Here are some scary facts about depression. It's the single leading cause of disability worldwide, with the World Health Organization estimating that more than 350 million people suffer today, impacting all regions and demographics of the world.
Both medication and therapy are very popular treatments to help people cope with, manage and overcome depression, however the fact is that these remedies don’t work in isolation for every person.
Some people simply don’t require medication to beat depression, as the underlying cause can be identified and treated in other ways. Plus, there are risks that arise from the potential side effects and potential addiction to certain medications. We should also be mindful that longterm use of medication use can alter brain chemistry and can make it challenging to cut back or cease medication.
Here are five holistic treatment worth considering if you're struggling with depression. These can be effective on their own and can work well to complement additional treatments.
1. Love your gut.
Who would have thought the gut could hold the key to better mental health? An inflamed gut can actually contribute to depression due to the close relationship between the digestive tract and the brain. Studies have shown it is possible to improve depression symptoms through treating gut issues with certain species of probiotics.
- Try to improve your gut bacteria by:
- eating bone broth
- taking B vitamins
- eating resistant starch (found in seeds, legumes and whole grains)
- taking omega-3 fatty acids
2. Treat food as medicine.
Certain foods have a powerful effect on the body and can even trigger chemical reactions which result in inflammation, which is undesirable why trying to treat depression. Removing refined sugars, grains and stimulants from your diet can be enormously helpful. Keep in mind that refined sugars are added to just about all processed food and so avoiding them can take some effort but is worth it.
We now know of many wonderful foods scientifically proven to fight depression. For instance, did you know turmeric has been found by clinical trial to be an effective treatment for depression?
3. Get your hormones tested.
Many people aren’t aware that a simple, non-invasive saliva test can reveal more about your body’s hormones than conventional blood tests. Testing levels such as cortisol, estrogen, progesterone, adrenal function and melatonin can provide valuable clues about your constitution to help your healthcare professional treat you more effectively.
4. Take some time daily to practice mindfulness.
As we grapple with consistently competing priorities, it can be challenging to concentrate on the present moment. Learning how to master mindfulness, and incorporate a daily practice into life can help improve anxiety, distraction and feelings of helplessness.
We tend to have this distorted belief we must be busy to be valuable, but sometimes we should prioritize human being over human doing.
Through spending time with our emotions and learning to understand them, it's possible to realize that you don’t always need to be defined by your thoughts, or every fleeting feeling. You can then acknowledge your feelings, knowing they do not accurately reflect the present moment at all times. This can help you avoid spiraling into a negative space.
5. Practice gratitude.
Practicing gratitude on a daily has also been shown to help ease symptoms of depression. When we regularly focus on what we have and not what we don’t have, our mindsets instantly start to change. Practicing daily gratitude can be achieved through performing acts of kindness, giving thanks to people and keeping a gratitude journal to reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for.
These are my five tips for combatting depression.
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