Whether it’s due to a life-changing event, hormonal imbalances, or even just general mental exhaustion and stress, many people will experience depression at some point in their lives.
Depression can vary in severity, but it can affect practically anyone and can be tough to deal with. What’s more, if you don’t take steps to reduce depression, it can affect your relationships, work, and overall quality of life.
Depression is often treated via a combination of therapy and medication. However, many people find that these treatments either don’t help with their depression or have unwanted side effects. Fortunately, you can use natural methods to tackle your depression and improve your quality of life.
Here are 5 of the most effective natural methods for reducing depression.
1. Set Daily Goals For Yourself
One of the most effective natural strategies for dealing with depression is to start setting daily goals for yourself. When you’re depressed, it can often feel hard to do anything productive, and you might even find that you have difficulty getting out of bed. With that said, the more time you spend doing nothing, the worse your depression will get.
Even achieving a seemingly insignificant daily goal can be the first step to tackling your depression. For instance, you might want to start with easy goals such as getting out of bed each morning and spending an hour cleaning your home each day. These things can force you to get into a daily routine, which can work wonders for reducing symptoms of depression.
As these daily goals become easier, you can start chasing larger goals. You might want to set a new fitness goal for yourself, such as walking for an hour each day, or an academic goal, such as studying for an hour each day. More so, as you slowly stack smaller fitness goals, you can work up to large goals, such as getting out for a walk around the neighborhood, then eventually, going for a run or getting into the gym.
Achieving goals each day will make you feel accomplished and productive, which will reduce your depression and get you into a more optimistic and focused state of mind.
2. Start An Exercise Routine
Another one of the best ways to combat depression is with regular physical activity. Not only does exercise help you feel accomplished, but physical activity helps release endorphins. These natural chemicals help induce a more optimistic mindset, so you might even find that you feel significantly happier after a single workout session.
It can be hard to jump into a vigorous exercise regime when you’re dealing with depression. Luckily, you don’t have to. Even doing something simple like jogging around the block for 10 minutes a day or doing 30 pushups a day can help you get into the right state of mind. As time goes on, you can build on these goals and increase your time exercising.
Another strategy that can help is to start a fitness routine that you genuinely enjoy. For instance, if you find jogging or weight lifting repetitive, you might want to try dancing for 30 minutes a day or join a dance class.
Maybe cycling or hiking through nature will suit you. Maybe playing soccer with your friends at the park for an hour each day will help you feel better. Whichever way, try to get some form of physical activity each day to shake your depressive symptoms.
3. Try Cannabis, CBD, or Natural Supplements
Many people prefer not to use antidepressants to combat their depression, especially as they often come with unwanted side effects and can even cause dependency in some cases. However, certain natural substances are said to have a positive effect on combating depression. For instance, you might want to try cannabis or read more on CBD.
A 2018 study in the Journal of Affective Disorders found that cannabis helped significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression for users, with medical cannabis users experiencing up to a 50% reduction in depression after using cannabis. Moreover, the study found that two puffs were enough to reduce their symptoms.
Cannabis isn’t legal in every state yet, and many people will find it hard to access. However, you can also use CBD as a safe, natural, and legal alternative. CBD won’t get you high, yet it has many of the same benefits as cannabis. Many people now use CBD products such as CBD Oil or Edibles daily to help with their overall well-being.
However, if the idea of a cannabis product doesn’t sit well with you, there are many natural supplements for depression to have been proven to help. While you should always speak with your doctor first, some options that may help reduce depression symptoms are St. John’s Wort, 5Htp, and Magnesium.
4. Explore New Hobbies And Activities
Sometimes depression is caused by monotony in your daily routine. When you do the same things daily, life can become dull and tedious. This can eventually take a serious toll on your mental health, especially if you’re dealing with a stressful job or an exhausting daily routine.
One of the best ways to change your mindset and get a new lease on life is to explore new hobbies and activities. Trying anything new can help put you in a much better state of mind, especially if it’s something that interests you, engages your brain, and takes your mind off of negative thoughts.
Many people dealing with depression will find it hard to get into new physical activities.
Luckily, mental activities can be just as helpful. You might want to try something easy yet engaging, such as reading or playing video games. You might want to take on a challenge, such as learning a new language or learning an instrument. Whichever way, doing something new and exciting can help you out of a mental rut.
5. Spend Time With Your Pets
Spending time with other people is often recommended for those who are dealing with depressive symptoms. However, some people find social activities draining when they’re depressed or anxious, and forcing yourself to spend time with others could even have the opposite effect in some cases.
However, one of the best ways to combat depression is to spend time with your pets. Many people feel happier around dogs, cats, and other animals. In a survey by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 87% of pet owners reported that having a pet helped improve their mental health.
Even if you don’t have pets, spending time with therapy animals can help. A 2019 study in the Animals journal found spending time interacting with house-trained dogs helped improve the mood and mental well-being of students. You could also visit a shelter or even visit a friend who has pets.
Depression can be hard to manage, and alternatives exist, as I’ve pointed out here. These natural strategies can help you fight against symptoms of depression and reduce your symptoms to make your life more manageable. Another option, and my go-to, is prayer and meditation. However, that is more of a personal journey, and I highly encourage you to explore that side of mental well-being.
Of course, it’s also good to keep in touch with a medical professional to advise you on your symptoms and how to deal with them. If your depression is going beyond feeling sluggish and causing you to have many negative thoughts, please seek the help of a licensed therapist.