How to Beat Depression Holistically

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When It’s More Than the Doldrums: Natural Remedies for Depression

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

Natural remedies and holistic daily-practices for sickness & illnesses do not only apply to the physical body, but just as important, our mental well-being. Over 17 million people are currently struggling with depression in the United States alone. 

If you deal with feelings of hopelessness, despair, worthlessness, and extreme sadness, we know it can be a serious challenge.

Depression can cause you to be disinterested in the things you always enjoyed, often leads to isolation and social withdrawal, and can have deleterious consequences on your personal and professional life. 

Learning how to deal with depression takes time, and sometimes therapy, with the loving support of those close to you. 

While some people have had success with prescription medications, you may be wary of the potential side effects and the addictive nature of some medications designed to help those with more severe depression and anxiety symptoms. 

Perhaps you’re currently on medication, but want to know what else you can try.

You want to learn more about natural remedies for depression. Read on to discover more about managing your mood without having to rely on pharmaceuticals. 

1. Start Working Out

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

Exercise is one of the best natural remedies for depression, and people have been using it to boost their moods and take their minds off of bad thoughts and worries for centuries.

But why does it work? 

First of all, exercise of any kind — even yoga and meditation — causes your body to release endorphins. These are the natural “feel-good” chemicals in your body that most people refer to as a “runner’s high.” 

In addition to short-term relief from depression symptoms, exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, which may also lower the severity of your depression.  

Exercise is also about setting and achieving goals, giving you a reason to be proud of yourself and helping to restore your motivation and self-esteem. 

What about if you’re interested in preventing depression in the first place? 

While the exact causes of depression are still somewhat unknown (and as the genetic vs. environment debate continues) studies have shown that even moderate consistent exercise can lower your overall risk of developing depression. 

2. Look to Your Diet

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

What causes depression? 

Believe it or not, some of your symptoms may be linked to your diet.

Get more folate by reaching for avocados or tossing a handful of spinach in with your morning eggs.

If you can, cut back on both your alcohol and caffeine consumption. While both these substances may make you feel great in the moment, they often cause extreme anxiety in those with mood disorders. Alcohol, in particular, can lead to mood swings and even insomnia. 

Add more magnesium to your diet by eating things like nuts, legumes, and whole grains. Magnesium helps to boost your serotonin production, which is the natural chemical in your body responsible for managing your mood.

Finally, cut out excess sugar and processed food consumption. Not only are these things bad for your physical health, but the crash from sugars and added hormones later can also worsen your emotional symptoms. 

3. Look Into St. John’s Wort 

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

You’ve likely heard that St. John’s Wort is a popular natural remedy to treat depression. 

It may take about four weeks to take effect, but countless people use it to help manage more mild depression. 

You can brew St. John’s Wort in tea or take it in supplement form. Just steer clear of it if you’re on birth control, and talk to your doctor if you’re on any other medications and want to take St. John’s Wort. 

4. Consider CBD Oil

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

CBD oil may be all the rage, but the hype surrounding it is quite real. 

CBD oil interacts with your body’s natural endocannabinoid system, which handles your response to both physical and emotional stress.

People with depression and anxiety often don’t make enough endocannabinoids on their own, and so the cannabinoids in CBD oil strengthens your system and encourages endocannabinoid production. 

CBD also makes you feel much more relaxed, and any relief from anxiety is certainly welcome among those dealing with depression. 

5. Take Omega-Three Fatty Acids

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

Omega-three fatty acids are crucial for healthy brain function, but they may also be able to fight depression. 

Studies have found that depression is much less common in countries and cities where residents have a higher overall intake level of omega-3.   

You can choose to take omega-3 fatty acids in supplement form, or you can up your intake of salmon, anchovies, and sardines. You may also choose to take fish oil, which contains lots of omega-3, as well.

6. Check Out 5-HTP 

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

5-HTP is one of the most popular natural remedies for depression, and it’s available in supplement form. 

Your body actually already produces 5-HTP on its own, but those with depression may not make enough of it. 5-HTP plays a huge role in your body’s ability to produce serotonin, a major step in keeping your mood in check. 

Many users report it also helps them to get better sleep and fight off insomnia that so often accompanies depression. If you’re interested in 5-HTP, talk to your doctor to make sure that it doesn’t interact with any of your medications.

7. Get in the Sunshine

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

Not only does natural light help you get a better night’s sleep and increase your vitamin D, but it can also help you manage your depression better. 

That’s because natural light is a serious mood-booster — especially for those who may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

We suggest combining exercise and sunlight by taking a quick 20-minute walk or jog in the morning. You’ll jump-start your day with a great mood and have the chance to clear your head. Please be aware of your sun tolerance and don’t stay out long enough to burn.

Interested in More Natural Remedies for Depression?

How to Beat Depression Holistically | Naturopathic Dr

We strongly suggest that you try these natural remedies for depression in combination with therapy and, in some cases, in combination with standard medications. 

Want to learn more about how to handle your depression and anxiety the natural way? Are you looking for ways to combat mood swings and feelings of sadness? Want to learn about other holistic healing practices that could help you to be your best self? 

Reach out today to make an appointment with Dr. Threlkel. 

About The Author:

Picture of Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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