It is said that one in three people can experience depression in the course of their life. While depression is said to be a common thing, one can experience either mild or severe episodes of depression.
Managing depression is about developing and structuring certain practices that you can benefit from. The brain can easily absorb these practices once you decide to include them into your life since the brain is pretty similar with any other muscle in your body – we can bring them to their best state with practice. If we could only improve it with cake and ice cream it would be on its best state now, but the reality is we cannot. This is one of the reasons why this article was written – to help someone fight depression in the easiest natural way in order to live life to the fullest.
1. Create a Wellness Toolbox
A wellness toolbox is where you keep the thing that lifts you up during the most demanding stage of your life. In order for you to create one, you have to ask yourself “what makes me happy?” Is it listening to your favorite music, reading your favorite book, or cuddling with your pet? Like this, you will be able to come up with an idea on how you can change the way you feel. You can make a list of these ideas that you can look back at them whenever you’re feeling down.
Some people even came up with a literal wellness “toolbox” – it’s an actual box where you can put all the things (tangible) you find effective in soothing and relaxing you when you are feeling down. Usually, it’s just a variety of supplies that you considered as ‘instant’ relievers – sweets & chocolates, a list of motivational quotes, family pictures, a stress ball are a few of the things that you can put inside this box. It’s simply a collection of the things that can change your mood instantly.
This tip is a matter of knowing yourself. You can’t simply include ‘listening to your favorite music’ if music does not sooth you and you will not put a variety of sweets and chocolates in your toolbox if you’re allergic to them. You get the picture. This wellness toolbox is mainly about yourself, so it’s crucial to have a deep understanding of yourself.
2. Involve yourself in some exercise routines
It has been scientifically proven that doing some exercise routines actually helps in combating depression. Researchers have concluded the mountain of benefits one can acquire from exercising not only for the body but also for mental health, particularly in combating depression.
Basically, our brain cells (neurons) are naturally excitable and can be easily triggered, which is beneficial for us so long as this is done in an appropriate way. However, these cells can become a little overwhelmed sometimes which makes them over-active, and when this happens, anxiety arises which in turn can lead to depression.
Our brain has several neurochemicals, one of them being gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which is the brain’s messenger responsible for delivering messages to the cells. It is also the chemical responsible in calming down the brain. The amount of this neurochemical can sometimes drop, leaving these neurons over-excited which may lead to anxiety. This is the perfect time for exercise to step in and do its job. With the proper kind of exercise, the levels of GABA can get back to the way it should.
Exercising doesn’t have to be too vigorous or hardcore since whatever activity that can get your heart working is considered exercise. Yoga, for instance, can be taken into consideration. Exercising regularly can bring neurochemicals to a healthy state which in turn helps combat depression.
When you involve yourself in some physical activities you stimulate your brain to secrete happy hormones which helps a lot in converting your mood into a positive one. A simple walk with your dog is already considered exercise so as taking a shower and stretching your body. Although they might seem to you like little movements that bring little progress, think again. Little movements are far better than lying on your bed all day, and I prefer little progress to no progress at all.
3. Observe what you are eating
We have this mindset that depression can make us lose our appetite. However, researchers have concluded that it’s actually the other way around – an upset stomach means an upset brain. Be that as it may, we can easily get hold of this by eating the right food at the right time.
There are countless microbes within our intestinal tract, all of which are indicators of the brain which usually affects our behavior and mood. Eating an excessive amount of processed foods is not good for the gut, it actually causes an imbalance which in turn cultivates the mind to be in an imbalanced state as well. This only concludes that eating healthy and unprocessed foods makes all the difference. It’s also a good idea to consume foods rich in good bacteria such as yogurt to keep things balance down there. Additionally, eating at the right time is also crucial. Set a certain schedule time for eating and your adherence to it is necessary so that your brain will be on its best state to function properly.
While you allow yourself to eat healthy foods, you allow your body to absorb energy and nutrients that will fuel your whole self, particularly your mind, to stay focused and alert throughout the day. It’s definitely okay to spoil ourselves with unhealthy but delicious foods sometimes, just keep in mind not to overdo it and keep everything balanced. Having a healthy gut means a good mind, so see to it that you watch what you eat. This is one of the things to do that your future self will thank you for.
4. Avoid isolating yourself, socialize
There are some people who tend to isolate themselves from the people around them because they overthink and believe that these people will not like them. Doing this leads to loneliness which likely leads to depression in the long run. The point here is to never isolate yourself, keeping in mind the saying that “No man is an island”. Try to stay connected with others because you can never enjoy and live your life just by yourself. While you socialize, you realize that some people have bigger problems than you and you will wonder how they managed to overcome them.
You’ll probably ask “How about introvert people?” Well, they can utilize the power of social media to interact and socialize with people. That is one powerful thing that social media offers – a way you can use to express yourself freely. Being able to socialize is beneficial for both parties – they learn from each other’s experiences.
5. Vent your feelings but in a healthy way
Some people release their stresses and tensions by doing some activities that relieve them such as shouting, singing aloud, or even hitting a punching bag. Venting your feelings through these activities is actually good because you allow yourself to release all the negativities and burdens in your life instantly. Just remember to vent them in such a way that your health and safety are not compromised.
6. Focus on sleep patterns
It might have become harder for you to fall asleep with depression, however, a chronic lack of sleep might put your life at risk. I know it’s hard but the only way for you to fight this challenge in your life is to give yourself a lot of sleep. It might be hard at first but as long as you’re consistent about your sleeping pattern, you’ll soon make your body get used to it.
7. Don’t get involved with drugs
During this demanding phase of your life, it seems like everything is against you. You often think that nothing is worth doing anymore and drugs might seem to be your best option, but it’s not. You shouldn’t experiment with drugs as they are just a temporary way out and once the effect subsides, everything becomes worse. You can’t correct a problem with another problem, indeed.
8. Do not allow it to take away the fun
Being depressed doesn’t mean you will accept that happiness doesn’t have a place in your heart anymore. It’s not the end of your life and you shouldn’t deprive yourself to be happy. When depression gets in the way, making things seem to be about sorrow and grieve, look for that tiny little light of hope and happiness. Being able to find it makes a big difference.
While it’s true that prescription medication is the best approach and means to deal with depression, we can’t disregard the fact that there are certain practices that can help in combating it. You might want to consider these practices in your journey of fighting depression, especially if you don’t have the means to undergo antidepressant medications or just don’t like the idea of it. Note: These practices do not intend to replace professional treatment for depression. These are just tips that can encourage someone to deal with it naturally in order to live their life to the fullest.