Depression and anxiety are serious mental health conditions that affect hundreds of millions of people globally. Both conditions can make it difficult to carry out everyday tasks and maintain relationships. While there are widely accepted pharmaceutical treatments for depression and anxiety, natural remedies can often be just as effective, especially when cases are mild or moderate.
You can make lifestyle changes to fight back and reclaim your confidence, peace of mind, and happiness.
The following tips can help you to feel better not in months or weeks, but often as soon as you take action.
1. Set a Routine and Stick to It
Both depression and anxiety can set you into a rut where you have more time to dwell on negative emotions and thoughts. One highly effective way to break out of a depressive state, even a long term one, is to set a new routine and stick to it.
You can start small and then work your way up to a more structured lifestyle. Simply setting an alarm for the morning and sticking to it can be a massive help. Aim to eat breakfast every morning and take on some light exercise or stretches etc.
Try to structure each day so that you will know exactly what you’re doing at any particular time.
For anxiety, this will help you to feel that you are in control of your life. There will be little room for anxiety if you’re focused on the moment at each point of the day.
For depression, a routine leaves little time for negative reflection. It can also be rewarding when you set a schedule and stick to it. Small daily wins are sometimes all it takes to start to turn your mental health around.
2. Create Goals for Mental Rewards
Create short, mid, and long term goals. This is one of the most important things that you can do to cure depression naturally.
When you’re depressed, it can feel like nothing is going your way. Feelings of hopelessness are often associated with even minor cases of depression. One way to give your everyday life purpose and meaning is to set goals. These goals are not just things to work towards to keep you distracted. They can also provide a powerful sense of reward that will increase your self-esteem.
Your goals don’t need to be anything major when you are first starting out. It could simply be taking a walk outside after shutting yourself in the house for days or weeks. Maybe you’ve been wanting to learn a new skill, like a musical instrument, a type of computer coding, or even a language? Set these larger ones as mid or long-term goals and then track the milestones as you build proficiency.
The power of goal setting and the mental rewards that can come will surprise you.
3. Change Your Diet
Food is a massive part of mental health. Changing your diet to be more balanced and varied could help you to feel calmer and happier every day. Try to cut down on stimulants like coffee and energy drinks. With anxiety, coffee and other drinks with caffeine can amplify your negative emotions.
Some foods that make you feel bloated and fatigued could quickly turn mild depression into something more serious. Reduce your caloric intake, eat more healthy fruits and vegetables, and try to eat smaller meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar at a normal level.
Simply making dietary changes could leave you feeling more energized and prepared to face each day. You could even use a change of diet as one of your short-term goals.
4. Get Regular Exercise
Exercise has been recommended as a treatment for anxiety and depression for several decades. Today, we have a growing body of evidence to show that being active can benefit your mental health. Some studies have even indicated that exercise can be just as effective as pharmaceutical treatments and psychotherapy.
One of the main reasons that exercise is recommended for depression is because it helps to produce endorphins in the body. These endorphins provide a natural high which can help you to feel good, even for hours after you cease exercise. Simply walking for 30 minutes a day could significantly reduce feelings of depression.
You can also treat anxiety with light aerobic exercise. Regular exercise will make you feel in control while providing your mind with a distraction from your negative thoughts. Walking, running, cycling, swimming, and other forms of cardio could all help to make you feel calmer and more relaxed.
The best thing about exercise is that you can change your regular habits without needing to spend a single cent. You could exercise at home with aerobics or resistance exercises, or, you could head outdoors to enjoy fresh air and natural light.
Exercise can also help you to improve your body image. If you suffer depressive thoughts or are anxious about your weight or appearance, then exercise could help you to make a positive change.
You’ll also gain a plethora of other benefits, such as healthier skin, a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, and stronger muscles and bones.
5. Change Your Sleeping Patterns
If you aren’t sleeping on a regular schedule, then you could be making depression or anxiety worse.
Sleep is essential for every person. It’s an opportunity for your body to rest and heal. Sleeping also rests your mind, helping to reduce stress. Try to get into a routine where you sleep and wake up at a regular time. Most adults will require between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. This will provide the optimal combination of light and deep sleep.
The previous point can help here. Exercising daily will help you to expend surplus energy, making it easier to fall asleep in the evenings. Changing to a healthier diet with less caffeine could also improve your sleeping patterns.
6. Consider Supplements to Help Boost Mental Health
Supplements alone won’t cure depression or anxiety, but they can help you to feel better each day.
Some of the best supplements to try are:
• Omega 3 Fatty Acid (such as fish oil). This supplement helps to balance brain chemistry.
• S-Adenosylmethionine. A synthetic of your body’s mood regulating chemicals, this supplement could help to balance out negative emotions that you otherwise feel you have no control over.
• Folate. By taking a folate supplement you could improve the effectiveness of pharmaceutical antidepressants. Talk to your doctor about this supplement if you’re already taking medication for your condition.
• St. John’s Wort. This is a supplement that can potential increase serotonin in the body. It can help to balance your mood and reduce anxiety. Some studies have shown St. John’s Wort to be just as effective as pharmaceuticals when treating mild or moderate depression.
Always consult with your primary care physician if you decide to take a supplement for depression or anxiety. This is especially important if you are taking any form of medication.
7. Reconnect with the Things and People That Make You Happy
It’s possible to become withdrawn when suffering from depression or anxiety.
Look for people in your life who you can trust and try to spend more time with them. Whether close friends or family, reconnecting with the people that you care about could have a huge positive impact on your mental health.
In addition to people, make sure that you also create time for the things that you love. Both depression and anxiety can cause you to walk away from your hobbies and passions. Eventually, life can start to feel mundane and joyless. Try to enjoy the things that you used to, or, try something new and see if you like it. The smallest things can make you feel better. Even if you gain just a few minutes of happiness each day, the effort will be worth it.
Don’t be Controlled by Depression and Anxiety
In mild to moderate cases you can significantly improve quality of life by following these steps. Your depression or anxiety does not define who you are, and there’s always a way out on the other side.
Make small changes today and then work towards the bigger ones. Life should be enjoyed, so make sure you give yourself every chance to be happy.