Depression is a serious, yet poorly understood mental health issue. If you suspect that you may be depressed it is important that you seek professional support. However, if your depression is mild and you would like to have a go at combatting it yourself there are a few things that you could try. It is now recognised that diet, exercise, contact with nature, breathing and even the direction of your gaze can have an effect on depression!
In many cases it is possible to effectively tackle the causes of depression with a few small changes to your daily habits. You could notice an improvement in just a short period of time. However, if your symptoms persist and if they start to affect your normal daily life you should get some medical help.
Check your nutrient intake
Your moods, mental health and wellbeing can be influenced by the foods you eat. This is hardly a surprise. You brain is nourished by the foods that you eat and so your diet affects your emotions in the same way as it affects your physical health. The following nutrients are essential for emotional wellbeing:
- Magnesium – found in walnuts, leafy greens, avocados
- Tryptophan – found in cacao
- Omega-3 acids – found in linseed and oily fish
- Vitamin B12 – found in sardines, eggs, dairy products
- Folic acid – found in fruits and leafy green vegetables
Avoid these harmful foods
On the other hand, there are foods that may trigger bouts of depression because they block the effect of vitamins and minerals in the body. They also trigger cravings and alter the body’s natural balance. It is best to avoid:
- Excessive amounts of meat
- Saturated fats
- Aspartame (an artificial sweetener)
- Preservatives and artificial flavoring
- White sugar and sweets
- Artificial beverages
Get plenty of exercise
Exercise is definitely one way to fight low moods. It generates endorphins – the happy hormones. It is not easy to motivate yourself to exercise when you are feeling low, but it will be worth it. Start off with a gentle walk and then build up. You can exercise at home if you like but it may do you more good if you can get out of the house. As soon as you’re done, you’ll notice a great improvement.
Don’t look down
Scientists now suspect that eye movements are also related to moods. It is though that looking down is related to negative feelings. So try to look up and keep your eyes focused on details up high. This is very easy to do and takes just a little effort.
Avoiding internal conflicts
For some people there is a root cause for their depression. If the cause can be tackled then the depression will go. It does not help for the underlying problem to be surpassed. This leads to a build up of repressed anger or sadness. Some people have found that a homeopathic remedy or Bach Flowers can be very helpful as they have no contraindications or side effects.
Do not forget nature
Emotional imbalance is more common these days – even in young people. Some suggest that this is due to our lack of contact with the natural world. The colour green is a natural balancer and the feel of the sun on your skin can feel very healing. If you live in the city, you should at least try to get to a park as often as you can.
Many of us just don’t breathe correctly. We do not fully inflate our lungs are miss out on vital oxygen with every breath. This makes us feel more stressed, tense and depressed. It is important to learn to breathe correctly and this is incorporated into many therapies such as yoga, tai chi and meditation.
Depressed people isolate themselves and avoid contact with other people, including some of the closest people to them like family. This temptation must be fought. Allow a close family member to give you a massage using essential oils that have mood-boosting properties like oregano, lavender, chamomile, bergamont, geranium, jasmine, lemon, sandalwood, mandarin, melissa, orange, neroli or petitgrain.
If this is too intimate then at least meet up with people for a coffee at least once a week!