Natural, Healthy Ways To Combat And Defeat Depression
By Kat Gal
Depression can ruin your life. But it doesn’t have to.
Even mild depression can interfere with your aliveness, vitality, relationships, activity level, job performance and other areas of your life. More serious depression can lead to further issues, including the likelihood of self-destructive behaviors.
If you are experiencing depression, you are not alone. Depression affects 14.8 million adults in the U.S. alone, which is nearly 7% of the population. The numbers are increasing each year.
But you don’t have to live with depression. There are powerful and highly effective tools that can help you reduce, heal and prevent depression.
Elisha Goldstein, PhD, co-founder of The Center of Mindful Living in Los Angeles and the author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion has identified 5 natural ways to create an anti-depressant brain to heal and prevent depression:
1. Mindfulness can reduce your depression. People who practice mindfulness tend to spend less part of their brain going over old stories and worrying about the past. Instead they spend more time in the present and sensing what’s going on in the world now.
2. Self-compassion can fight your anxiety and depression. If you spend too much time thinking about the past, chances are you will be more depressed and anxious. Self-compassion reduces rumination, therefore increasing emotional well being with reducing anxiety and depression.
3. Compassion practices may increase your empathy. Compassion practices can actually shift activity to your left prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for positive emotions and resiliency. This is also the area associated with compassion and empathy.
4. Play can boost your mood naturally. Play can be a natural anti-depressant by giving you more energy and an enriching environment.
5. Living with purpose can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is associated with depression, as well as physical illnesses. Living life with a greater purpose can actually reduce the expression of genes related to cellular inflammation, creating a healthier body and mind.
Not only studies after studies, but personal experiences as well are showing that mindfulness, compassion, self-compassion, play, confidence and purpose all have psychological and neurological benefits.
These 5 points are only touching the surface. A healthy, whole foods diet, exercise and a supportive community, for example, are all necessary to prevent, reduce the symptoms of and to heal depression. Counseling, therapy, coaching and other forms of professional support are incredibly beneficial, powerful and often necessary for healing and well-being.
If you or your loved one is dealing with depression, know that you don’t have to turn to medication and you definitely don’t have to live with it forever. Try these 5 steps as a start. Just keep swimming and don’t give up. Happiness is yours, just believe it.
Do you practice any of these 5 steps? What are your experiences? Do you or have you experienced depression? What steps are you taking to reduce your symptoms and to heal? Share your experiences in the comments below. As always, we’d love to hear from you.
Kat Gál is a multi-passionate writer, world traveler, nomad, runner, and cat-person. She is a lifelong learner who lives outside of her comfort zones stretching her boundaries and discovering beauty around the world. She is a Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach who encourages others to embrace their unique authentic selves, follow their heart and find their own version of freedom in life.
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