Thursday, March 29, 2012

Natural Anti-Depressants at Home

Depression is widespread in our community. It can range from just feeling discouraged to a major depressive episode, but whatever the severity, sufferers resent being told to "just snap out of it." At the same time, many people are reluctant to use medical anti-depressants. There are legitimate concerns about side effects, cost, and becoming reliant on the medication. What to do?

There are many alternate ways to treat depression. On the clinical end are a variety of counseling approaches, including cognitive-behavior therapy (which isn't nearly as threatening as the name sounds). In severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy is still used (no, not like that scene from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest). On the holistic care end are treatments such as massage, acupuncture, and homeopathic remedies.

I'd like to provide a few ideas for things you can try at home. These are simple solutions that won't cure major depressive disorder, but can give you the strength to get through today. They are little things that can do a lot.

Acts of Love Reaching out to someone who needs you can do wonders for your outlook on life. It helps puts your problems in perspective and reminds you of your value. Do a simple act of kindness for a stranger, neighbor, friend, or child. Choose to show love - not out of duty nor with the expectation of repayment.

Exercise How many times do we need to hear this before it sinks in? Exercise is the cure to what ails you! (Unless, you know, it's a broken leg or something...) Even taking a brisk walk for ten minutes will help. Physical activity produces depression-fighting endorphins. Getting out of the house breaks the monotony of the day. Taking note of the world around you breaks the repetitive train of thought that is dragging you down. Try it!

Sleep Whether depression causes you to get too much or too little, take a critical look at your sleep habits. Aim for a consistent routine that provides as much rest as you need, without using it as a way to shut out the world. Certainly easier said than done.

De-stress Many people are unaware that the same chemicals cause depression and anxiety. (If you've ever been successfully treated for one only to have the other rear its head, now you know why.) Even if you don't feel anxious or stressed, try some calming techniques. Take a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, or just take ten deep breaths.

Pray "Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)." Pray for strength to get through today (or the next hour. or next 5 minutes.). Surrender control of situations into God's hands; who else is better equipped to handle them? Pray for others, making your prayer an act of love - 2 for 1 deal!

Get up and get out It may seem that nothing would be fun, but try something you used to enjoy. Inertia is a big problem when fighting depression, so it helps if you have an accountability partner. Call a friend or family member and ask them to force you to do something fun!


  1. Very nice blog. You might like this Wordsworth quote about little acts of love and kindness. Acts of Kindness Wordsworth