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Ways to Overcome Depression Without Medication

Depression is a feeling of severe dejection and despondency. It's a mood disorder that causes feelings of loss of interest and sadness

It helps to know the facts to overcome depression.

Depression is a feeling of severe dejection and despondency. It’s a mood disorder that causes feelings of loss of interest and sadness.

Depression isn’t a weakness that you can snap out of, it requires long-term treatment. But don’t lose heart. Many people have overcome depression through treatment, psychotherapy, or both.

Symptoms of Depression

It’s termed clinical depression or major depressive disorder if you experience many of the following symptoms every day;

  • Irritable or sad mood.
  • Sleeping problems. Either sleeping too much or too little.
  • Low motivation or change in interests.
  • Trouble doing day-to-day activities.
  • Poor concentration e.g. a sharp decline in grades.
  • Low self-esteem and excessive guilt.
  • Appetite change. Either overeating or starving oneself.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Feeling as if life isn’t worth living.
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts.
  • Unexplained physical issues, like headaches or back pain.

Remember not everyone who is depressed is suicidal. You need to seek help even if your symptoms are not severe as those listed above. 

Natural Ways to Overcome Depression 

There are a variety of ways available, some require new activities, others require lifestyle changes or new thought processes.

You may try several different ways over a long period, to find a way that works for you. What works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another. 

Healthy Eating    

Healthy eating is essential for good health.  All our body’s functions, including hormone production, energy levels, healing processes, and many more, are produced from what we eat.  

For instance, excess salt, sugar, and fat in our diets disrupt our bodies from producing and processing energy. The deficiency of potassium, iron, and other vitamins and minerals causes fatigue. A deficiency in folic acids, vitamin B, folate, iodine, or zinc causes mood swings.   

To treat depression through healthy eating, try some of the following changes in your diet:

  • Replacing starches, like rice, noodles, and bread with leafy or root vegetables.
  • Replacing juice and soda with water or vitamin water.
  • Avoid fried foods.
  • Use vitamin supplements with magnesium, iron, potassium, iodine, omega-3 fatty acids, or any other minerals and vitamins you may be lacking. 
  • Replace foods high in fat, salt, and sugar with fruits and vegetables.
  • Replace red meat with omega-3 rich foods such as salmon, tuna, or halibut.

Get Enough Sleep

Just like healthy eating, getting enough sleep is essential for good mental health.

Sleep rejuvenates your brain’s function more than any other part of the body.  Since depression affects the brain, there is a connection between depression and lack of sleep.

While we sleep, our brain can process feelings, ideas, and emotions. With enough sleep, you can focus throughout the day, be creative, and manage your emotions. Without sleep, many activities begin to fail.

If you are depressed and have problems sleeping, the following practices can help:

  • Sleep at the same time every day.
  • Wake up at the same time daily.
  • Avoid using electronic gadgets at least one hour before bed.
  • Sleep for at least eight hours.
  • Avoid exercising or eating one hour before bed.
  • Block excess light with curtains.
  • Block excess noise with earplugs.
  • If you can’t sleep, try guided meditation sessions or breathing exercises.

Challenging Negative Thoughts

Racing and hectic thoughts are common with depression.

When these thoughts are assumed, what began as a single thought can quickly turn into strings of negative feelings. Understanding the root of these negative thoughts and feelings helps stop them from getting out of control.

Although you can’t control everything happening around you, it’s possible to control your feelings, thoughts, and reactions.

If you have negative thoughts or feelings try asking yourself the following questions:

  • Where are the thoughts coming from?
  • Did something happen around you?
  • What happened?
  • What are the facts that it happened?
  • Is there evidence it happened?

When asking these questions, dismiss all unfounded assumptions and deal with the facts.

For instance, say you trip and fall on the path walk. Your knee hurts and a passerby laughs at you. Some negative thoughts can hit you like – you’re awkward and people are always mean to you, you start regretting why you left the house. To distract these thoughts, face the facts you tripped once and one person laughed, it’s not a big deal.

It’s always important to stop negative feelings and thoughts before they cause harm.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness means tapping into your experience and your senses fully. Including sounds, tastes, breathing, touch, and sensations. This helps fight compulsive behavior, stress anxiety, anger, and even depression.

Mindfulness helps combat depression without judgment and helps healthily direct your focus.

Here are some mindfulness exercises you can apply to treat depression:

  • If you’re feeling stressed, sad or anxious, make a brief check with your body. Focus on heartbeat, breathing, bones, and muscles one by one. This distracts you from distressing feelings.
  • Decompressing for relaxation. Mindful meditation, yoga, walking, and exercising can help distance yourself from depression.

Music, Dance, or Art therapy

Expression through music, dance, or art helps treat depression.

You don’t have to be talented to practice music, dance, or art therapy. You can create your artwork, discuss art, dance routines with others, or just view, or listen to another person’s work. 

 Music, dance, and art therapy have similar benefits, but they work differently.

  • Music therapy – helps you process or express difficult emotions, and redirect your focus. Doesn’t have to be your music you may listen to other people’s. Also, the rhythm of music can help relieve tension.
  • Dance therapy – helps redirect your focus from distracting thoughts. It also improves body image, reduces stress, and improves health through regular exercise.
  • Art therapy- art therapy helps you relax, redirects focus, and helps you express yourself.

Other Ways to Overcome depression  

  • Writing and journaling.
  • Animal therapy.
  • Setting goals.
  • Exercise. 

Ways to Overcome Depression Without medication – The Bottom Line

Depression requires a long period to overcome. Practicing methods such as getting enough sleep, being mindful, and eating healthy can help treat depression without medication. It’s about finding what works for you.

It’s important to note that if you’re under medication don’t just drop your prescription for the above routines. Consult your medical provider first.

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Samuel Njoroge

AUTHOR: Samuel Njoroge

Samuel (he/him) is a freelance writer, blogger, copywriter, and marketer. And a career spanning three years and enjoys crafting error-free content that increases subscriptions and sales. Samuel excels in mental health, self-improvement, technology, and marketing topics.