Depression is one of the greatest health concerns affecting 350 million people globally. Many people take perscription medication from their doctor to treat their depression but find that there are some unfortunate side effects such as weight gain, insomnia, nausea, and loss of sex drive. But did you know that there are natural remedies for depression?
Today I will be telling you about different habitual changes you can make to naturally improve your mood, as well as natural supplements you can use to naturally boost those feel good chemicals in your brain. Let’s dive right in!
Get a Routine
Having a routine is important because it is a foolproof way to keep busy and not get stuck in your thoughts. Your routine can even be simple tasks like getting out of bed, making breakfast, brushing your teeth, or calling a friend.
When you have a routine, you tend to eat better food, get better sleep, and lower stress levels. To make it fun, get one of these cute planners to write down your routine and check off things as you go.
Studies have shown that going outside can do wonders in helping anxiety, stress, and depression. Nature is proven to boost dopamine and endorphin levels, which are the hormones that cause happiness.
In addition, when you spend time in the sun, your body becomes more aware of it’s internal clock, resulting in better quality sleep at night and an increase in alertness during the day.
Meditation has been proven to be one of the best natural remedies for depression. Meditation gives you a chance to explore the subconscious part of your brain, exposing past traumas and other fears you may not have been consciously aware of.
Once you discover what the root of the issues are, you’ll finally be able to heal.
Take On Responsibility
This may not seem like it would help, but taking responsibility for something or someone can be one of the more fun natural remedies for depression. Start small and get a house plant and take on the responsibility of watering it everyday.
If you want to go bigger than a houseplant, consider the option of adopting an animal. There are thousands of animals sitting depressed in kennels all across America. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you and an animal can fix each other?
I know a lot of past military members who came back with major PTSD. Many of them ended up adopting a dog who became their savior. Getting a dog can give you a routine, along with a reason to get out of the house and exercise.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
When your darkest times hit, one of the scarier natural remedies for depression is to challenge your negative thoughts.
For example, if you think you’re not a smart person, why do you think that? Did you come up with this conclusion on your own, or have other people told you you’re not smart? Maybe your parents never made you feel intelligent when you were growing up.
By challenging your negative thoughts, you can find the root of the problem and fix it.
Setting both short and long term goals can be great natural remedies for depression. When you set goals, you have something to work towards and look forward to.
Start small by setting a few short term goals for yourself and completing them. These can be things like taking a walk outside everyday or getting out of bed every morning, no matter how difficult it is.
Once you build confidence with your short term goals, make a few long term goals you’d want to accomplish a year or two from now.
Once you figure out your goal, write down each step you need to take in order to achieve that goal. Those steps will become your new short term goals.
By working on your goals a little bit each day, you can start to alter your life to the way you want it to be. That’s something to be optimistic about!
Working out is one of the more well known natural remedies for depression out there. Studies have shown that regular aerobic exercise is just as effective as antidepressants and is extremely beneficial for people with anxiety, ADHD, depression, and more.
It is a natural stress reducer, and releases endorphins to make you feel happier. Exercise also improves memory, strength, and your overall well being.
If you take anything from this list, changing your diet is the first thing you should change when looking for natural remedies for depression.
Start by cutting out any processed foods with harmful chemicals from your diet. At the same time, start to cut out the added sugars and caffeine in your diet to cut the energy crashes throughout your day. Start eating more healthy fats and proteins like fish, nuts, and veggies.
In addition, drink more water! Water is to humans as oil is to cars. We don’t run as well as we could without it. Drinking water helps flush out the toxins that sugar and processed foods create.
Sleep is important because the hours you sleep are the hours your body recovers from the day. Try to sleep at least 7 uninterrupted hours without any technology.
If possible, try to sleep during the nighttime hours, as it’s better for your body’s internal clock. If you work at night, make sure your room is completely dark in order to get quality sleep.
When I worked the night shift, I used to come home at 5AM, right when the sun was coming up. The only thing that saved me were these blackout curtains that made my room pitch black.
I love aromatherapy and it’s my personal favorite of the natural remedies for depression.
Aromatherapy in a nutshell is the use of organic essential oils to improve your mood, mental state, and health. These essential oils are made from the roots, seeds, leaves, and flowers from different kinds of plants.
These oils can be massaged into the skin or inhaled. For depression, popular aromatherapies include lavender, wild ginger, and bergamot.
This study measured the responses of 17 cancer hospice patients to humidified essential lavender oil aromatherapy. Results were a positive change in blood pressure and pulse, pain, anxiety, depression, and sense of well-being.
If you want to do aromatherapy at home, you can get this Aromatherapy Diffuser & Essential Oil Set from Amazon. It’s much cheaper buying the oils and diffuser together, and the oils in the bundle are a great quality. The oils lasted me over a year, and I use it multiple times a week.
St. John’s Wart
The first of the herbal natural remedies for depression is St. John’s Wart.
This yellow star shaped flower is native to Europe and Asia and is usually harvested around St. John’s Day in late June. (Hence the name) The flower and buds can be dried out and made into capsules or they can be pressed into oils and extracts.
Research shows that active ingredients hypericin, hyperforin, and ahyperforin are responsible for its antidepressant benefits. These ingredients increase the serotonin, dopamine and noradrenaline in the brain, naturally boosting your mood without the usual antidepressant side effects like loss of sex drive.
I recommend Gia’s Vegan St. John’s Capsules. It has fantastic reviews, and is good for anyone who has extreme food sensitivities like shellfish or yeast.
This autumn flowering crocus is believed to be just as potent as your pharmaceutical depression medication. Research has shown that taking a Saffron extract or capsule for 6-12 weeks improved major symptoms of depression.
The compounds safranal and crocin in the crocus plant exert anti-depressant effects by keeping balanced levels of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain.
My personal recommendation for this product is Life Extension Optimized Saffron with Satiereal. It’s a two month supply, and I definitely saw an overall improvement in my mood and energy after taking them.
This plant has proven to have some remarkable benefits on the brain. Ginseng is an effective natural memory enhancer, and can help protect the brain from various neurodegenerative diseases.
In fact, ginseng is a popular treatment for various psychiatric disorders. It also effectively suppresses stress, which is a major cause of depression.
Ginseng also belongs to a group of supplements known as adaptogens. These are herbal remedies that make you more resilient to mental, physical, and environmental stress.
If you’re looking for ginseng capsules, I recommend these.
Do you like chamomile tea? Well, you’re in luck. Studies have shown that chamomile is effective in aiding with relaxation, anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
It was actually confirmed in 2009 by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine that chamomile is an effective anti-anxiety and antidepressant medicine.
They also recommend that chamomile should be taken along with other natural depression fighting herbs like Saffron or St. John’s Wort for 3 months to a year to start feeling moderate effects.
Aromatherapy with Lavender oil can also be a great addition to your natural depressant treatment. Just like Chamomile, Lavender should complement other natural antidepressant treatments in order to feel the full effects.
In some EEG studies, inhalation of 10% lavender oil increased alpha and theta wave activity in the brain, patterns which are also consistent with relaxation and a better mood. I recommend planting some Lavender in your backyard so you can have the scent all summer long.
If you want Lavender indoors, I recommend this diffuser kit with the Lavender essential oil included.
I hope this list was helpful for you and that you or your loved one feel better soon. You’re not alone and there is help if you need it.
Always talk to your doctor before self medicating to make sure you don’t have any bad reactions and keep in mind that these remedies may not work for everyone. But if they do, I would love to hear from you about it!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline