Depression comes with many challenges, including feelings of helplessness and apathy. Working with a therapist is one way to overcome depression and start feeling like yourself again. A doctor may also prescribe you specific medications like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors to affect the activity of neurotransmitters in your brain. However, if you want to elevate your mood and improve your mental health symptoms without relying on medication, here are some natural depression remedies to try.
1. Set Goals
Depression can rob you of your motivation to achieve things, which can soon become a self-defeating prophecy unless you take steps to get moving in a positive direction. To push back, start setting small, realistic goals for yourself, such as taking a shower every other day. As that routine takes hold, celebrate your successes, then start challenging yourself with tougher tasks.
Even if getting up and moving sounds like the last thing you want to do during a bout with depression, exercise is one of the best natural depression remedies because it boosts the levels of endorphins in your brain. You don’t need to start training for a marathon to realize the mood-boosting benefits. Try lacing up your shoes a few times a week for a walk around your neighborhood, and see where you go from there.
3. Establish a Consistent Sleep Schedule
Insomnia is a hallmark of depression that can make you feel worse by playing havoc with your sleep hygiene, forcing you to muddle through sleep deprivation the next day. To fight back, try making some lifestyle changes like going to bed and waking up at consistent times, even on your days off. If you have tech devices in your bedroom, take them away to remove distractions and harmful exposure to blue light. If your insomnia has made you dread bedtime, consider creating a relaxing routine that helps you wind down at the end of each day, like taking a warm bath or doing a guided meditation.
4. Challenge Negativity
Depression can trap you in a cycle of self-defeating thoughts and beliefs, changing your outlook on life to be primarily pessimistic. The next time you feel hopeless or worthless, stop to tune in to your internal monologue. Odds are, you would never tell a friend the awful, hateful things you say to yourself, so why not try shifting to a mindset of positivity? By working with a therapist who has trained in methods like cognitive behavioral therapy, you can start learning to identify unhelpful thought patterns and reverse them.
5. Go Outside
Study after study has concluded that spending time outdoors is one of the most effective natural depression remedies. Though our agricultural ancestors worked and played outside, most people today spend 90% or more of their time indoors. This disconnect from the sights, sounds and other stimuli of the natural world has contributed to worsening mental health for many of us. Try combating depression by going outside – surrounding yourself with nature can reduce stress and help you be more present in the moment.
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