There Are Ways To Battle Depression: Self-Help And Alternatives Explained

Sadness touches all of us at some point in life – some of us are strong enough to move on and let go, the rest fail to do so. Worst case scenarios are those who suffer from depression and do not know about their condition, until it is too late – some do not even know where and whom to talk to for help. The rat-raced lives we lead can be a part of the problem, sometimes it’s root-cause too. And, it is not only the layman who can suffer from this; famous people across the globe have been victims to it at some point in time – Angelina Jolie (Academy Award winner and U.N  Goodwill Ambassador), mother of six too went through it all, and came out as a survivor).

There are drugs and therapies used extensively across the globe to treat patients with depression. However, today we would like to lay focus on ‘Self-Help and Alternative Therapies’ – drug free and holistic ways of battling the mental disease. Please read on and be well-informed for the same. Don’t give up, you’ve come this far and the solutions are around to use; we can get through this together.

Greeting the new day

Self-help and alternative therapies

  • Begin by getting all the support you’d need – the role it plays is big; especially when everything is sop blank or foggy around. If you stay alone, maintaining a perspective and sustaining the much needed effort to beat away depression can be an uphill climb. However, the very nature of the illness can make it tough for anyone to seek help. Loneliness and isolation makes it worse, hence maintain very close relationships and bonding with your loved ones, friends and colleagues – the more you socialise and engage yourself in activities, the better it would be. Talking out your feelings would be good, you could also start volunteering – plant a smile on someone’s face; it would brighten up your day, making you feel worthy of being alive. Go to the movies, have lunch with a close friend, plan a short-trip over the weekend, meet people, take up a new hobby, talk to a counsellor if no one is around, a therapist or join a club with like-minded people – do what it takes to make you happy, go out there and beat the blues away.
  • Challenge the negative talks and think outside the soap-box. You should stop striving for perfection, because we only get better at doing what we do – perfection is an illusion. Surround yourself with positive people, go-getters and if you do happen to have a negative thought in your head – pen it down in a ‘negative journal’. Understand what triggered the thought and do not warrant it – there would always be a way to view the thought in a brighter and lighter way.
  • Do not over-generalise people, situations, places, events and things, just because of a bad story in the past. Grow the mental filter within the mind, ignoring negatives and letting the positives take over. Stop jumping the gun, assumptions are a mess at all times. Emotionally be strong and reason with reality, you haven’t lost anything and stop comparing yourself to someone else – everyone has had a battle to fight, and some still are.
  • Do you sleep enough – 8 hours a day is a must, or else you’d have sleep issues and suffer from mood swings. Don’t forget to have a pocketful of sunshine everyday, at least for an hour – go out for walks, strolls or walk the pet if need be, but do it for your own good.
  • Relaxation techniques, meditation, Yoga, exercises etc, leads to a healthy life of well-being and joy.

Work it out

A study published in 2005 called Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School “Understanding Depression”, found that walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms. Walking fast for only 15 minutes a day five times a week or doing stretching exercises three times a week did not help as much. (These exercise lengths were calculated for someone who weighs about 150 pounds. If you weigh more, longer exercise times apply, while the opposite is true if you weigh less than 150 pounds.).**

Exercising the body keeps you fit, but the act is a ‘potent antidepressant’ too.  Instead of the elevator, take the stairs and run or walk up. While talking on your cellphone, do not sit or sleep on your bed, walk around and talk. Buddy up with a friend and hit the gym, at least thrice a week.


Did you know?

  • Ten minutes of walking can help boost the mood for two hours
  • Aerobics can help you lose pounds and helps with combating negative thoughts too – the feel good factor comes by.
  • Rhythmic and continuous exercises such as dancing, walking, swimming, yoga etc are good antidepressant workouts – they also help rest the body and the mind, and bring about harmony to the physical and mental self.


Eating right

  • Omega 3 fatty acids plays a very vital role in mood stabilisation. Foods that are rich in DHA and EPA can help – herring, salmon, mackerel, sardines etc or even fish-oil supplements are a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Skipping meals is bad, since it can make the body tired and the mood irritable. One should eat small meals – 5 a day every 3 to four hours. In between, if one feels like satisfying the sweet tooth ‘feel-good’ foods are allowed to a minimum.
  • Focus should be on ‘complex carbohydrates’ – whole-wheat pasta, baked potatoes, breads and oatmeal for example – serotonin levels get a boost from such sources.
  • Intake of vitamin B12 and folic acid should be lowered. B-complex is advised to have – citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, eggs, chicken, beans etc.
  • Super foods that have magnesium (bananas) and vitamin B6 can help boos the ‘feel-good’ factor. Brown rice over white rice is good, spinach brings in magnesium and folate to help with sleep and mood swings too.