Major Depression is a common affliction suffered by many in the United States, affecting 1 in 5 individuals. Antidepressants are a standard treatment, but avoided by some due to their potential side effects. Luckily, there are some natural treatments available that can effectively lower symptoms:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Talk therapy is widely considered to be a critical component of treating depression, and most studies show it can even be more effective than medication. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is considered the “gold standard”, which has achieved notable results by helping patients directly address their negative thought patterns.
- Exercise. When you’re depressed it can be hard to exercise, but it’s been medically proven to be a huge help. You don’t necessarily need to run a marathon: a twenty minute walk around the block has been shown to provide immense benefits. Of course if you want to put on some running shoes or lift weights at the gym, the endorphins will really get going!
- Mindfulness Meditation. Mindfulness practice has become all the rage in psychology recently, with fMRI brain scan tests showing how it can alter the brain for the better. In particular, meditation cuts off the “rumination” part of the brain that fuels depressive thoughts. One UK study showed that an eight week mindfulness program is more effective at preventing depressive relapse than a medication regimen.
- Sleep. Depression can wreck havoc on your sleeping patterns, so this can be a struggle. Make a commitment to get to bed and wake up at the same time every day, avoid screens and hour before bed, and you’ll feel more energized and refreshed.
- Omega 3s. Omega 3 fats have been shown to help depressive symptoms. If you don’t eat fish, you can find fish oil supplements at most drug stores.