Depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the plain old blues can have you feeling down in the dumps and hopeless. But there is hope, and it’s not in a pill bottle. These easy home remedies can lift your spirits and have you smiling again without the use of medicine. Anytime you feel depressed, give one or all of these six natural mood lifters a try.
Walk it Off
Exercise is the one-size-fits-all cure for just about anything that ails you, including depression. Exercise is as effective as antidepressant medications at relieving mild depression symptoms. How can exercise help lift your mood if you hate it? Glad you asked. Physical activity such as going for a walk causes the brain to release dopamine’s feel-good chemical, which increases the sense of well-being and helps lift the mood.
Take a Nap
Anyone who is sleep deprived is much more likely to feel sad and down in the dumps. Take a nap during the day or go to bed an hour earlier each night to naturally lift your mood.
You are What You Eat
Omega-3 fatty acids help the brains respond to the feel-good chemicals dopamine and serotonin. Cold-water fish like salmon and tuna are loaded with these natural mood-lifting omega-3s. Combine colourful fruits and vegetables and their antioxidants and flavonoid with cold-water fish to help prevent inflammation that can trigger depression.
Many people feel depressed and anxious during the winter months only, called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The blue feelings are triggered by a lack of sunlight that helps to keep our internal clock regulated. If our internal clock is off-kilter, it affects our sleep/wake cycle, energy level and mood. Lift your mood natural during the dreary, grey days of winter by exposing yourself to bright light (natural or artificial) for one hour each day. Sit indoors near a sunny window and soak up in direct sunlight; purchase and use a lightbox (designed primarily to treat SAD). Some people who suffer from SAD find their mood improves after visiting a tanning bed for the light therapy benefits.
Quiet meditation that focuses on breathing and clearing the mind of negative thoughts is a natural mood lifter. Fifteen minutes a day of alone time to meditate can help banish the blues.
Lonely people are more prone to feelings of depression. Cultivate old friendships and become involved in activities to make new friends help banish depression and keep it at bay in the future.