The alarm drags you out of your dreams.

You dread the thought of crawling out of bed, but you have to make breakfast, take the kids to school, and go to work.

Somehow you manage to sit up.  Only to stare at the floor.

If you’re someone who has a hard time just getting up every day, the first thing you should know is that you’re not alone.  Depression is an all too common ailment.  Millions of people struggle with it every day.

The second thing you should know is that you can do something about it.

The most important relationship you have is the one you have with yourself.

If your depression lasts for days or if life feels meaningless, then you should seek professional help immediately.

But there are options besides prescription meds you can try.  Here are a few natural treatments for depression to help you improve your mood and face life with a smile.

Get active

The first thing to do is exercise. Physical activity boosts the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, triggering a positive response and improving mental health. There’s a reason runners talk about the runner’s high – because running makes you feel great!

Here are some tips for getting active:

  • Exercise with a friend.That way it will be harder to make excuses, plus you’ll be fighting another big contributor to depression – isolation.
  • Go outside.Don’t just run on the treadmill in the basement.  Humans aren’t meant to be cooped up inside all the time.  Sunlight does us good (vitamin D, anyone?) and nature inspires us, so why not take advantage of the great outdoors?
  • Try something new and exciting. Doing so can trick your brain into a good mood because it’s experiencing something it didn’t expect.

Adjust your diet

 You can use natural treatments for depression by controlling your diet, too.  If you fill your body with junk, it follows that you’ll feel like junk– so make sure you’re eating good things!  Give your body every opportunity to be healthy, and chances are you’ll feel better.

Studies show the following can help with depression:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, like wild salmon, tuna, sardines, and anchovies.
  • Coconut oil and other healthy fats.
  • Folic acid, which you can find in things like spinach and avocado.
  • Proteins, especially ones high in tryptophan like poultry.
  • Certain herbs and natural supplements can also be helpful, like St. John’s Wort and saffron.

Here are some things you should avoid or at least consume in moderation:

  • It’s a stimulant, but it can reduce serotonin levels.
  • It’s a depressant, and it can quickly lead to depression.

Add structure

 A daily routine will give you structure and help you cope with the blues.

When you’re depressed, everything is muted.  It looks and feels like the same sort kind of gray.  Days blur together.  But a routine will ground you and give you a firm foundation to stand on.

keep a regular calendar or put together a schedule.  Find an accountability partner to help you stay on track.  It’s always easier to stay in a rut, but with a little effort, you can get out and get on with your life.

Explore alternatives

There are various alternative treatments many people find effective against depression.  Here are two examples:

  • Acupuncture:  While the final research isn’t in on acupuncture, there’s plenty of evidence that it may alleviate the symptoms of depression (along with a long list of other aches, pains, and ailments).  Who knows, this could be another activity that tricks your brain into forgetting it’s depressed!
  • Meditation:  There is also evidence that meditation can help you focus on the present and shed the fears and worries that are often associated with depression. Proponents say it reduces stress and improves focus.

Take the first step…

 Battling depression can be challenging to manage on your own.  Try these solutions and see how you feel.  If you’d like some assistance in resolving your depression and getting back to feeling like yourself again, I’d like to help.  Please contact me via voicemail or email so that we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Linda K. Laffey, MFT

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