Many times when someone goes to see a physician for symptoms of depression, they leave with a prescription for antidepressants—such as Prozac, Lexapro, or Zoloft. Now, although, antidepressants “may help” in severe cases of clinical depression, there are other ways to boost your mood without reaching for the pharmaceuticals. Below are a few ways to treat symptoms of depression and boost your mood, naturally.
Eat a Healthy, Serotonin-Enhanced Diet
The way that many anti-depressants work is by increasing serotonin levels by inhibiting the reuptake of receptors in the brain. However, there are ways to increase your serotonin levels by changing up your diet. Foods that help increase serotonin are healthy fats, like avocados and coconut oil; foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as mackerel, anchovies, sardines, herring, and the ever-popular wild salmon; and high protein foods, such as free range turkey and eggs.
Whenever you workout, your body releases endorphins that can boost your mood. But, you don’t need to go crazy with gym memberships, Insanity, or P90X workouts; just a 15-minute stroll through your neighborhood can do the trick. If you have a dog, take your pal on a walk, too, and let their happy-hormones run free!
Get More Sun Exposure
Depression from lack of sunlight is actually a thing. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD, is a condition where people become clinically depressed over the winter because of lack of sunlight. Sunlight is known to increase your serotonin levels, so slather on some SPF and hangout outside for a while; maybe get some exercise in, too.
As homeopathic doctors are becoming more popular, people are turning to more natural methods to treat their ailments. Instead of reaching for the drugs to enhance your mood, there are many natural supplements that can get your happy hormones going! Such supplements are: St. John’s Wort (may be used three times a day at 300-600 mg); Fish oil (1-3 g/day with food); and L-Theanine (can be found in green tea, may cause sleepiness).
DISCLAIMER: Be sure to consult a physician before taking these supplements as they can interact with other medications.
Sometimes our lives get so hectic that we begin to lose touch with ourselves. We let the stresses of life get us down until we become so overwhelmed in our own thoughts. Setting aside time each day to meditate and clear your mind can help alleviate some of your pent up feelings. The best way to do this is find a quiet area where you will not be interrupted and focus on regulating your breathing. Try to clear your thoughts and just let go of all the tension. You can start out with 2-3 minutes every day and work your way up.
Caffeine is known to lower serotonin levels. Although you’ll get a quick boost, in the end, you’ll come crashing down. Studies have been shown that coffee drinkers have a higher output of 5-HIAA—a component in serotonin—in their urine. Instead of caffeine, try a 500-1000 mg dose of an L-Tyrosine supplement for an energy boost.
Check Your Hormone Balances
Our moods aren’t always about emotions. There are times when it’s our body’s chemistry that is just out of whack. If you’re suddenly feeling down, and you’re not sure why, you can go to an integrative doctor and have them order and interpret the following tests: sex hormone, thyroid gland, and adrenal gland.
Let it Out
When you’ve tried everything, and nothing seems to be working, you can try speaking with a friend. Sometimes talking about your issues can help you feel better. There’s never anything wrong with asking for help and venting your problems. Sometimes, the best medicine is just a good cry.