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Powerful Techniques for Fighting Depression
Depression is a condition unlike any other. Many adults experience brief periods of depression throughout their lives; others endure symptoms for years or decades.
Prescription antidepressants are typically used to assist patients in managing their depression. Though these drugs are a life-saving resource for many, lifestyle changes are also a particularly valuable tool for combating many of the symptoms that accompany the condition.
Whether you’re battling clinical depression or fighting off the winter blues, these tips will hopefully bring you some much-needed relief.
1.) Spend time with your friends!
Meaningful social contact makes people feel happy and supported. A study that paired depressed women with “volunteer friends” revealed that over 65% of participants experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms. Some research even suggests that social contact may be as effective as both psychotherapy and antidepressants! Consider starting a weekly activity with your friends, such as a book club or Sunday brunch. Catching up with great friends is sure to bring a smile to your face.
2.) Eat and drink to your advantage!
You don’t need to pack your diet with “superfoods” to combat the symptoms of depression! Eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with fresh fruits, seasonal vegetables, and nutrient-rich proteins is a highly effective way to boost your mood. Foods rich in tryptophan such as turkey, cheese, beans, fish, eggs, and nuts produce mood-boosting serotonin in the body. Delicious cherries, kiwi, pineapple, and tomatoes all contain high level of serotonin as well. Adding these foods to your daily diet may give you a slight mood boost while delighting your palate/SP?/.
Moderate caffeine intake has also been proven to reduce the risk of depression by 50% or more. You can now justify your daily cup of coffee as a crucial depression-fighting tonic!
3.) Try talk therapy!
In the past, therapy was often stigmatized as something reserved for those with especially serious issues. Today, therapy is an integral part of many individuals’ lives. In addition to general talk therapy, depressed patients can seek out advice from professionals specializing in subjects ranging from conflict resolution to grief counseling.
Many studies show that therapy is a highly effective tool for combating depression, particularly when paired with medication and lifestyle changes. As past traumas are resolved, patients experience healing and relief from their most burdensome symptoms. New tools and techniques learned in therapy can help patients cope better in future situations, too. Though few people are excited about starting therapy, it remains one of the most powerful techniques for fighting off depression’s dark demons.
4.) Play with animal pals!
Are you unable to spend time with your friends on a regular basis? If so, spending a few minutes with a pet may be a valuable depression-fighting alternative. Cuddling with a cat or playing with a dog can boost the levels of oxytocin and serotonin in the bloodstream. If you don’t have a pet of your own, consider volunteering at an animal shelter or walking your neighbor’s dog.
5.) Work to rewire your brain!
Without realizing it, many of our daily habits and thoughts have worked to perpetuate our depression. Negative self-talk, for instance, strengthens neural pathways related to these thoughts. If you’re frequently hard on yourself, consider practicing positive affirmations such as those developed by motivational speaker Louise Hay. Believe it or not, reinforcing positive thoughts about yourself can drastically change the way you feel!
Meditation is another excellent way to rewire your brain. Some studies actually suggest that regular meditation is just as effective as standard antidepressant medications! The practice has been shown to reduce anxiety and mind-wandering as well, leading to a more relaxed, focused state of mind.
Whether you meditate, practice affirmations, or try something else entirely, working to re-train you brain is perhaps the most enduring way to battle depression of all varieties.
6.) Try other things!
Unfortunately there is no “magic pill” that cures depression for everyone. Different practices, medications, and therapies work for different people. If you’re still struggling, consider working the following practices into your weekly routine as well.
* Regular exercise
* Maintaining a gratitude journal
* Boosting your omega-3 intake through fish, bean, and flaxseed consumption
* Regular massage
* Walking daily and increasing your sunlight exposure
* Joining a group or club
* Picking up a new hobby or beginning again with an old one.
* … and much more!
Whether you treat your depression with medication or not, there are many additional tools and techniques available to help you battle this challenging mental illness. If your mood remains low, be sure to consult your doctor for a complete check-up. Another heath condition may be at the root of your depression.
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