7 Steps to Overcome Depression Naturally
Learning how depression works is the key to overcoming it and I would also personally recommend gentle hypnotic relaxation as a powerful addition and for faster results.
Depression sucks the energy right out of you making it difficult to function. Although it may not appear easy, it is possible to overcome depression and rid yourself of it completely through mastering a set of self-help tools.
My own life was plagued with bouts of debilitating depression for twelve years. It need not take that long however to come out of it because there is greater understanding of the psychology of depression these days and effective strategies for dealing with it.
It was because of this experience that I turned to hypnosis and later qualified as a hypnotherapist so that I could help others with this and other emotional issues. I have had no depressive episodes for the past 10 years.
In this article I will provide you with 7 steps that will help you start the process towards feeling better.
Treating depression naturally and without medication
There is much you can do to overcome depression naturally and improve your situation.
Whether you are a sufferer or whether you are a spouse, friend, relative or carer you will find that understanding depression, the physiological and psychological impact, will go a long way to treating it.
#1. Calming an overactive mind
Depression is actually a sign that your brain is working too hard, which causes stress hormones to elevate preventing proper rest and relaxation. This is why a depressed person will feel exhausted most of the time. To counteract this you need to relax and give your mind a break.
It may seem odd to suggest relaxation when you are feeling so lethargic and exhausted yet hypnosis offers an effective tool that relaxes an overly stressed mind.
#2. EXERCISE AND REGULAR PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Although you feel exhausted when depressed, exercise is a useful ally. Studies have proven that the effects of depression can be successfully reduced by regular physical activity.
Mood elevating endorphins are released when you maintain a healthy level of physical activity and it increases serotonin production, often lacking in depressed people. Therefore, if you incorporate exercise into your life as a daily activity you are sure to notice a drastic and positive change in your overall mood. Even walking, preferably briskly, for 20 minutes will be beneficial.
#3. DEPRESSION AND THE FOOD CONNECTION
If you're troubled by depression take a look at your dietary intake as this will greatly impact your well being. Do your best to stay away from sugar. Even the "healthy" natural sugars found in fruit or honey need to be eaten moderately.
These sugars are incorporated into the bloodstream at a quicker rate than carbohydrates from foods such as whole grains. Sugar will give you a 'lift' of energy for a little while but then the sugar falls away quickly leaving you feeling more tired. What's more you will then crave more sugar thus repeating the sugar high, sugar crash cycle.
#4. THE POWER OF SUNLIGHT
It is important to venture outside and soak up some sun each day. Even if the sun isn't shining brightly, the daylight will be just as beneficial. Experts agree that sunlight can be a constructive component to treating depression.
Be aware it may take time to notice improvements and after a week or two of daily short walks, or longer ones if you can manage it, will add up over time and you will begin to look forward to get your daily dose of fresh air and sunlight.
#5. REMOVE OVERWHELM FROM YOUR LIFE
Overwhelm is a common trait of depression where the mind is hyperactive and trying to work everything out all at once.
It's important therefore to divide daily tasks into manageable ones and only do what is absolutely necessary.
Making small changes to your life one step at a time is the answer. Avoid expecting that you 'should' be able to do more or be more to yourself or anyone else.
Whenever you hear yourself (or someone else) say "I should..." change the "I should" to "I could" - it gives you a sense of choice and flexibility instead of pressure.
In other words, give yourself a break and do not be so hard on yourself!
#6. GETTING YOUR NEEDS MET
Everyone has certain 'primal' needs in life that when met allow you to feel content and emotionally satisfied. Our most basic needs are for shelter, food and water (feeling safe and secure) yet there other needs of importance too. Have a read through this list to see if you feel an imbalance anywhere in your life right now.
- The need to feel safe and secure
- The need for balance of health of mind and body
- The need to feel in control
- The need for intimacy
- The need to give and receive attention
- The need for a sense of community and contribution
- The need for challenge and creativity
- The need for purpose and goals
The good news is that even if you do feel lacking in some areas of your life, they can be addressed. Most people do this unconsciously and in some instances one particular need may be sought when in fact it is another that is needed! For example we may be seeking to learn something new when what we really need is companionship.
#7. CHANGE HABITS THAT NEGATIVELY IMPACT YOUR LIFE
First and foremost, be easy on yourself. One of the most challenging aspects can be your thinking, which lies at the root of depression. Habitual thinking styles are often picked up from people we have shared our life with. (There's no point blaming them for that by the way!) Society too seems to home in on what's wrong instead of what is right in this world, have you noticed that?
Instead of continuing with negative behaviours do your best to change them into more positive ones. For example, if a situation upsets you realise that self-blame and succumbing to negative thinking is not the answer. There are many ways to view a situation and quite often we make an assumption about a situation from a flawed perspective!
A trait of a depressed person is to engage in all-or-nothing thinking. You can notice this by hearing whether you or they use words such as, "Always" or "Never", when in fact there is a middle ground for most situations.
If you live with someone who is depressed and you notice this all-or-nothing thinking, gently encourage them to see other perspectives.
What to do next
If you need help with depression my advice would be to seek expert help, initially from your own GP or health provider.
When I was seeking information about Depression and how I could help my clients I came across the Hypnosis Recovery Program and later qualified in helping anyone overcome depression based on this program.
It can seem a confusing time not only for the sufferer but for friends and those people helping their loved ones with depression. If you are concerned about your friend or family member, letting them you know that you are there for them and showing that you care goes a very long way even if you don't know how to help. Just let them know they are not alone.
Some people manage to hide their depression and suffer in silence but I encourage you to seek support. There is so much more understanding of depression nowadays and most workplaces are encouraged to help their employees with mental health issues.
It is possible with the right treatment to overcome depression naturally as I did. This doesn't mean however that you shouldn't try medication if that is what is right for you. Your doctor will advise you.
You may have some questions about your specific situation. To schedule a free 30 minute Skype or telephone call with me, simply complete the form below. This is not a coaching or therapy session but an exploration of what you are currently experiencing and how I might help you. At the end of our discussion I may offer a course of sessions if I think it is appropriate or I may suggest another option.
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