Lifestyle Changes To Overcome Depression and Anxiety: Sometimes making small changes can lead to bigger differences. Here, we are talking about some of the positive lifestyle changes to overcome depression. Healthy and positive lifestyle changes can help you achieve your depression treatment goals and lower down your stress level.
For example, nowadays taking antidepressants to overcome depression has become as normal as taking aspirin for a headache. Many find it hard making a few lifestyle changes than just taking antidepressants to temporarily block depression.
However, proper medication and therapy can be effective in treating depressive disorders and overcome depression. Making little changes in your lifestyle to ensure a healthy body and mind can be really helpful. It gives you strength to cope with the challenges and symptoms of depression.
To illustrate, it may be possible that someone’s depression is genetic. But it’s not that depression symptoms can not be triggered by your lifestyle, experience, personal choices as well as outside incidents and events.
What Can Worsen Depression:
For example, your depression might get worse by many choices you make. How you feel at the moment depends on a lot of things such as what you do, how is your diet, how much alcohol, cigarette or caffeine you take.
It might also depend on the kind of drugs you take, how much and how good or bad sleep you get, how many times you are stepping out of your house and getting a bright sunlight. Additionally, people you interact with can also play a big role in your mental health.
You have to find that one thing that has triggered it and driving it. The more control you take over you, your lifestyle, activities, feelings, behaviors and thoughts, the better are the chances to overcome depression.
7 Best Lifestyle Changes To Overcome Depression
There is always at least one step you can make in order to feel better and overcome depression. Some changes you need to make are:
1. Maintain Your Diet:
This is most important thing and it’s not for just mental health. Researches show that diet plays a vital role in our mental health. Fruits and vegetables are associated with better mental well-being.
Eating small, well-balanced meals six times a day will help you keep up the constant supply of energy and nutrients and lower mood swings. You can take foods with complex carbs and a bit of sugary foods for calories. To add more, complex carbs are better choice.
Research shows that people with anxiety and depression tend to have more inflammation in their body. Some foods seem to worsen inflammation, which is main reason for joint pain, while others can help you keep it under control.
Additionally, to keep inflammation under control drink at least 3 liters of water each day. Build your diet plan around fresh veggies and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, avocados, apples and other healthy fats can control inflammation and boost your mood. Adding a little amount of turmeric in your diet would benefit you. Maintaining your diet is one of the best lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
Your Anti Depressant diet should include:
Omega-3s and omega-6s are two types of healthy fatty acids. These can be found in:
- Fish like tuna, cod, salmon
- Nuts like walnuts and almonds
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Olive oil
Neurotransmitters, the messengers in the brain, are made of amino acids. Some amino acid rich foods that you should include in your diet are:
- Dairy products, for example milk and curd.
- Certain fruits and vegetables such as pumpkin, leafy greens, sunflower seeds and sunflower butter, hemp seeds, chia seeds, soybeans, sesame seeds, almonds, avocados, figs, raisins, quinoa, and wheat.
Carbohydrates help your body absorb amino acids more effectively, which helps you synthesize proteins. In other words, your brain runs on glucose, which is also derived from carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates can be found in:
- Whole grains
- Vegetables like spinach and broccoli
- Fruits, such as oranges and pears
2. Make Exercise Part Of Your Life:
Physical activity has been shown to have significant benefits for those dealing with mental health issues.
To illustrate, a Southern Methodist University research shows that exercise is very important for people dealing with depression and anxiety. Researchers advised doctors to prescribe exercise to the patients. Exercise has also been proven to improve the mental and physical health of those with schizophrenia.
In face, researches also show that exercise can work just as well as antidepressants. The effects of regular exercise last longer. It has less side effects than anti-depressant.
Furthermore, exercise costs less or nothing and is good for overall health not just mental health. Exercise increases your body’s production of natural antidepressants. Additionally, even a little outdoor activity like taking a walk or moving your arms and shoulders can prove to be very effective.
Additionally, if you can take a walk (or Nordic walk) in the lap of nature every morning or evening, these benefits will boost exponentially. Fresh natural air, sunshine and beautiful landscapes will boost your mood. Although, if you are dealing with bipolar disorder, exercise might trigger mania. Therefore, take advice from your doctor in this case.
You might have noticed that when people are in depression they try to take a lot of rest. Although rest is good, but you should not quit moving your body and sit on the couch all day long. Additionally, exercise is essential for keeping nutrient-rich blood flowing to your head and other parts of the body. Making exercise a part of your life is one of the best lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
Regular exercise can:
- Provide you a good sleep
- Reduce stress
- Boost your mood
- Improve self-esteem
- Boost blood flow in your brain and body
- Thus overcome depression
3. Get Enough Sleep To Overcome Depression:
You are not sleeping properly means your mind is not getting proper rest to work properly.
Moreover, disrupted sleep can trigger anxiety and depression. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep each night. Try to get a proper sleep for at least 7 hours a night.
Sleep has a strong effect on your mood. If you don’t get enough sleep, your depression symptoms will get worse. For example, sleep deprivation exacerbates, stress, irritability, moodiness, sadness, weakness and fatigue.
For this, you need to get your shit together. It means going to bed and getting up at a consistent time, getting enough exercise, avoiding heavy dinners and limiting intake of caffeine and alcohol, practicing yoga, breathing exercises and other relaxation techniques. Getting a good sleep is one of the best lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
Experts have discovered a link between sleep, chronic pain, and depression. To illustrate, in a 2014 research published in the Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, Swedish researchers studied more than 1,200 people and found strong link between insomnia and depression.
4. Social Support To Overcome Depression:
Social interactions reduce isolation and feeling of loneliness– key risk factors of depression. Keep in touch with your friends and family.
In this era of social media, people use Facebook, WhatsApp or Instagram to get in touch with people. Well, we are not talking about that. Talking on the phone is better option than chatting on social media. Live interaction with people is different thing and chatting over the internet is different.
Talking, laughing and sharing with your people is excellent for your mind. Live and face to face interaction with people will help you get engaged, keep your mind occupied and keep away from isolation to overcome depression. Depression and anxiety send signals to the brain to isolate but in fact, what is actually needed is more human contact. This helps chemically boost our mood. Looking out for social support is one of the best lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
5. Meditate To Overcome Depression:
Meditation can be very helpful for depression, whether the depression is caused by life events or by hormonal imbalance. You can go for traditional mindfulness of heartfulness method to meditate.
Additionally, practice meditation every morning if you can. It helps you touch the true existence of life. Therefore, it makes you see the world as it is and feel the blissfulness of everything around you.
After practicing meditation seriously for a time you will feel the positivity and pleasure within yourself. You won’t have time for negative things like judgement, jealousy, greed and anger. This is what my experience says.
Mindfulness meditation has become more popular in recent years. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing, and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future. Doing Meditation regularly is one of the best lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
6. Be Engaged In The Current Activity:
One of the main symptoms of depression is sitting empty and doing nothing. This fills up your mind with all kinds of negativity and lack of creativity. You can avoid this by getting engaged in activity so that creativity can occupy your mind and replace this nothingness.
For instance, clean your room or talk on the phone with your friends. Get a hobby. For example, learn to play a piano or a guitar. Talk to neighbors, help them out, play a video game, take part in sports, mop the floor.
I mean, avoid being alone all the time and sitting empty. Get up, get moving and get involved in something. Your mind might be saying be alone and shut the world out, but your mind is craving for human contact and interaction.
7. Less Alcohol:
Although, alcohol may temporarily relieve some of your depression at the time of drinking, but it eventually serves to worsen depression in the long run.
According to a post published in WebMD, nearly one-third of people having severe depression abuse alcohol. If you drink heavily and regularly, you’re likely to develop some symptoms of depression. Heavy drinking is known to lower the levels of serotonin in your brain, a chemical that helps boost your mood.
To conclude, your brain needs proper care and nurturing and of course nutrients. Take good care of it by eating healthy, exercising, meditating and thus thinking positive. Its health gets affected by your awful lifestyle, staring at your phone all the time, poor sleep and eating habits. Get outside and take a break from your virtual world. Yes, you can overcome depression. Consuming less amount of alcohol is one of the major lifestyle changes to overcome depression.
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