3 Simple Steps to Fight Depression Naturally

Depression strikes everyone in different ways. Sometimes, it comes through as overwhelming sadness, accompanied by tears and hyperventilating. Sometimes, it shows itself in more mild forms, such as lethargic attitudes and lack of caring about things we know we should. There are many different forms of depression. And it is no wonder that there are so many, many, different drugs marketed to treat it. But are pills really the answer for all? Or are there possible alternatives?

Hello Sunshine – Increase Serotonin Naturally

Ever notice on a rainy day, it’s more difficult to get up and out of bed? It’s more than just the cold and wet. Sunlight has a drastic effect on all living creatures. It’s what triggers the color of a ferret’s or snow rabbit's fur. It’s what decides when bears will hibernate. In humans, natural sunlight encourages the production and maintenance of a chemical called Serotonin.

Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, a type of chemical that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. (WebMD).

Think of your brain as a road system. Each car is carrying all of the data you need to function in your day. From pin numbers, when to pick up little Johnny from soccer, that presentation you have to give at work, all the way to, did you remember to brush your teeth and put on deodorant this morning. Our memories are more stressed than ever. Even simple signals like “hungry” or “thirsty” are difficult to recognize when low on serotonin. Our brains are overwhelmed. The roads are paved, the cars are running, but no one’s manning the toll booths. Cars are getting stuck and it’s rush hour. Serotonin opens those gates and the highways clear again.

Most prescribed antidepressant medications are pills designed to increase serotonin levels. But by adding a regiment of natural sunlight to your day, serotonin levels will increase naturally. It doesn’t take much. Many find half an hour a day is enough to make a vast difference. And before arguing that there isn’t time in your busy day for that, consider how much time you will save yourself by having a lively step with that extra serotonin encouraging you through your tasks. Not to mention the concept of multitasking. There’s nothing that says you can’t work on brainstorming for that project at work while sitting in the park for that half hour.

Working it out – Exercise to Produce Endorphins

No, seriously go for a walk, or run. Exercise. Work it out!

Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression. (WebMD).

Endorphins are another form of neurotransmitter. However, endorphins are not produced so easily as stepping into the sun. But not to fret, they come with added benefits too, like assisting a sense of euphoria, similar to that which occurs with the use of morphine.

Some will claim that working out is “addicting.” That if they don’t get their jogging, swimming, biking, or whatever the sport of choice, in for the day that they can feel the shift in their mood and a drain on their energy. Beginning a workout routine is not just healthy for the body, it’s healthy for the mind and soul. Having a routine hobby such as this can give a sense of structure and organization to your day as well (WebMD)

Get out there – Find Social Support

Sometimes, we just need something to start that “happy” snowball rolling down the hill. Find a hobby. (Preferably one that can include one of the former suggested two steps, exercise in the sun.) But that is certainly not a year round option depending on location.The important thing is to add something to your life that you enjoy.

Meet good people to socialize with by taking up a cooking, painting or photography class, or martial art. Volunteering at a local animal shelter is a GREAT way to start. Not only can you walk the dogs in the sunshine, but it is low pressure and animals have an amazing positive impact on blood pressure and stress levels.
Strong social support is important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class may be beneficial. (WebMD)
Be creative in what activity you choose. Live, love, and laugh. Most importantly Laugh. It is often said that laughter is the best medicine, and now science is backing that up. Smiling and laughter release those fun feeling chemicals in the brain we spoke about earlier. Socializing can be an intimidating experience for some, but after taking that first step, each stride becomes astonishingly easier.

Lifestyle Changes

There are many other things a person can do to help change their outlook on life.

  • A change in diet, eating more foods that are high in vitamin B.
  • Eliminating “negative” words from your vocabulary.
  • Doing a puzzle; the mental stimulation and sense of accomplishment after finishing something difficult is very uplifting.
  • Adding bright and uplifting colors to your home and wardrobe.

Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for depression. It takes work and patience and, in some cases, professional assistance. It can be a very serious matter, but taking small steps such as these can help you on that road to recovery. Sometimes, a little sunshine, can go a very long way.


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