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15 Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed

15 Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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