Depression is a mental illness that affects many millions of people around the world. And one of the most challenging dilemmas in learning how to overcome depression is confronting the taboo that surrounds mental health.
Slowly but surely, the stigmas around mental health are being dismantled. And the more we openly discuss these topics, the easier it will become for those in need to get the help they deserve.
First, we’ll explore what depression is, and what forms it can take. Then, we’ll discuss how to overcome depression naturally and efficiently with 5 effective strategies.
What Is Depression?
Depression, or major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that exhibits the following symptoms:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased energy
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, pessimism, hopelessness
- Too much or too little sleep
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Digestive upset
- Thoughts of suicide
When discussing what depression is, it’s important to clarify what depression is not.
Depression is not simply a feeling of sadness or loneliness. While depression may include such feelings or sensations, this mental illness incorporates a complex and chronic collection of symptoms, both physical and emotional in nature.
4 Different Types of Depression
Depression can take many forms. So, before we delve into how to overcome depression, let’s first aim to understand some of the different types of depression that exist.
1. Major depressive disorder
Also called clinical depression, major depressive disorder is one of the most common forms of depression, and includes many of the symptoms listed above. Your doctor will assess the severity of your symptoms in combination with the length of time symptoms have persisted to evaluate your mental health.
2. Persistent depressive disorder
Also called dysthymia, this disorder is characterized by many of the symptoms that accompany major depressive disorder, but symptoms are often less severe and are chronic in nature (lasting two or more years).
3. Seasonal affective disorder
This disorder is brought on by the short days and decreased sunlight of the winter months. It’s treated using light therapy, exercise, and meditation.
4. Peripartum depression
Also called postpartum depression, this disorder affects some women who have recently given birth. Due to a dramatic drop in natural bodily hormones, women may experience feelings of sluggishness and depression, and have difficulty emotionally connecting with their infant post-delivery.
How to Fight Depression
Depression can be brought on by a number of factors, both situational and genetic. Some people are naturally predisposed to depression, while others experience traumas that bring on a depressive episode.
So, how do we fight back against the challenging physical and emotional symptoms that depression presents? Well, learning how to overcome depression isn’t an easy feat, but there are strategies you can use when dealing with depression to help you begin feeling better.
Using medication for dealing with depression
You should never attempt any treatment for health concerns before consulting with your doctor. And this holds especially true for mental disorders such as depression.
Our mental health is just as integral to our well-being and success as our physical health. In fact, the mind-body connection indicates that when we’re sad, stressed, or overwhelmed, our bodies will suffer physical symptoms.
When exploring how to overcome depression, there are several methods that can be used to effectively treat this disorder.
The first method is medication. The most commonly prescribed medication for depressive disorders is antidepressants. Antidepressants can be prescribed by your doctor, but your doctor will need to assess the state of your mental health first.
Medication can be a powerful and constructive tool in helping people navigate the difficult and overwhelming waters of depression. In fact, it can be used as the stepping stone that helps those in need get to a healthier and happier emotional place that enables them to pursue other avenues of assistance.
How to Overcome Depression Naturally
Can depression be dealt with naturally? Absolutely. But always consult with your doctor before exploring your treatment options.
There are several key strategies and methods for dealing with depression naturally. Here are a few ways to overcome depression all on your own:
1. Physical exercise
One of the most tried and tested methods of dealing with depression, physical exercise has a wealth of physical and emotional benefits:
- Helps prevent heart disease and stroke
- Lowers blood pressure
- Reduces body fat
- Strengthens the cardiovascular system
- Reduces inflammation
- Increases circulation
- Boosts energy
- Regulates circadian rhythms
- Reduces depression
- Reduces anxiety
2. Eat mood-boosting foods
Can consuming certain foods help fight back symptoms of depression? Yes! As a matter of fact, eating the right foods at the right time can do wonders to boost your mood and elevate your spirits.
These good-mood foods help regulate the neurochemical imbalance that often accompanies depression. So, if you want to know how to overcome depression with food, here are a few depression-busting snacks to include in your diet:
- Lean proteins, like turkey and chicken
- Fatty fish, like salmon, tuna, and mackerel
- Low-fat dairies, like skim milk and low-fat cheeses and yogurts
- Dark chocolate
The real secret behind most of these depression-fighting foods? The boost of omega-3s they provide for your body and brain. More omega-3s mean a healthier, happier brain.
3. Drink green tea
Many depression sufferers lack adequate production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate anxiety and depression. Lacking this important chemical can result in chronic mood disorders.
Green tea is chock full of the amino acid L-Theanine, which boosts dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
So, if you want a quick mood-booster, try a cup of green tea!
4. Break away from your routine
Being stuck in a rut can deeply contribute to depression. And while it’s challenging to step away from our day-to-day obligations, sometimes that’s just what we need to change our state of mind.
So, why not try taking a different route to work? Visit a restaurant for lunch you’ve never been to. Sample a new cuisine. Book a personal day and take a mini-road trip.
It’s intimidating to step away from your routine. But while your routine may feel safe and predictable, it’s also not challenging you with new and exciting experiences.
We can find incredible things when we’re willing to leave our comfort zone.
5. Try a guided meditation
If you’d like to learn how to overcome depression and battle back the blues, one of the most powerful resources available is guided meditations.
Many meditations exist that address anxiety and depressive disorders. And if you’re looking for somewhere to start, why not try this guided meditation for depression?
It won’t take up too much of your time and may provide the relief you need to help you get through the day.
How to Fight Depression on Your Own
Learning how to overcome depression on your own is a challenge. Depression can leave us feeling hopeless, inadequate, exhausted, and overcome. But the path to better health and happiness may be closer than you think.
Never give up on yourself. Remember that you have the power and strength to navigate even the most turbulent of storms.
Stay present in each moment. Listen to your heart and body. Attune to the challenges that are individual to your present circumstances.
The journey out of depression must be taken a single step at a time. Rest assured, this journey is well worth the effort.