Depression is when feelings of loss, anger, sadness or frustration make it hard for you to do the things you enjoy in everyday life. A person is said to be depressed if he is not feeling good for at least two weeks but often for as long as 20 weeks.
Although everyone feels sad sometimes, depression lasts longer and interferes with your daily life. Depression is one of the most common illnesses. It can be mild, moderate or severe.
Symptoms of depression may include the following:
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Fatigue and decreased energy, feeling drained all the time
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness, inability to concentrate
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps
- Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Inability to make any decision
- Obvious weight loss or gain
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1. Eat a “happy” diet
Eating healthy can help with mood in general, but there are some foods that can help with serotonin, the chemical in the brain that contributes to happy.
- Some foods are serotonin enhancers, helping to raise those levels naturally. They include: coconut oil, Flaxseed oil, Sour cherries.
- Drink green/ chamomile tea – It has its psychoactive properties, because it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and has been shown to reduce stress as well as boost dopamine and the brain inhibitory transmitter GABA. First thing in the morning, with your breakfast, sip a cup of hot, fresh, green tea. Drink the whole thing.
- Increase B-vitamins – You can either take supplements or add more B vitamin rich food to your diet, such as: Spinach, Bell peppers and Turkey
- Load up on pumpkin seeds – Pumpkin seeds contain healthy fats and magnesium, both of which can help lighten your mood. Eat a cup of pumpkin seeds once a day.
Meditation can help promote relaxation, which has been found to be helpful for depression. Meditation will help create an amount of balance in the nervous system. This would enable the glands to return to a correct state of hormonal balance and thereby overcome the feeling of depression. The person must gain control over his nervous system and channelise this mental and emotional activities in to restful harmonious vibrations. This can be achieved by ensuring sufficient rest and sleep under right conditions.
Yoga involves meditation with physical postures, breathing techniques and relaxation. Yoga practices vary and some may not be recommended to people with certain medical conditions.Yogasans such as Surya Namaskar, Vakrasana, Halasan, Paschimotanasana, Bhujangasana, Shalbhasana, Sarvangasana and Shavasana and Pranayamas like Kapalbhati, Anuloma-Viloma and Bhastrika are highly beneficial in the treatment of depression.
Massage uses touch to help provide relaxation. Most touch therapies are based on the premises that the mind and body are interconnected and that physical health and emotional well-being are closely linked. The belief is that, when the body is relaxed, the mind contributes to better health, less depression and overall well-being.
Exercise produces chemical and psychological changes that improves in blood and may elevate your beta-endorphin (mood – affecting brain chemicals). It not only keeps the body physically and mentally fit but also provides recreation and mental relaxation. It is nature’s best tranquiliser.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, three times a week to begin to feel a sustained effect on your mood. It may take a few weeks to really notice a change.
6. Get some sunshine
Lack of sufficient sunshine is the reason behind seasonal affective depression (SAD). Your body naturally produces vitamin D, which is known to help combat depression and mood swings, when your skin is exposed to the sun. Make a commitment to expose yourself to the sunshine, for at least 15 or 20 minutes, whenever you have the chance.
7. Get enough sleep
Depression can make it hard to get enough sleep and not getting enough sleep can make depression worse. What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom, no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.