One things I’ve never done is a list for my blog post. So here goes: Ever wonder what you can do to get out of a blue mood? Or to help cope with major depression? Well, there are some tried and true ways to help overcome depression without medications.
It’s Not Just You!
A lot of people suffer from depression...I mean alot! In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) said recently that it is the #1 cause of disability worldwide. So if you sometimes suffer from it...or alot of the time suffer from it, you’ve got alot of company. But that doesn’t mean it’s a life sentence. You can help get yourself out of it.
Here’s the Eight Great Steps to Reversing Depression:
Exercise: outdoors if at all possible. Walk, swim, run, crawl, whatever you can do in this regard will help. Studies indicate that anything up to 30 minutes a day is optimal for mood.
Talk to others: face to face is best, but over the phone is okay if that’s the best you can do. Nobody’s depression got better when they isolated.
‘Kill the ANT’s’: I stole this from Dr. Daniel Amen. He’s a brain scientist and psychiatrist and helped impress on me how important combating negative thoughts is. ANT’s are short for Automatic Negative Thoughts. There are alot of ways of ‘killing the ant’s,’ but the essential thing is to find a way that works for you. Some folks literally talk back to negative thoughts after using some kind of thought-stopping technique; others use mindfulness techniques to just ‘let them pass’ like the clouds through the sky.
Start taking fish oil supplements. EPA/DHA is best. It helps with brain chemistry. The main nutrient is Omega 3 Fatty Acids that makes it helpful.
Use aromatherapy. Lemon oil is best for depression. You can put lemon in your drink, clean with a lemony smelling solvent, whatever you like! This is another idea from Dr. Amen from his book The Amen Solution.
Decrease your use of alcohol, cannabis, and other intoxicants. Many of these are depressants, and will only worsen your depression over the long-haul. Others mess up your serotonin or dopamine levels and the rebound can be a b*%$#!
Eat a healthier diet with less processed sugar and more fresh fruit and veggies!
Get on a regular sleep schedule. This is essential to make sure you get enough sleep each night. Most Americans are sleep-deprived and with our 24/7 schedules and electronic devices that perpetuate this make it absolutely important to set some limits on use of electronic devices (see my previous blog post) that allow our brains and nervous systems to get the rest they need each day.
This Does Work!
So that’s it. If you do all these things, you will start to feel better. That’s not to say that some folks don’t still need to take medication. They very well may, but if you take the above measures you’re certainly doing all you can to manage your depression. I’ve worked with over 100 individuals who've done some or all of these and they’ve definitely gotten better. Some with meds and some without. If reading this list seems daunting, please don’t feel that way. The idea is not to try and do all this at once, it’s more to try one or two things at a time and work from there. Even incremental change can be helpful and lead to a successful outcome! Rome wasn’t conquered in a day, and your depression probably won’t go away overnight. Even the best anti-depressant medications can take a month or more to be effective.
I encourage you to give me a call to find out if I can help you too. If you or a loved one is suffering from some form of depression, I encourage you to call me at 512-374-0100, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a free 15-minute phone consult about how I can help you to get grief behind you as well!
About the author: Scott Kampschaefer, LCSW is a private practice therapist in Austin, Texas. He has an extensive background in working with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder at a clinic for older adults with these disorders in Austin. He now works with adults of all ages in private practice.
As an added bonus, if you sign up for my mailing list I will email you a link to a free guided imagery exercise that can also help in combating depression.
Click here to learn more about how Scott can help you with depression.