Three natural remedies for depression and anxiety
Based on my ten-year depression struggle and another ten years being out of it, I made a list of three powerful tips that have actually worked for me to naturally ease and eventually cure my depression and anxiety. I have been doing so by increasing serotonin and endorphin, chemicals produced by our body which serve to reduce pain levels, improve our mood and increase our happiness.
Studies have shown that depressed and anxious people have serotonin below recommended levels in their bodies. Fortunately, it can be naturally boosted.
Depression is a tricky condition where you don’t feel like doing anything really, so getting up and doing some physical exercise is a challenge for anyone dealing with depression. However, this is really a proven way to start feeling better. When we sweat and feel our muscles after a good workout, that is when endorphin starts to kick in. Have you ever heard that runners can become addicted to running? They are actually addicted to endorphin because it makes them feel good.
For start you can begin by implementing a half hour of brisk walk a day. This is not too demanding to incorporate into everyday life even to depressed people. Instead of taking public transportation or driving a car door to door, get off few stations earlier and walk to work, or park a car further away to walk a bit more. Nope, I am not kidding. If you feel like you don’t have time or there is some other excuse you use for not being able to walk, try this method.
When I started doing physical exercise I noticed that it worked for both of my conditions: it helped me shake off depression making me feel better and all anxiety would ease up after I started feeling my body was heavy. It was like a natural relaxation pill. But here is the trick – doing it on a daily basis would significantly decrease depression and anxiety and just like with anything else in life, we have to do it consistently. I repeat, I know it is not easy because I have been there myself, but doing it one day at a time will make a difference.
Being out in the nature
Serotonin levels incease when we spend time in the sun. Combining it with looking at greenery or sea it is a full hit. Again, I have to mention studies that show how spending time in the fresh air and nature exposed to sun improves health, calms down scattered mind and increases feel good chemicals.
Working in the office five days a week means being locked away from natural surroundings, so I make sure that at least once a week I go somewhere outdoors to spend my day away from electrical devices.
Even in winter time there is a way to be outdoors like taking a walk in the park. Big cities have bunch of those so use them as often as possible.
Mountaineering is by far the best physical activity for both first and second advice because it makes you spend time outdoors in an untouched nature while being physically active. If you combine it with a good company, you have a full recipe for happiness.
Looking at a bigger picture (contemplation on acceptance and gratitude)
When depression takes over, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves and think that we are the only ones going through hard times. Life sucks, there is no meaning in anything, only we have problems, no one understands us, we would be happier if only we had this one thing, etc.
By thinking so we tend to be ungrateful for the things we have. So, what is needed here is something I like to call “contemplation on all existence”.
Admit to yourself, how often do you think about other people and their problems? Do you even wonder what is it like for people in third-world countries where people struggle with fulfilling basic human needs while you have cozy life’s conditions? How much do you have what most of the people don’t have? What is it that you think would make you happy? If you got it, for how long would you really be happy until you found something else that you needed again?
Grateful approach to life will get you out of depression, I guarantee it. How? You will start noticing all the things you do have instead of focusing on the negative. You will start seeing a bigger picture and all the positive sides in your life.
For start, life is precious even if you don’t think so right now. When you see the wonderful side of it and opportunities you have, you will start changing.
Life will never be without problems. We will always have our good and bad days. Nothing is permanent so accepting our lives the way they are (which is ever changing) we will see that life is never permanently good or bad. Can you accept life’s changes? Can you accept that life is not perfect?
Acceptance of present conditions and gratitude are wonderful tools to stop focusing on the bad. Depression happens when we are unhappy about our life’s conditions. If we start applying acceptance and gratitude, life will start being more than just permanently bad conditions.
These three methods are something I have been using for two decades and they are proven ways to eliminate (or at least reduce) depression and anxiety. Changing life’s perspective combined with doing something that is natural to us (moving in the natural surrounding) are ways to happiness.