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Alternative Medicine, Home Remedies and Self-Help for Depression

Last updated on April 12, 2021

Depression is becoming one of them most common mental disorders in the world. 

  • The World Health Organization reports that 350 million people worldwide have some form of depression. 
  • The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports Major Depressive Disorder to be the #1 cause of disability in the United States for people age 15 to 44.3.
  • About 12 million US women experience clinical depression each year, this means that 1 in 8 US women will develop clinical depression in their lifetimes

Even though nothing will replace the time-tested approach — antidepressants and psychotherapy, alternative remedies have gained noteworthy prominence over the past few years. There are many types of treatments capable of treating even the most severe cases. 

They have numerous advantages over the conventional form of medication when it comes to side effects and cost, but the most optimal results are achieved when combining alternative medicine with its conventional counterpart. 

These self-help options can really go a long way to improving your quality of life, and in recovering from various depressive symptoms.

What Is Depression?

Depression is a term that refers to a serious mental syndrome where certain symptoms affect both physical and psychological performance. 

It’s more than just a period of time filled with sadness, irritability, or unhappiness, but instead severe enough to cause ongoing severe impairment in thought, behavior, feelings, and life. It can go on for months, or even years, without being correctly diagnosed or treated.

What Causes Depression?

The main cause for depression is essentially unidentified, but it’s believed that it’s a direct end result of the diminished production of one of the brain’s chemicals, serotonin, which is responsible for making us feel hopeful, positive, and in general regulating mood. 

Sometimes this drop in serotonin is the outcome of our hectic lives and all its pressures, traumatic events, or certain stressors. Depression could also be due to a genetic predisposition.

Symptoms

Even though depression may be difficult to be identified or foreseen, its symptoms are well known and can be easily recognized. The way symptoms affect physical and psychological functioning has been compared to other chronic medical conditions, as diabetes.

Symptoms usually last more than two weeks. Some people suffer from periods of depression separated by years in which they show no symptoms. Others, on the other hand, nearly always show symptoms.

Studies show that women have a higher rate of major depression than men do. This is despite the fact that it’s more culturally acceptable for women to freely talk about their feelings, whereas men are more likely to try to hide their feelings.

Depression is diagnosed by a licensed therapist or a medical doctor following guidelines and criteria set forth by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM5).

Five or more symptoms must have occurred during the same two weeks and either a depressed mood or a loss of interest must be present.

  • Persistent depressed mood that lasts at least most of the day and nearly every day 
  • Marked decrease in interest or pleasure in all, or almost all regular activities for most of the day and nearly every day
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Anger, agitation, irritability, short temperedness, everyone and anything getting on your nerves and even violent outbursts
  • Self-loathing, feelings of guilt and or worthlessness and harsh self-criticism
  • Very low energy levels, fatigue, sluggishness
  • Having difficulty making decisions, problems with concentration, thinking or focusing on a task
  • Having slowness of movement
  • Talking more slowly
  • Unexplained aches and pains not helped by common treatments that have no known or evident cause
  • Restlessness and restless behavior
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much almost every day
  • Changes in appetite nearly every day or weight gain or loss not related to dieting, significant weight loss or gain of 5% of body weight in one month
  • Reckless behavior
  • Thoughts of suicide or preoccupation with death

Not every single person suffering from depression will experience all of the symptoms. Some will suffer from many symptoms simultaneously, while others will experience only a few. Likewise, the seriousness and rate of recurrence of the symptoms and how long they last will differ according to the individual.

Managing Depression

The most common treatments for depression are psychotherapy and medication. Counselling can be delivered to groups, individuals, or families by mental health professionals, including psychiatrists and licensed therapists, though only medical doctors (MDs) and in certain states, PHDs can prescribe medication.

Of course there are other courses that can be followed to help alleviate the symptoms, even prevent depression altogether. For example, there is interpersonal therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy (behavioral interventions) which are most effective when delivered to individuals or small groups. 

Those who are slightly older may find that they benefit more from social support programs which usually last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.

There are also other options such as exercise, which has been found to give the equivalent result to medications or psychological therapies in most people. Even those who are older benefit from physical exercise. 

Studies have shown that moderate exercise decreases depression and is recommended to those who are physically healthy to participate in an exercise program as a form of treatment. 

Even just going for a 15-minute walk can do wonders for your mood.

Consulting With Your Doctor

Knowing the various treatments and how to implement them are two completely different things, which is why it’s crucial to talk openly with your health care professional about suffering from depression as well as all the symptoms you’re having.

Many of us have had questions for our doctors that we’ve held back for fear of sounding stupid, but there really is no such thing as a dumb question when it comes to taking care of your health and a good doctor will take the time to answer all your questions and provide you with the right information to help you understand the benefits and dangers of any and all treatment procedures.

The four main steps you’ll go through with your doctor are:

  • state the problem in your own words
  • set goals for the course of treatment and what will happen as a result
  • make decisions based on a balancing act between the doctor’s advice and your own priorities and expectations
  • evaluate treatment tactics, review the treatment plan and examine the outcomes

Even though talking with a doctor may be a bit daunting, choosing a doctor whom you trust is essential. You also have to remember that there are certain rights to which you’re entitled, such as the right to ask questions, voice your fears and doubts, and know all the costs you’ll be charged. Moreover, you have the right to say ‘no’ to any treatment that you’re not comfortable with.

At the same time, it’s important to bear in mind that just as you have certain rights, you’re obligated to give your doctor all the required information. For example, you have to tell your doctor your medical history as well as the names of all the medications you’ve used before or are currently using, as certain medical conditions and medications can cause depression.

Even though depression is serious and requires a diagnosis and treatment by a doctor or other health care professionals, some people choose to use alternative forms of therapies in addition to the counseling and medications. 

These approaches can range from diet and exercise to mental conditioning and lifestyle changes.

Benefits Of Complementary and Home Remedies

Even though there are many types of alternative therapies, they are best when utilized alongside conventional medicine, and not as its substitute. Various studies show how alternative therapy can treat and prevent many disorders, and what side effects they may cause. However, largely, it’s been proven that when combined with prescribed medication, these alternative self-help approaches may help better manage the symptoms of depression.

All depressive symptoms stem from brain processes, which are influenced by your mental attitude and emotions. This is why we know that the brain, in addition to your beliefs and feelings, play a significant role in mood. 

This is largely one of the reasons why meditation is a great healer of depression. Laughter is also known to relieve depression and support its recovery because it releases endorphins, which activate brain receptors, which produce pain-killing, euphoria-producing effects.

Meditation and laughter are just two examples of burgeoning treatment techniques, which looks at mind-body therapies to address depression.

Complementary And Home Remedies for Depression

Modern medicine is wonderful, but it is not always enough and many find comfort and healing in alternative medicine and certain home remedies that can complement conventional medical care to increase probability of success in healing depression and improving quality of life. 

Herbal Supplements

St. John’s Wort 

Even though it’s a popular depression treatment in Europe, it has yet to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s helpful with mild or moderate depression, but on the other hand, it can interfere with many medications, which can lead to serious side effects.

Saffron

Few studies have been carried out on this herb’s ability to treat depression and they all show how saffron can improve the symptoms of depression. However, it should be used with caution since high doses can cause substantial side effects.

Meditation

Meditation is a way to help the mind be at peace and encourage tranquility. For thousands of years ancient philosophies have been practicing meditation with the belief that it has positive effects on both physical and mental health. It consists of slow, regular breathing and sitting quietly for at least 15 – 20 minutes. 

Depression medications works by stimulating the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. A study conducted by the University of Montreal found that meditation offers you the opportunity to naturally boost levels of serotonin.

In 1996, a University of Washington study found that the hippocampus was incredibly underdeveloped in individuals suffering from depression and that damage was more severe in those with prolonged depression. Thankfully, this damage isn’t permanent and meditation helps revive the hippocampus to help treat and even prevent depression.

The fight or flight stress response triggers the amygdala region of the brain, causing it to become overheated and flood the body with hormones that can damage mental health. A study conducted by Harvard found that meditation not only helps you learn to control the triggering of the fight of flight stress response, but it also improves the health of the amygdala.

Most people suffer from depression because they feel incomplete, something that easily occurs when life changes in a significant way, meditation brings calm and peace, makes you feel whole again and helps you get back on your feet.

What is the best form of meditation for depression? 

A study published by psychologists from the University of Exeter showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or MBCT may actually be more effective than counseling or medication, citing that four months after MBCT, three fourths of study subjects felt well enough to stop taking antidepressants.

Mark Williams, an Oxford professor of clinical psychology and the leader of the team that developed MBCT cites that brooding is one of the key features seen in patients with depression and MBCT specifically tackles brooding to teach compassion for self and others.

Other Helpful Forms Of Meditation For Depression

CONCENTRATIVE MEDITATION

This type centers in on a single image, sound, or mantra (words repeated in a rhythmic pattern). You can also focus on your own breathing.

Mindful meditation

An example of this type of meditation is mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). It focuses on everything that passes through your mind, such as sounds, pictures, emotions, and thoughts.

Yoga

Yoga has become increasingly popular in recent decades, with about 4% of the US population practicing it regularly. Yoga is an ancient Indian therapeutic form of exercise with health benefits going above and beyond just toning and stretching your muscles, although it is known to do that very well, increasing both strength and flexibility. 

Yoga also has a component of relaxation included, and involves regulated breathing which also helps to calm the mind and relax the body. This focus on the breathing is a form of meditation that can be a contributing factor in elevating mood. 

These elements of synchronizing breathing with stretching and holding poses, followed by a period of relaxation, are what might make yoga superior to other forms of exercise when it comes to alleviating depressive symptoms.

Recent research suggests that yoga can be of tremendous benefit for your mental health since it has a similar effect to antidepressants and psychotherapy. Yoga exercises are designed to encourage better physical and mental health while developing more control over your body and thoughts. Yoga helps reduce levels of soreness, stress, and impacts neurotransmitters as well as boosts serotonin.

Duke University researchers published a recent review of more than 100 studies looking at the effect of yoga on mental health, and according to lead author Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, a professor of psychiatry and medicine at Duke University Medical Center, “Most individuals already know that yoga produces some kind of a calming effect. Individually, people feel better after doing the physical exercise. Mentally, people feel calmer, sharper, maybe more content. We thought it’s time to see if we could pull all [the literature] together… to see if there’s enough evidence that the benefits individual people notice can be used to help people with mental illness.”

Depression has become rife in society on a global scale, with figures having doubled in the last thirty years. 

Many people are finding medication alone is not enough to help their depression. One advocate for yoga as an antidote to depression is Amy Weintraub, founder of LifeForce Yoga and author of “Yoga For Depression.”

Amy herself suffered from severe depression and it was yoga that helped her to feel much better and enabled her to get off her medications. She believes that it is the combination of mindful exercise and breathing, along with paying attention to bodily sensations, a practice known as Yoga Nidra, that allows chronic tension to be released and old traumas and wounds brought to the surface in order to be let go of and healed. 

She says that the attachment to a “story” is no longer necessary and what are sometimes very emotional releases causing many tears and crying, have no need to be understand in a specific historical context. They are just a release of emotion and can be perceived as such without being labelled or analyzed.

Along with the increasing number of scientific studies that show, that yoga can be helpful in combatting depression and improving quality of life for those living with depression, Amy Weintraub herself has witnessed many of her clients getting better and finding relief from symptoms, some of them to the point of being able to eliminate medications; although this process takes time and must be done sensibly and cautiously with the collaborative support of a doctor.

Part of the healing power of yoga is in being able to take what is learned “on the mat” out into one’s every day life. 

Practitioners of yoga, or “yogis,” learn through their practice to observe and respond, rather than to react to situations. This helps them to maintain equilibrium under stress and pressure and to stay centered and calm in a crisis. 

They also learn to detach from what in depression are often “negative automatic thoughts.” By creating a space between themselves and their thoughts, they do not buy in quite so heavily to the underlying core beliefs, which may be making them feel unhappy. 

Common beliefs include “I am not worthy” or “I am a failure.” Yoga lets you see without being emotionally invested.

Yoga is absolutely worth considering as an adjunct to therapy, or medication, if you suffer from depression. According to the studies, it is best to do it regularly, for a reasonable length of time, such as six months, before you try to assess the benefits. You may wish to find a LifeForce Yoga Practitioner near you, as they will offer exercises specifically designed to improve your mood. 

Massage Therapy

There are over 80 types of massage therapies available, with each one working to promote physical and mental health.

Massage directly affects the nervous system by stimulating the release of endorphins though nerve endings on the skin. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain, which induce relaxation and a sense of overall well-being. It also helps relieve pain and reduces levels of cortisol by slowing down heart rate, respiration, metabolism and lowers raised blood pressure.

Massage therapy offers real health benefits, such as:

  • Pain relief
  • Decreases stress, anxiety, depression
  • Eases insomnia
  • Reduces PMS symptoms
  • Relaxes injured and overused muscles and improves mobility
  • Brings relief to those suffering from arthritis by increasing joint flexibility
  • Improves blood circulation
  • Helps lymphatic system flush away waste products
  • Promotes overall wellness

Laughter

Laughter stimulates the release of endogenous endorphins, which activate brain receptors to produce feel good emotions and euphoric effects.

The power of laughter should never be underestimated as a wonderful self-help method of treating depression.

Laughter increases wellbeing, improves immunity, and promotes happiness and joy in life, making your troubles less worrisome and promoting positive mood. 

You can laugh more by going to comedy clubs, hanging out with funny people, reading a joke of the day, and spending social time with friends and family.

Aerobic Exercise

Any type of movement does wonders for the nervous system. There are different types of exercises to lower your stress levels, help you relax, and reduce depression. Exercise also boosts your energy levels, enhances your sense of balance, and boosts flexibility and stamina.

Regular exercise is a safe, effective, and versatile way to improve your well-being as well as your self-esteem. 

This is because exercise promotes the release of endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain to trigger a positive, happy feeling in the body. 

It also lowers blood pressure and decreases the levels of cortisol and adrenaline released in the body, which means lowers levels of stress.

Moderate level exercise is best, as high intensity, activity actually causes stress and should be avoided when managing depression. Walking, cycling, and swimming are all great choices.

Guided Imagery

Also referred to as visualization, guided imagery is a form of communication between the body and mind, which uses the powers of observation by picturing a relaxing scene and visualizing it with all of the 5 senses.

Even though some are better at imagining than others, everyone can master guided imagery. All this simple relaxation technique requires is practice and patience. Don’t rush it because the only way for it to work is to engage your senses.

When you use each of your 5 senses, you’re boosting the levels of brain chemicals responsible for putting you in a good mood. So, the more you practice, the more control you’ll have over your thoughts and emotions – something you lack when you’re suffering from depression.

Music Therapy

Turning on music helps you focus when you’re studying; it gathers your nerves when you’re anxious and pumps up your energy levels during a workout. This is tangible proof that when you listen to music, there’s so much more happening in your body than just something good you’re listening to. Music triggers activity in the part of the brain that releases dopamine – the happy hormone – and is involved in forming expectations.

Listening to music also lowers levels of anxiety, in addition to cortisol levels. Studies show that the part of the brain involved in processing emotions, as well as the part, which is responsible for making abstract decisions (the prefrontal cortex), are stimulated when listening to music.

Music is definitely an effective approach for people of all ages to help reduce fear, anxiety, stress, or grief. Everyone has different tastes in music, but classical music is likely to the most soothing. The best part about this type of therapy is that the power of music will work its magic regardless what your mood or musical taste it. Another great plus is that you can listen in your car, on your headphones, or before bedtime instead of watching the news.

Read also: Music Therapy 101

Aromatherapy

Also called essential oils therapy, this type of treatment uses essential oils, which are extracted from various botanicals and their aromas, stimulate responses in the brain to help manage mood, and help manage certain conditions, including depression. It also promotes relaxation and helps relieve stress, which is very effective for managing depression. 

Keep in mind that aromatherapy is not a cure or a replacement for depression treatment; however, it can do a lot to promote relaxation, and simply make you feel better. 

Essential oils can be used in an infuser, in a hot bath or mixed with carrier oils and used for massage. 

The reason so many believe in the healing powers of aromatherapy is that the fragrances in these oils stimulate nerves in the nose which then send impulses to the parts of the brain that control of memory and emotion. This is why different oils can induce a different response, such as lavender that is calming and orange that is energizing.

Others believe that the fragrant oils interact with the body’s hormones to cause changes in blood pressure as well as other body functions. These changes can generate pain-fighting components in order to lower the release of stress-related hormones and chemicals.

Biofeedback

Even though researchers are still puzzled by why or how biofeedback works, they are certain that it promotes relaxation and relieves many conditions related to stress. 

The process of biofeedback facilitates a greater awareness of how your body responds to stress and anxiety allowing you to control such responses through a variety of exercises that your therapist will guide you through.

During each 30-minute session, electrodes are attached to your skin which then send signals to a monitor displaying a sound, light or image to represent various bodily functions, such as heart activity, breathing rate, blood pressure, the temperature of the skin, and activity of the muscles. When you’re under stress, these functions change greatly and your stress responses appear straightaway on the monitor.

A biofeedback therapist will help you practice relaxation techniques and exercises to help you control different body functions, which you learn though the process of seeing the responses on the screen as to your reaction to stress. The ultimate goal is to be able to control these body functions with your mind, and without the help of the biofeedback equipment. Some techniques that you will use at that point include:

  • Deep breathing exercises
  • Progressive muscle relaxation (PMR)
  • Guided imagery 
  • Mindfulness meditation 

There are different types of biofeedback used to monitor different types of body functions:

  • (EMG) electromyogram measures muscle activity and tension. It is most beneficial for back pain, headaches, anxiety disorder, and training after injury.
  • Thermal. This type measures the temperature of the skin. It works great with headaches
  • Neurofeedback or electroencephalography (EEG). It measures brain waves and it best used with (ADHD) attention deficit hyper-activity disorder as well as other mental illnesses.
  • EDA (electrodermal activity) this is best used for pain and anxiety as its job is to measure sweating
  • Heart rate variability (HRA) just as the name suggests, this type measures heart rate. It can be used for anxiety, asthma, and irregular heartbeat.

Hypnosis

When you’re under the effects of hypnosis, you undergo intense single-mindedness and concentration. 

This can help lessen pain, both mental and physical, by changing your emotional responses to pain signals, as well as the way you think about pain in general. 

Studies have shown that hypnosis can help you cope with depression, anxiety, and desperation.

Listen To This Guided Hypnosis Track Designed To Release Stress And Prime The Mind For Happiness…

Relaxation Therapy

If you’re suffering from depression, one of the best ways to feel better is to schedule some downtime to relax and unwind. When you’re feeling tense and anxious, that only amplifies feelings of depression and negativity. 

The trick is to consciously make time for yourself to relax. Just squeezing in an hour or two of sitting in front of the TV playing video games or aimlessly surfing channels isn’t enough. You need to set up specific times during the day to consciously relax. It might be difficult in the beginning, but the more you stick to the routine, the better you’ll feel later on. If you need half an hour during your workday, go for a walk, sit in the park, and listen to some soothing music on your headphones.

If you have children and you need to focus on yourself, don’t be hesitant to ask for help. It doesn’t mean you’re being an unfit or selfish parent; it means you’re practicing a vital part of life, like eating and sleeping, in order to stay healthy and well. It means you’re a devoted human being who’s focused on getting healthy and staying that way.

Read also: The are of true Relaxation and it’s enormous benefits…

Mindfulness

Mindfulness means you’re paying attention to everything around you in the precise moment you’re in right now. Rather than letting your thoughts control you or letting your mind wander, you concentrate on living in the present. It may sound simple but it takes a lot of practice to remain in this mindful state by letting distracting thoughts pass through your mind without being caught up in their emotional repercussions.

Practicing mindfulness can have great benefits for both physical and mental health

  • It’s been found to reduce levels of stress-induced inflammations and disorders. 
  • It calms the nervous system and lowers blood pressure as well as reduces stress levels, which relieves feelings of stress and anxiety. 
  • It also affects pain responses in the brain and decreases brain activity in the areas responsible for relaying sensory information.

In many ways, mindfulness is akin to transcendental meditation; both share the idea of reaching a place of “restful” or “concentrated” alertness. This alert state enables you to let negative thoughts and distractions slip away without disturbing your state of balance and composure.

Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST)

NST is a method that uses gentle movements of specific muscles or at certain points on your body to create an energy flow and vibrations between points. These gentle movements allow your body to create a balanced flow of energy. 

NST does not cure depression, but many believe it to be a process that enables the body to return to a state of homeostasis, which can alleviate or make symptoms go away that are a result of a complex blockage existing within the body. 

The main goal of NST is to remove pain by reestablishing the structural integrity of the body. It basically provides the mind and body with the opportunity to recover, rejuvenate, and realign themselves on many levels.

Tai Chi

Tai chi is a Chinese practice that’s been around for over 2000 with a main goal of harnessing life energy, the qi. It’s been known to show promise in treating sleep problems and high blood pressure as well as a number of physical ailments.

Tai chi, also called “meditation in motion,” is all about taking the body through a specific set of graceful movements. The body is constantly flowing from each movement right into the next one. The way tai chi works is that your mind focuses on the movements and the deep breathing, which relaxes the body and the mind, learns how to ignore distracting thoughts.

The best part of tai chi is that it can be done by all, regardless of age, physical or mental state.

It’s a great stress reduction tool when done approximately 60-minutes per session twice a week. Research also shows that it reduces anxiety, depression, and stress.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation 

Progressive Muscle Relaxation is a type of treatment that is done by tensing up then relaxing all major muscle groups one at a time starting from the top of your body, and going all the way down to the toes. It’s one way of controlling the body’s fight-or-flight response by actively allowing all muscles to let go.

It also gives a sense of being in control as you gradually start differentiating between a tense state and a relaxed one. PMR is an effective way to reduce stress and its effects on the body, and since stress exasperates depression, it is definitely worth a try.

PMR can also be coupled with guided imagery to help ease emotional distress, physical pain, stress, and depression.

Mantra

Reciting a calming or inspiring word or phrase in a rhythmic fashion can help you reduce stress and anxiety just as mindfulness can. 

When you’re focused on what you’re repeating, the mind stops wandering. It’s also capable of engaging your body’s relaxation response.

Deep Breathing

Taking in rhythmic deep breaths engages your parasympathetic nervous system, which encourages the body’s relaxation response. There are many types of breathing exercises you can do, and the key is always to remember to focus on breathing correctly, rhythmically through the nose with the help of the abdomen.

Here is one type of breathing exercise you can do on your own:

  • Sit up straight
  • Place the tip of your tongue on the back part of your top front teeth
  • Breathe in deeply through the nose, this should be done slowly to a count of 4
  • Hold the breath and count to 7
  • Exhale very slowly to the count of 8. Make an audible “whoosh” sound as you exhale.
  • That’s one breath. 
  • Repeat the steps above 3 more times for a total number of 4 breaths.

Start with 4 breaths per day at any time during the day. This soothing mechanism is powerful and the benefits are enormous because it works as an effortless sedative for the nervous system. 

After four weeks, you can start increasing the number of breaths during the day until you reach 8 full breath cycles at a time.

Acupuncture

Many studies have been carried out on the benefits of acupuncture as a treatment for depression. One of the main reasons behind this staunch belief in acupuncture’s healing powers is that it helps alleviate pain and releases endorphins. This is a sure sign that stress hormones are being shut off and, in turn, depression is reduced and anxiety is diminished.

There are around 400 points on your skin onto which very thin needles are inserted. These needles balance out the flow of energy in the body. 

It’s a wonderful treatment option for pain-related conditions such as:

  • Headaches
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Lower back pain
  • Tennis elbow
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Digestive issues
  • Nausea
  • Sleep problems, which by the way are one of the more common symptoms of depression

The release of endorphins in the body gives a sense of calm and happiness, and those who’ve tried it claim that it lasts long after the session is over.

Social Wellness

How you connect with others on a social level is vital for managing depression. Social networks reduce isolation, which is one of the fundamental risk factors of depression.

The more you cultivate social connections, the more you are protecting yourself against depression and all its symptoms.

Make an effort to strengthen interpersonal relationships. You can also join a class or group, which can help you, connect further. It’s not only effective with friends, family and those you’re familiar with; just speaking with someone face-to-face can do wonders for your mental health. 

Another great way to reduce depression and boost the release of endorphins is by helping out strangers, like volunteering. It’s a wonderful way to get social support and help others at the same time.

Belonging to social groups alleviates depression and its symptoms. It goes without saying that the closer you are to a group, the better you’re protected from depression and preventing any relapse.

The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)

EFT is a type of psychological acupressure, which consists of gentle tapping with only the fingertips to transfer kinetic energy on specific points and meridians on the head and chest. Along with that, you’re asked to think of a specific problem that has been weighing you down, while repeating encouraging declarations aloud. EFT is taking its time to gain understanding and respect in the West.

The way EFT’s tapping works is that it helps short-circuit the body’s bioenergy system, which blocks the flow of energy through your body. As a result, the balance between mind and body is restored and optimal health can be achieved.

EFT can promptly diminish the emotional bearing of memories, negative thoughts, and events that elicit anguish and distress. Once you get rid of these, the body can then start to balance out itself once again, and the healing process can be sped up. EFT is the closest thing to working magic on the body’s flow of electromagnetic energy.

Dietary Supplements

Dietary supplements can be dangerous if not taken properly. The FDA doesn’t monitor nutritional and dietary supplements so you have to do your own research before deciding to take anything. 

You also to make sure you’re taking them from a reputable company and be aware of what they contain. Make sure you talk to your health care provider before taking any supplements since they can interfere with prescription medications or cause dangerous interactions.

Folic acid

It’s been shown that there is a link between low levels of folic acid and those suffering from depression. Incorporating folic acid in your diet also improves the effectiveness of antidepressants. You can take a folic acid supplement or better yet get it form food. 

Folic Acid is also found naturally in

  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Dark leafy greens
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Avocadoes
  • Fortified cereals

ZINC

Zinc is a metal, which is needed in small amounts for optimum health. Even so, low levels of zinc in the blood have been linked to depression, among many other disorders. 

Taking 25 mg zinc supplements can help reduce depression symptoms. 

Zinc is also found naturally in:

  • Spinach
  • Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Kidney beans
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Oysters

Magnesium

Magnesium in the 4th most abundant mineral in the body, which is supplemented through diet, it’s essential in regulating a wide range of biomechanical functions in the body, such as synthesizing DNA, regulating heart beats, stabilizing brain chemicals and producing energy. Our bodies can’t produce it so we have to add it ourselves through food and supplements. 

Here are some foods rich in magnesium:

  • Roasted almonds and cashews
  • Cooked black beans
  • Bananas
  • Boiled spinach
  • Soymilk

B VITAMINS

Vitamin B-12, along with others in the B family, play an important role in the brain as they produce chemicals which have a significant effect on our moods, such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine which are basically our ‘feel good’ hormones. 

Adding more foods rich in vitamin B to your diet or taking supplements is the way to ensure you’re getting enough of this vitamin.

  • Fish
  • Cheese
  • Shellfish
  • Bell peppers
  • Turkey

Vitamin D

Researchers have found that low levels of vitamin D are associated with great depressive symptoms. Make sure you get sunlight on your skin for 15-20 minutes daily. If you live somewhere where sunlight is limited, you can take 1000-2000 IU of vitamin D daily to help keep depression at bay.

OMEGA-3

These fatty acids are found in certain types of cold-water fish, flax oil, walnuts, flaxseed, and many other types of foods. Omega-3 supplements are being taken under serious consideration as a possible treatment for depression. It’s important to bear in mind that even though Omega-3 is relatively safe, taking it as a dietary supplement can interfere with other medications.

5-HTP

The supplement 5-HTP requires a prescription in some countries even though it’s sold over-the-counter in the U.S. It’s used mainly to boost serotonin levels in the body, which enhances mood and lowers levels of stress hormones. Keep in mind that research on this supplement is still at its earliest, and more research is being carried out.

SAMe

SAMe, which is pronounced sameee, is short for S-adenosylmethionine, which is the manmade form of a chemical that naturally occurs in the body. It’s has been approved in Europe as a prescription to treat depression, but as of yet not by the FDA in the U.S. While more research is being done to test its feasibility, but it has proven itself to be a helpful treatment method for depression, as long as it’s not taken in high doses.

Final Thoughts

Alternative therapies and self-help home remedy options have appealed to individuals for more than one reason. While conventional medicine is often very effective for depression, it is not always enough or better yet made more successful by using natural complementary means. 

The most important thing to consider is that anything that works to improve depressive symptoms and your wellbeing without risk of side effects or detrimental effects is worth trying in order to improve your wellbeing and quality of life.

Stay well and take care!

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