Hey There, Well Beings! As the traffic grows on this page, I thought it might be nice to bring the occasional post out of obscurity and give it some light now and again. Today, I’ve chosen an article I wrote for Inner Child Magazine back in 2014 that’s loaded with tips for easing depression. I’ve found a lot of comfort in these over the years and I hope they help you, too.
Wishing You Total Well-Being,
Depression. It’s almost a fact of life these days. 1 in 10 adults have reported experiencing it according to the CDC. Sometimes it’s affected by the seasons. Others we experience due to the stress of life or after the loss of a loved one. Chances are, you or someone close to you will face depression at some point, if not already. For mild to moderate depression, you needn’t abandon hope. There are things you can do to get your happy back.
Start with Supplements: A good fish oil, or sea algae supplement for vegans, will do wonders for your brain. Aside from providing you with nutrients that will help memory and offset Alzheimer’s, omegas also help battle depression. Omega 3s have been shown to be lacking in depressed individuals. Vitamin D is a biggie, especially in the winter when our exposure to the sun is more limited. It’s not at all uncommon to be deficient and supplementation is simple. St. John’s Wort is very popular for treating mild to moderate depression, with some studies showing it to be equally as effective as some prescription medications. You may also want to look for SAMe and 5HTP. There is some evidence that both may be helpful as 5HTP is a precursor to serotonin and SAMe may increase the level of serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. These are all contributors to feelings of well being and energy needed to stay motivated when times are tough. Just make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any supplements to make sure your dosages and all possible interactions have been accounted for.
Follow Your Nose: Citrus essentials oils of orange, lemon, lime, grapefruit and bergamot are all known to lift the spirits and leave behind a bright, cheerful scent. Mix your favorites together and diffuse them in your home or put them in an unscented cream or oil and wear when gloomy. You’ll see it has a lot of a-peel! If fruity scents aren’t your thing, look for rose or chamomile to brighten your mood. The idea is to surround yourself with something that you like, so if it isn’t your favorite, it probably won’t do the trick. Just make sure you’re using real essential oils, as fragrance oils made from chemicals don’t have the same effect on the limbic system as the real thing.
Get By with a Little Help From Your Friends: The last thing you probably want to do when you’re down is be social or even put on pants, but when someone tosses an invite your way to go out dancing or come over for game night, go! Being around people who care about you and make you laugh is exactly what the author ordered. Make the extra effort and spiff up a little, too. Taking the time to take care of yourself is a must. Do your hair. Shine your shoes. Heal your soul.
Fuzz Therapy: If your finances and lifestyle allow, consider adopting a pet. Furry companions require exercise and playtime, which will force you out of your rut. They also require serious snuggles which will boost your mood faster than a cat comes running at the sound of a can opener. I speak from personal experience when I tell you that my dog was sometimes the only reason I managed to get out of bed and go to work during some of my darker days. It was my responsibility to feed him so I made myself go for him. Returning home to his grateful, wagging tail was entirely worth it.
Get Spiritual: People with a solid spiritual practice tend to experience less depression that those that don’t. Prayer can help put you back in touch with your heart and help you find that light at the end of the tunnel. Meditation is something that’s helpful no matter what faith you belong to. Volunteer to do some community outreach at your place of worship. If you’re not religious, find a local group of Secular Humanists doing good things in your area and get involved. Doing good feels good. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?
By taking an active role and knowing your natural options, you can treat your depression. Of course, if you think there’s any possibility you may be suffering from depression that is moderate to severe, please consult with your doctor. If your depression has reached the point where you have considered taking your own life, I want you to have this number: 1-800-273-8255. It will connect you with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and someone in your area will help get you through it. You are not alone. The world still needs unique and wonderful you and don’t you ever forget it!