Depression is a mental illness that affects many millions of people around the world. One of the most challenging dilemmas those learning how to overcome depression face is confronting the taboo that surrounds mental health.
Slowly but surely, the stigmas around mental health are being dismantled. 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, also called major depressive disorder, is a mental illness that commonly 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.
Types of Depression
There are several different forms that depression can take, and all are characterized by slightly different sets of symptoms and applicable treatments. Before we delve into how to overcome depression, first, let’s 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 commonly cited as being brought on by the short days and decreased sunlight of winter months. This disorder can effectively be treated with light therapy in combination with 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, 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 instigate a depressive episode.
So, how do we fight back against the challenging physical and emotional symptoms that depression presents? 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. The mind-body connection indicates that many times, when we’re sad, stressed, or overwhelmed, our bodies will suffer physical symptoms to reflect that.
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 are antidepressants. Antidepressants are something that 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. 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. Yet again, always consult with your doctor before exploring your treatment options.
There are several key strategies and methods for dealing with depression naturally. These strategies have been clinically tested for efficacy, and often return impressive results.
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! Eating the right foods at the right time can do wonders to boost your mood and elevate your spirits.
These good-mood foods have been proven to help regulate the neurochemical imbalance that often accompanies depression. 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 dairy, 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 means a healthier, happier brain.
3. Drink Green Tea
Many depression sufferers lack adequate production of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin is known to regulate anxiety and depression, and a lack of this important chemical can result in chronic mood disorders.
Green tea is chock full of the amino acid L-Theanine, which has been shown to boost dopamine and serotonin in the brain.
If you want a quick mood-booster, try a cup of green tea!
4. Break Away From Your Routine
One of the situational contributors to depression is being stuck in the rut of routine. It can be challenging to step away from our day-to-day obligations and circumstances, but sometimes that’s precisely what’s needed to change our state of mind.
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 may feel intimidating to step away from what you’re accustomed to, but trust that while yes, your routine may feel safe and predictable, it’s also not challenging you with new and exciting experiences.
Incredible things can be found when we’re willing to leave our comfort zones.
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 are guided meditations.
Many meditations exist that address anxiety and depressive disorders. 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. However, 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 way out of depression is a journey that can only be taken a single step at at time. Rest assured, this journey is well worth the effort.
Know someone with depression? Share this with those you believe could benefit from learning these strategies for how to overcome depression.
On a final note, here is brilliant video by Vishen Lakhiani on how to use the immense power of visualization to heal your mental and emotional body: