Depression is a serious mood disorder. It can cause severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming.
According to a research, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. It can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
However, depression is treatable and most people see improvements in their symptoms when treated with medication, psychotherapy, or natural depression treatments like lifestyle changes. Lifestyle changes are simple but powerful tools in the treatment of depression. Even if you need other treatment as well, making the right lifestyle changes can help lift depression faster—and prevent it from coming back.
Here are some tips you can do in daily life to fight back depression.
Exercise can help mobilize emotions and prevent depression from coming back. Randomized controlled trials have shown that regular exercise can be as effective at treating depression as medication. Not only does exercise boost serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals, it triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections, just like antidepressants do.
You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Even walking a few times a week can make a difference. Aerobic activities, such as swimming, running, and cycling, are ideal core exercises for treating depression. By the way, doing exercise with friends or families would be a good choice. Working out with them can not only motivate you but also make exercise more fun.
There is no magic diet that fixes depression. But eating habit can influence depression in some way. Processed foods such as processed meats, chocolates, desserts, fried foods, processed grains and high-fat dairy products are recognized as foods that aggravate depressive symptoms while there’s evidence shows that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
Eating well is important for both your physical and mental health. Eating small, well-balanced meals throughout the day will help you keep your energy up and minimize mood swings.
Expose to bright light
Sunlight and darkness trigger the release of hormones in your brain. Exposure to sunlight is thought to increase the brain’s release of a hormone called serotonin. Serotonin is associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused. So actually there is treatment for depression called Bright Light Therapy.
Many studies support that exposure to bright light (10,000 lux) in the early morning, for one to two hours daily over several weeks (10,000 lux) has therapeutic effects in moderately or severely depressed patients.
When you’re depressed, you may feel like you are living in a black hole, feeling lifeless, empty, and couldn’t accomp lish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. Setting goals can help you find back the joy of life.
However, setting proper goals is important. Otherwise, you may make it worse. You need to set up smart goals. Smart goal stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Specific. Especially in the case of depression, you really want to focus on goals that are realistic for you to achieve. Maybe you could set a goal to do the dishes or make your bed today or even just get out of your bed. You should believe in taking baby steps. It is amazing how much you can accomplish if you can manage to take just three baby steps every single day over a long period of time.
Get enough sleep
Sleep has a strong effect on mood. When you don’t get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will be worse. But depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye. What can you do? Well, I also suffer from insomnia from time to time. What I did to help is meditation. Meditation involves focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future. The deep relaxation technique has been shown to increase sleep time, improve sleep quality, and make it easier to fall (and stay) asleep. Besides, Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can also help to get enough sleep.