversible. If you think you are showing symptoms of depression, you must see a therapist. Get yourself evaluated and work on a treatment plan. You can always go the natural way, but it is essential to convey your concerns to a professional. Mental health must be addressed with high priority.
Editor’s note: This article is not meant as a replacement for medical advice. As the author suggests, if you suspect you have issues with depression, you should consult a professional.