Natural Treatments for Depression
This is a guest post by Kimora Chanel who owns kimorachanel.com. She has an amazing post for us on effective techniques to manage depression without antidepressants. Take it away Kimora!
We’ve all been there before. At that place in our life where we feel completely drained of any energy to continue moving forward. Instead, we either choose to just lay in bed all day, eat our feelings (or maybe not eat at all), or just interact with the world with a lack of energy and emotion. We’ve all been at that place in our life where we feel like we have absolutely nothing left to give. Not to ourselves and definitely not to anyone else.
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What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is a mental health disorder which is characterized by persistent depressed moods and thoughts. Usually when someone is experiencing depression there is a loss of interest in activities of any kind, especially ones that you or the person struggling with depression love participating in.
When we hear the word depression our minds automatically jump to mental disorder, and naturally our minds associate mental disorders with a mental illness. Due to the terms mental disorder and mental illness we have been taught to believe either of these things to be bad. Something negative that we don’t want the world to know about.
The Stigma with Depression
Well I’m here to tell you that it’s ok to talk about mental health. It’s ok to be living with a mental disorder of any kind because believe it or not, it’s not as rare as the world may want you to believe. In fact, depression is more common than we are led to believe. While there are different levels of severity of depression, the fact of the matter is that depression is a common mood disorder that many people experience throughout their lifetime.
If you want to learn a little bit more about depression, including the different levels of depression, signs and symptoms, as well as treatment for depression, the National Institute of Mental Health is a great place to start.
The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is also a great resource to checkout to learn more about depression and mental disorders in general. So now that you know a little bit about depression I bet you’re wondering the ways in which you can manage your depression. Again, depending on the severity of the disorder your doctor or therapist may or may not prescribe you with antidepressants to help you manage your depression.
However, if you would like to take a more holistic approach to managing your depression and skip the use of antidepressants altogether, you are going to want to stick around to hear what I have to say next. Below you will find 10 effective wellness techniques to manage depression without the assistance of antidepressants.
Getting your body moving is super important and beneficial to your mental health. When we exercise or participate in any kind of physical activity, we are releasing endorphins that increase our mood. A lot of the time depression keeps us from doing things, especially things that we love. Depression looks different on everyone, which means everyone will behave differently when depressed. But this doesn’t discount all the good that exercising can do for you.
Since physical activity and/or exercise increase our mood, it will naturally alter the way we are feeling in the moment. And if you’re lucky, for a short time after. Moving your body is a great distraction to how you are feeling. When you allow yourself to focus on something other than the way you feel, you will begin to naturally feel something other than the depression itself.
This is one of the reasons why I push so hard for self-care practices and routines, especially when depression takes over. We feel good about ourselves when we are doing things that make us feel good.
With depression it can be very hard to even begin to put ourselves in the mindset of doing something that makes us feel good. So the best approach to this is to take it slow by simply getting your body moving. Even if it’s just going for a short walk. Within minutes those endorphins will be released and your mood will start to change for the better before you even know it.
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Some hate it, some love, most people don’t understand the benefits of it. Whatever side you stand on it doesn’t matter, because I’ll be the first to admit that therapy isn’t for everyone. While I do think that everyone can benefit from having at least one therapy session in their lifetime, there are other factors that you have to take into consideration for therapy.
These are things such as cost, finding the right the therapist, location, years of work and experience the person has, and perhaps the biggest one of all, just having the courage to follow through with the appointment.
Therapy Can Be Challenging
It requires you to face the stone cold truth about whatever it is you choose to talk about in your therapy session. There’s no room for excuses. Your therapist will ask you to be open and honest, and that’s where the healing really begins. With therapy, even though you have come to the therapist for help, you as the client are really the one who is in control.
You can guide the conversation, and choose what you do and do not want to talk about. There’s no pressure from the therapist for you to open up. It’s all on your terms and at your own pace. The bottom line here is that if you’re not ready to sit down and talk to a therapist, then don’t force yourself to commit to it. This will only cause anxiety which will have a direct impact on your depression. Talking to a therapist has to be a decision that you make because you are ready to make the commitment.
As stated above there are many factors that you have to take into consideration when choosing therapy as an option. So you don’t want to rush this process. It’s not the only option to managing your depression, but it is an option that can help if your goal is to ultimately not rely on medication.
It’s one of those wellness techniques that you should keep as a “just in case” in your back pocket, because you never know what it could and very well may do for your life.
Set Realistic Goals
Distractions are the theme here. Depression completely takes over the mind and even the littlest of things. Taking a shower in the morning can seem hard to do. A technique that could be really helpful in naturally stripping yourself of sadness is to set goals that you know you can achieve. These don’t have to be super ambitious goals. They can be as big or as small as you want them to be.
The main goal here is to just slowly get into the habit of doing a little bit of this and that, here and there, so that you’re not trapped in your head all day. It may be beneficial to start by setting goals that you would like to achieve for the day. So maybe one of your goals is to eat breakfast, or watch 30 minutes of TV, or possibly even to take out the trash. It doesn’t matter.
To beat depression naturally you have to be willing to put in the hard work needed to overcome it. Sometimes this literally is getting through 1 hour where you’re not in bed out of the whole day. By setting realistic goals you are taking the pressure to no longer be depressed off of you. Instead you are accepting and acknowledging the way that you feel, and are choosing to do something about it.
That alone is more power that you can give to yourself to have the strength to manage your depression outside of medication, than any medication could. The best part about this wellness technique is not only does it make you feel good for setting a goal and achieving it, but it’s completely free and come at no costs to you what so ever.
Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Something that is very important to note about depression is the negative ruminative thoughts that are constantly floating around in your head. It can become very overwhelming very quickly, and when this happens there is a lack of motivation to try to change your thinking.
We get so caught up in our heads about all the negativity that is going on up there. We often learn how to turn off the optimistic switch in our brains just so we can hear those thoughts a little louder. **Ruminating is the expression or involvement of deep thought. We may trick ourselves into thinking that we’ll only turn that switch off for a second, maybe a minute. Then we’ll choose to stop feeling bad about ourselves and turn it back on.
This is where the trap gets set and we willing fall right into it. It almost never works simply because that voice of negativity is screaming louder than that voice of positivity. So how do we change it? How do we not fall into the trap and instead bypass it every time? By challenging our negative thoughts. When those negative thoughts begin to creep up, put a stop to them by not allowing them to become ruminative.
So whenever you hear that negative thought about yourself or your life creeping up to take over, just stop it by not giving it power. Instead, choose to think about what the positive response to that thought would be. For example, if your depression is telling you that you are worthless, challenge that thought by saying you’re not worthless because you have people who confidently depend on you.
They confidently depend on you because you always follow through with your word. It’s not a prefect process but it’s one that it worth giving a shot. With enough practice, this wellness technique will become second nature to you in no time.
Find Your Purpose
Perhaps the most effective way to manage depression without medication is by giving yourself purpose. Give yourself something to fight for, something that will motivate you enough to want to seize the day. Having something that is bigger and greater than yourself to work towards day in and day out is the perfect way to manage your depression.
Not only does it take your mind off of yourself, but it also gives you the opportunity to make a positive difference in the life of someone else. Having a purpose in life that is greater than yourself can be very freeing and satisfying. It can serve as a daily reminder that you are not the only one suffering. Even if those who you choose to put before yourself aren’t suffering from depression.
The one thing that is honest and true and consistent in this world, no matter where you live in the world, is the fact that everyone can use somebody. Whether that’s a confidant, a friend, a mentor, a lover, or even just somebody who is willing to make a difference in their life, it never hurts to have others that you are fighting for.
Manage Depression with These Helpful Wellness Techniques
Depression is a deadly illness and it impacts more people than we all may be aware of. Depression is very common for individuals as young as 14 years old. Knowing the signs and symptoms of depression, as well as wellness techniques to help manage depression can literally be a lifesaver.
The earlier you start incorporating natural wellness techniques to help manage depression, the less reliable you may be on medication as you move through life. However, you may feel you need someone professional to help you, or you feel your symptoms may need professional attention. Or you could even get a professional’s opinion about your signs and symptoms. I highly recommend you reach out to someone who can help you.
Sometimes the natural and most holistic approach to healing isn’t the right answer for everyone, and that’s ok. You can learn more about depression as well as resources to help with managing depression here. Healing starts from within, so the choice to heal is always yours.
I’m a motivational health and wellness lifestyle blogger. I create content for anyone and everyone looking to live a more fulfilled life by learning how to build their confidence, adopt a health conscious lifestyle, and find comfort in their own skin through the power of wellness.
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