Depression is not about just feeling sad, it is a lot more. Depression is a clinical disorder that most people ignore thinking they are just mood swings. It can affect not just mental health, but also your physical health. The causes can be many varying from a stressful event or to being genetic.
If you have less than five telltale signs of depression and they last no longer than a few days, then you may be suffering from minor depression. On the other hand, if you suffer for long periods of time with five or more symptoms that are enlisted below, chances are you are suffering from major depression and need help.
These symptoms are:
- Being withdrawn from most matters
- Extreme sadness
- Trouble in concentrating
- Loss of interest in regular activities
- Sudden weight loss of gain
- Thoughts of suicide
Causes of Depression
Research indicates that continued hardships in life, such as unemployment for long durations of time, an abusive or even non caring relationship, loneliness and even stress at work can cause depression. A combination of events such as losing a job and unable to secure a new one can also trigger depression.
Family history – Some people stand an increased genetic risk of contracting depression. If your parents or a close relative may has depression, it does not necessarily mean you will succumb to depression. But, this can have a standing and influence on your life.
Personality – Some people stand a higher risk of being a victim of depression due to their personality, especially if they have a tendency to worry a lot, suffer from low self-esteem, who are extremely sensitive to criticism, and are very self-critical as well as cynical about most things. Even people who are perfectionists can have bouts of depression.
Serious medical illness – People suffering with a serious life threatening illness can succumb to depression, especially those who suffer from chronic pain and are on medication for long term pain and illness management.
Drug and alcohol abuse – Both drug and alcohol abuse can result in depression. Statistics suggest that over 500,000 people experience depression due to substance abuse at some part of their lives.
While many people resort to medical care and consume oral medication to handle depression, there are a number of natural remedies that you can try to cope with the nagging symptoms of depression. However, it is important that you discuss with your doctor if the remedy can have a bad interaction with the medication you are currently on.
17 Tried and Tested Home Remedies for Depression
1. Eat A Healthy Diet
Diet plays an important role in mental and physical well being. It also helps keep your emotions balanced. Try and steer clear of junk food and any food that is high in sugars if you suffer from depression. This can agitate you further and make you feel worse. Eat whole foods that digest slowly and help in balancing blood sugar levels. Also, strike of food containing mascots from your diet.
A healthy diet does wonders to how you feel. And, some food in specific boost the levels of serotonin in the body that helps boost moods. Several studies have indicated that omega 3 supplements taken with anti-depressants can have a positive effect on your moods. It is also found that a deficiency of omega 3s is linked with mood swings and depression. You can either get your omega 3s by eating fish or simply pop the supplements. Other healthy food that make you happy include:
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil: You can add flax seeds in your salads and even rotis or gulp down a spoon of flaxseed oil to lift your spirits
- Eggs: An egg a day gives you all the nutrition your body needs. Research also indicates that egg is no longer a high cholesterol food and can be eaten without worry of gaining weight or increase in cholesterol levels in the body.
- Healthy fats such as coconut oil: Latest studies indicate that healthy fats can help ward off depression. All that you need to do is add a teaspoon of coconut oil to your regular cooking to reap the benefits of this wondrous oil and fight depression.
SAMe, which goes by the chemical name S-Adenosyl Methionine, is naturally found in the human body. This chemical helps in reducing depression, sadness and even combats pain. It is an easily available drug and is used to treat depression. However, please consult your doctor on dosage and frequency as the drug can improve moods to such an extent that it can cause mania. It is hence not advised to be taken by people suffering from bipolar.
Meditation has profound health benefits, and a great impact on depression. Learn the lotus position and focus on wiping away all negative thoughts from your mind. If you have trouble falling asleep, you can try meditating on your bed before you sleep. This will help you sleep better.
Meditating takes time to master and not everybody can sit down and meditate for half an hour a day. Start with just 2 to 3 minutes. Sit down in a calm place and focus on the quiet within you. Meditating helps you ward away negativity and retrospect. It gives you a new and renewed outlook and you will feel a lot more in focus.
Whether you suffer from anxiety, depression, or even OCD, meditation will help you calm down and bring yourself together. Aim at meditating at least for 45 minutes a day!
[ Read: How To Fight Depression With Meditation ]
Studies suggest that depression and sleep disorders go hand in hand. Those who suffer from depression have trouble going to sleep and once they are asleep, they struggle to wake up and feel very lethargic. Chamomile is said to have a flavonoid that promotes sleep. These fragrant flowers have the capability of energizing your brain and uplifting your moods. You can simply tuck a small sachet of the flowers under your pillow if you have trouble falling asleep. While this does work wonders, several patients of depression vouch for a cup of chamomile tea.
What you will need:
- 2 teaspoons of dried chamomile flowers
Boil a cup of water in a medium sized vessel. To the boiling water, add the chamomile flowers and let it continue to boil for 3 more minutes. Let the mixture steep for about 5 minutes and strain into a cup. Add a dash of milk and honey and drink this tea about half an hour before you hit the bed.
5. John’s Wort
You can enjoy benefits similar to a mild antidepressant by consuming St. John’s wort. It has been used extensively in treating mild depression. It may not have much effect if you suffer from major depression, but is worth a try. These can be consumed in capsule form that is easily available in most drug stores. The dosage is best discussed with your physician. You will begin to notice results in as less as 4 weeks. This herb shows remarkable strength in curing several nervous disorders thanks to hypercin that it is made of. Studies indicate that hypercin affects neurotransmitters just like the popular medication Prozac. This herb is also said to have almost no side effects.
Normal dosage that is prescribed is 300 mg at least 3 times a day.
6. Cardamom Powder
The powder of cardamom has antidepressant properties that will help reduce depression naturally. Naturopaths swear by this herb that can help elevate your moods and put your mind at ease. All you need to do is take 3 to 5 cardamom pods and crush them to make a really fine powder. You can either put this in your tea or simply add to a glass of water. Remember to mix it well and drink the liquid every day to prevent depression.
7. Brazil Nuts
These nuts are said to contain selenium that helps in easing sings of depression. Just add these nuts in your daily diet and you will experience the results first hand. You can also include other food rich in selenium to combat with depression. A few of the many food that is rich in selenium include sunflower seeds and oil, tuna, oyster and even swordfish. A generous portion of these foods will help you considerably and work well with your current medication.
[ Read: How Yoga Can Help Relieve Depression ]
A common kitchen herb, the garlic has many health benefits. It is used in treating myriad health ailments effectively. Latest research indicates that garlic may not really help with your cholesterol levels, but can help elevate your moods. This research was conducted in Germany and was tried on people. Just include garlic in your daily diet or crush and swallow a few pieces of garlic from its pod to help you with your depression.
9. Pumpkin Seed
Did you know you could get rid of depression by just munching on pumpkin seeds? You heard that right! Pumpkin seeds have the ability to fill up your mind with renewed energy and thus helps treat the many tendencies of depression naturally. Just munch on a handful of these seeds, preferably on an empty stomach.
You should aim at consuming at least one whole cup of pumpkin seeds a day to observe noticeable changes. Sprinkle some salt on the seeds to enhance its flavor.
10. Indian Gooseberry
Amla as it is popularly known as in India is a potent anti-depressant. It gives immense relief to those suffering from various forms of depression. Take a handful of these gooseberries and remove the seeds from it. Now, crush them to make a paste. Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of this paste or juice to half a teaspoon of freshly powdered nutmeg powder. Mix the two well and drink it up. For best results make fresh juice everyday rather than storing up the concoction. Drink the liquid at least twice a day to feel and experience noticeable changes in your mood.
[ Read: How To Include Amla In Your Daily Diet ]
11. Milk and Cashew Nuts
Milk and cashews make a sumptuous and filling drink, but also helps in preventing and controlling depression effectively. Cashews are said to contain tryptophan and milk too has anti-depressant properties. Take a handful of cashews and use a grinder to make a fine powder of it. Now, add the powder to a large glass of warm milk. Mix well and drink this with breakfast each morning to fend depression away.
If you enjoy coffee, this will come to you as good news. You can continue your habit of drinking a cup of coffee in the morning because studies suggest that a cup or two of coffee a day can make you feel less irritable and more cheerful. 2 cups a day can ease mild depression effectively. However, ensure you do not overdo it, as an overdose of coffee can leave you feeling anxious and more depressed.
[ Read: How Coffee is Good For Your Brain ]
13. Light Therapy
Light therapy has come a long way in medical science and is today used extensively in treating and getting rid of seasonal affective disorder which is a form of depression caused in many people due to the short and dark days of winter. People with this disorder suffer with mood swings that they cannot control.
Light therapy is a simple and very effective way of elevating moods and reducing a feeling of doom. In light therapy, you will need to sit near a bright source of light that is a lot like outdoor natural light. The therapy starts with just 15 minutes of exposure and can be gradually increased to as long as 2 hours a day. In this therapy a light source is used to mimic natural light and replicate exposure to the rays of sunlight. While this therapy cannot banish depression, it helps greatly in easing the symptoms of depression.
14. Brahmi and Ashwagandha
These two are very popular Ayurvedic herbs that find its way in several medications ranging from meds that help hair loss to meds that treat colds and mild stomach upsets. These herbs are also used to treat depression.
Take two to three tablespoons of either of the powder and mix with a glass of water. Drink this twice a day after food for best results.
15. Consume a Multi Vitamin
A deficiency of certain vitamins too can lead to depression. If you feel your diet is not varied or you aren’t getting a certain vitamin through your food habits, it is suggested that you pop a multivitamin pill a day. Get a full blood work done and consult your doctor before you decide which multivitamin is best suited for you.
While a multivitamin can certainly help you greatly if you suffer from depression. Vitamin B 12 in specific is said to very effective in treating several symptoms of depression. Vitamin B helps in triggering and boosting the production of chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine, and epinephrine in the brain. The lack of these chemicals in the body or a dip in their levels can cause depression. Consume a vitamin B 12 supplement and increase the intake of spinach, bell peppers, shellfish, turkey and cheese!
16. Rose Petals
As surprising as it may seem, rose petals are a very popular home remedy that helps treat depression. An infusion of rose petals can do wonders in calming your senses. What’s more? An infusion is easy to prepare and very affordable too. Boil 250 ml of water and add about 20g of rose petals to the water and continue to boil for a few minutes. Cool the mixture and drink it a few times in the day to boost your moods.
17. Apple, Honey and Milk
Yes the ingredients sound yummy! And yes, they can treat depression. It is hands down one of the most effective and potent remedies that you can ever lay your hands upon. Simply add honey and milk to a bowl of chopped apples and eat it for breakfast. This will charge your brain and nerves and reduce the wear and tear of your nervous system. Apple has brain friendly nutrients like vitamin B, phosphorus and traces of potassium that together fend depression.
Depression is not a reason to worry and panic. Many people across the globe suffer from depression and yet lead a normal life. Along with your medication you can try the above remedies to cope with depression in a natural manner.
Have you tried any of these remedies? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!