For many people, there are days where it’s a challenge just to get out of bed in the morning. They’re overcome with feelings of sadness and helplessness. Most of the time, these feelings stem from depression. Sadly, depression has become all too common in recent years. A survey from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that 11% of Americans 12-years-old and older take antidepressants. With more people turning to medication, some are looking toward more natural means to fight mild cases of depression. Here are some natural ways that can help you stop feeling depressed.

1. Remember the good times.

Thinking back on some of your past successes and happy moments can actually help you out of that funk. Positive thinking can alter your mood for the better and increase your serotonin levels. While thinking positive may be difficult while in the grips of depression, it’s an important first step to getting back on your feet.

2. Set a new routine.

If what you’re doing now for your daily routine isn’t working, try something different. The feeling of monotony from daily tasks can sometimes lead to depression, so changing things up is a must. That doesn’t mean you have to throw out your entire routine. Setting a schedule is still important to maintain structure in your life and help you get on track with what you need to do.

3. Be thankful.

Showing gratitude while depressed can be very difficult, but it’s one way to get out of that mindset. Being thankful will help you focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have or what’s going wrong in life. That change of attitude can help pull you from too many despondent thoughts.

4. Change your surroundings.

If your surroundings are getting you down, it’s time to change them up. Rearrange the furniture in your room, open up the curtains to let in more sunlight, or repaint your room. Do what you can to make your surroundings look new and exciting.

5. Get enough sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to depression. Depression can lead to lack of sleep. It’s a vicious cycle that’s tough to break. You can maintain a more structured sleep schedule by making sure to go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Don’t take naps and get rid of any distractions that may prevent you from getting the sleep you need.

6. Get exercise.

Getting up and moving can have some major positive effects on your mental state. Exercising releases endorphins into the body, which help to relax you and improve your mood. Getting some exercise can be as simple as going for a fifteen minute walk or adopting a more rigorous exercise regimen like Nu Skin’s TR90 program.

7. Know the cycle of depression.

Having the right knowledge to fight depression is key. Depression tends to follow a cycle involving the causes of stress, physical symptoms, behavior, and thoughts and feelings. One negative aspect in the cycle can lead to depression, so finding those things that are within your control can help you avoid depression before it hits.

8. Do something new.

If what you’re doing every day still leaves you in a depressed state, go out and do something new. Take a class to learn a new skill, read that book you’ve always meant to pick up, volunteer in the community, or go to an art festival. Anything that breaks you out of the normal pattern of your life can do wonders for your mood.

9. Go outside.

Nature has a profound effect in creating a positive mood. Simply being exposed to sunlight can increase productivity, health, and happiness. Taking in the fresh air and enjoying a nice clear day makes it easier to overcome feelings of sadness.

10. Think beyond today.

It’s easy to focus on what today is going to bring, but looking beyond that to the big picture can help you keep things in perspective. It can help you understand that the sadness and depression you’re feeling will only last for a moment, while you still have big dreams to live for in the future.

11. Do something fun.

You know what activities bring you joy. If you’re feeling down, go do those fun things. Often life gets complicated and congested, but if you make the time to do something you enjoy, you’ll feel a lot better.

12. Eat a healthy diet.

People in the grips of depression tend to eat junk food or overeat in general. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can do much to improve your mood. It doesn’t just have to be fruits and vegetables either. Chocolate has been shown to make people happy. You should also focus on fish, walnuts, spinach, and avocado since they have nutrients that can help lift you when you’re feeling down.

13. Spend time with friends & family.

Get out and socialize. Many times, depression leaves us with the desire to stay isolated, cutting ourselves off from the rest of the world, but that’s all the more reason to reconnect with friends and family. Those closest to you can provide loving support during your toughest times. Simply talking to them can help alleviate many of the symptoms you feel when depressed.

14. Set goals.

When you’re at your lowest point, you need something to work toward. That’s why goals can be very valuable in overcoming depression. The goals you set don’t have to be overly elaborate or complicated either. They can be as simple as going outside at least once a day or doing the dishes. Simple goals can also help you get into a new routine.

15. Avoid drugs & alcohol.

Drinking alcohol or doing drugs only make depression worse, yet many people turn to these options thinking they’ll provide relief. If you’re depressed, you need to stay as far from drugs and alcohol as possible.

These are just a few of the many natural ways you can help yourself beat depression. As always, in the most serious of cases, you should seek professional help, but for mild depression, these suggestions could prove beneficial for making you feel happier and more content.

Featured photo credit: Depression via upload.wikimedia.org

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