Sometimes, making small changes can lead to bigger differences. Here, I am talking about positive lifestyle changes. Healthy and positive lifestyle changes can help you achieve your depression treatment goals. Nowadays taking antidepressants to overcome depression has become as normal as taking aspirin for a headache, you find it hard living a healthy life than just taking antidepressants.
While proper medication and therapy can be effective in treating depressive disorders and overcome depression, making little changes in your lifestyle to ensure a healthy body and mind can be really helpful to cope with the challenges and symptoms of depression.
Depression can be genetic but considering the fact that depression symptoms can often be triggered by your personal choices as well as outside incidents and events, the more control you take over you and your lifestyle, activities, feelings, behaviors and thoughts, the better chances you have to overcome depression.
What you do, what you eat, how much alcohol and caffeine you drink, the drugs you take, how much and how good or bad sleep you get, the amount of bright light you get daily and the people you interact with, can all affect your mental health in a way. There is always at least one step you can make in order to feel better and overcome depression. Some changes you need to make are:
1.Maintain Your Diet:
This is most important thing and it’s not for just mental health.
Researches show that diet plays a vital role in our mental health. Fruits and vegetables are associated with better mental well-being.
Eating small, well-balanced meals six times a day will help you keep up the constant supply of energy and nutrients and lower mood swings. You can take foods with complex carbs and a bit of sugary foods for calories. To add more, Complex carbs are better choice.
Research shows that people with anxiety and depression tend to have more inflammation in their body. Some foods seem to worsen inflammation, which is main reason for joint pain, while others can help you keep it under control.
To keep inflammation under control drink at least 3 litres of water each day and build your diet plan around fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocados, apples and other healthy fats can control inflammation and boost your mood.
Your Anti Depressant diet should include:
Omega-3s and omega-6s are two types of healthy fatty acids. These can be found in:
- Fish like tuna, cod, salmon
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil
Neurotransmitters, the messengers in the brain, are made of amino acids. Some amino acid rich foods that you should include in your diet are:
- Dairy products like milk and curd.
- Certain fruits and vegetables like pumpkin, leafy greens, sunflower seeds and sunflower butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds, soybeans, sesame seeds, almonds, avocados, figs, raisins, quinoa, and wheat.
Carbohydrates help your body absorb amino acids more effectively, which helps you synthesize proteins. Your brain runs on glucose, which is also derived from carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates can be found in:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables like spinach and broccoli
- Fruits, such as oranges and pears
2. Make Exercise Part Of Your Life:
Physical activity has been shown to have significant benefits for those dealing with mental health issues.
A Southern Methodist University research shows that exercise is very important for people dealing with depression and anxiety and advised doctors to prescribe exercise to the patients. Exercise has also been proven to improve the mental and physical health of those with schizophrenia.
Researches also show that exercise can work just as well as antidepressants, the effects last longer, less side effects than anti-depressant, it costs less or nothing and is good for overall health not just mental health. Exercise increases your body’s production of natural antidepressants. Even a little outdoor activity like taking a walk or moving your arms and shoulders can prove to be very effective.
If you can take a walk among the beauty of nature, these benefits will increase exponentially. Fresh natural air, sunshine and beautiful landscapes will boost your mood. If you are dealing with bipolar disorder, exercise might trigger mania. Take advice from your doctor in this case.
You might have noticed that when people are in depression they try to take rest, which is good, but you should not quit moving your body and sit on the couch all day long. Exercise is essential for keeping nutrient-rich blood flowing to your head and body.
Regular exercise can:
- Provide you a good sleep
- Reduce stress
- Boost your mood
- Improve self-esteem
- Boost blood flow in your brain and body
- Thus overcome depression
3. Get Enough Sleep To Overcome Depression:
You are not sleeping properly means your mind is not getting proper rest to work properly.
Disrupted sleep can trigger anxiety and depression. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Try to get a proper sleep for at least 7 hours a night.
Sleep has a strong effect on mood. If you don’t get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will get worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates, stress, irritability, moodiness, sadness, weakness and fatigue.
For this, you need to get your shit together, that means going to bed and getting up at a consistent time, getting enough exercise, avoiding heavy dinners and limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol , practicing yoga, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques.
Experts have discovered a link between sleep, chronic pain, and depression. In a 2014 research published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, Swedish researchers studied more than 1,200 people and found strong link between insomnia and depression.
4. Social Support To Overcome Depression:
Social interactions reduce isolation and feeling of loneliness – key risk factors of depression. Keep in touch with your friends and family.
In this era of social media, people use Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram to get in touch with people. Well, I am not talking about that. Talking on the phone is better option than chatting on social media. Live interaction with people is different thing and chatting over the internet is different.
Talking, laughing and sharing with your people is excellent for your mind. Live and face to face interaction with people will help you get engaged, keep your mind occupied and keep away from isolation to overcome depression. Depression and anxiety send signals to the brain to isolate but in fact, what is actually needed is more human contact. This helps chemically boost our mood.
5. Meditate To Overcome Depression:
Meditation can be very helpful for depression, whether the depression is caused by life events or by hormonal imbalance.
Practice meditation every morning if you can. It helps you touch the true existence of life. It makes you see the world as it is and feel the blissfulness of everything around you.
After practicing meditation seriously for a time you will feel the positivity and pleasure within yourself. You won’t have time for negative things like judgement, jealousy, greed and anger. This is what my experience says.
Mindfulness meditation, in particular, has become more popular in recent years. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future.
6. Be Engaged In The Current Activity:
One of the main symptoms of depression is rumination; a habit of negative thinking and it happens when we sit empty and do nothing. You can avoid this by getting involved and engaging in activity so other thoughts can occupy your mind and replace this nothingness. Clean your room, talk on the phone, get a hobby – learn to play a piano, a guitar, talk to neighbors, help them out, play a video game, take part in sports, mop the floor. I mean, avoid being alone all the time and sitting empty. Get up, get moving and get involved in something. Your mind might be saying be alone and shut the world out, but your mind is craving for human contact and interaction.
7. Less Alcohol:
Always keep in mind that alcohol may temporarily relieve some of your depression at the time of drinking, but it eventually serves to worsen depression on a long-term basis.
According to a post published in WebMD, nearly one-third of people having severe depression abuse alcohol. If you drink heavily and regularly, you’re likely to develop some symptoms of depression. Heavy drinking is known to lower the levels of serotonin in your brain, a chemical that helps boost your mood.
Your brain needs proper care and nurturing and of course nutrients. Take good care of it by eating healthy, exercising and thinking positive. Its health gets affected by your awful lifestyle, staring at your phone all the time, poor sleep and eating habits. Get outside and take a break from your virtual world. Yes you can overcome depression. Live the reality. Face the reality.