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5 Natural Cures for Depression

A teenager holding their arms out against a bright yellow wall in the sun. Theyre wearing a rainbow sweater, black tights, and pink sneakers.

When depression is part of your life it can sometimes feel like you’re riding a roller coaster, with no way of knowing when the next drop will occur. This uncertainty is a common concern expressed among people with depression. The loss of interest and ability to manage daily activities that can accompany the condition may seem inevitable, yet there are solutions to help you reduce the impact it has on your life.

Prescriptions and counseling are aimed at helping you balance back to feeling good again, but did you know that there are natural cures for depression that provide many positive benefits as well? Here are 5 of the best remedies to help you take back control over depression, and regain your natural vibrancy and joy.

Reclaiming your Thoughts

This is kind of like doing a Control+Alt+Delete on your negative thought patterns and then replacing them with positive affirmations. These are uplifting thoughts and words that are in alignment with what you’d like to see unfold in your life. When a negative thought starts to surface, try this simple three-step process:

  • Stop the thought. You can even say “stop” or “control, alt, delete” if this helps you put the brakes on it.
  • Think about what you want in your life instead.
  • Repeat that new thought out loud (or in your head if you’re in a public place) a few times.

This works so well because it allows for a moment to pause and redirect ideas about yourself, rather than just believing whatever is in your head. By cutting the negative thought loop off, you have more control over how you feel. Mindfulness meditations that combine positive mental images and thoughts with relaxation techniques are a way to take this a step further. They actually help you rewire the connections in your brain to self-regulate your thoughts more effectively, and assist you in creating more positive ideas about yourself.

Eating More Foods High in Omega-3

You may have already heard of using omega-3 fatty acids for better heart health, and they have now been shown to have amazing qualities for reducing depression as well:

  • Their anti-inflammatory properties reduce your immune system response, which subsequently reduces symptoms of depression and helps you feel more hopeful.
  • They allow for better regulation of chemicals in your brain that is responsible for mood stabilization.

The active ingredients in Omega-3 fatty acids are called EPA and DHA. To accelerate your healing from depression it’s recommended that you take 1,000 to 4,000 mg of EPA and DHA each day. Here are the best ways to get Omega-3’s in your diet:

  • Salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, sardines or white tuna are all great options. Each serving contains 2,000 – 3,000 mg of EPA and DHA.
  • High-concentration fish oil tablets each contain 600 mg of EPA and DHA, and one teaspoon of cod liver contains 1,000 mg.

Surrounding Yourself with Nature

Natures curative powers over depression are coming to light more and more, and it’s one of the best ways to bring pleasure back into your life. While it can be difficult to interact with people while you’re depressed, getting outside among the plants, trees, and sunlight has the ability to uplift your mood and calm your negative thoughts.

Simply putting your bare feet on the ground has been shown to help increase happiness, and even a photo of a beautiful natural scene can lift people’s mood. Nature reduces the chronic stress that can lead to depression and increases the Vitamin D absorbed through sunlight. Taking a stroll through a beautiful park or neighborhood is also a great way to clear your thoughts and refocus on what brings you joy.

Trying St. Johns Wort

This powerful plant has been used for centuries to treat mild to moderate depression. Its great results come from its ability to increase your levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other hormones so that you feel better, with fewer side effects than antidepressants. You can try taking it in tea form or use a 250 to 300 mg supplement two to three times a day. If you make your own tea, you can use 2 to 3 teaspoons of the dried herb and let it brew for about 10 minutes. It takes a little time to build up in your system, so give it about 2 to 4 weeks to start working.

One note about St. John’s Wort is that it does cause interactions with some medications, so you should check with your doctor before taking it.

Staying Positive with Probiotics

The digestive system has been called the “second brain” in recent years because it has great influence over your actual brain. This might be compared to how your neck turns your head in a certain direction – if you have a neck kink you’ll have a hard time seeing clearly in all directions. Probiotics contain bacteria that do an excellent job of keeping the “kinks” out of your gut by reducing digestive inflammation and then positively changing the chemical signals sent to your brain.

These are some well-known foods that are excellent sources of probiotics:

  • Sauerkraut
  • Yogurt
  • Apple-Cider Vinegar
  • Fermented soybeans – these are found in Miso paste (try it in Miso soup!) and Natto

You can also take probiotic supplements. Its recommended to find a brand with 1 billion to 10 billion CFUs. It’s also good to find probiotics that contain several strains to cover the most health benefits possible and help you more effectively reduce the symptoms of depression.

Talking about your depression can help you get a more accurate picture of your strengths, and learn coping skills so you feel less stuck. Contact us today to speak with one of our caring and knowledgeable counselors about ways to step back into enjoying your life to the fullest.