5 Tips to Combat Depression Naturally

1. Do you have peace? We should all take at least 10 minutes (in a row) a day for quiet time for ourselves. Not on the computer or I-phone, but alone to reconnect with our thoughts, process our feelings, and plan and make goals for the future. My alone is usually in prayer, so technically, I am not alone, but you get what I mean. Doing this will allow you to maintain peace even amongst chaotic moments. If your schedule is too busy, you need to eliminate something from your schedule. I believe we often need to make room for God to work, we stay too busy, we will miss our blessing and/or leading in a new direction. Maintaining balance with work, home, and alone/prayer time is of upmost importance for maintaining healthy moods and attitudes. Stress can be a killer, if we let it.
2. I believe our diet is 2nd most important thing we can do for our health. Diets high in processed foods, sugar, carbohydrates, MSG or artificial sweeteners, or a combination of some or all of these is considered a pro-inflammatory diet. I tell all of my patients that inflammation is the precursor to all disease processes, so if you want to stay healthy, you must keep inflammation down. Does that mean we should go take a lot of Ibuprofen? NO! It means we need to eat an anti-inflammatory diet, sleep, and get exercise. We know that pro-inflammatory diets can lead to depression as well, but how? Mild to Moderate cases of Depression can be associated with abnormal Cytokine activity.Cytokines are proteins secreted by our immune cells.Cytokine IL-6 is one group of Cytokines that is associated with inflammation and stress.Processed foods like doughnuts, pastries, bagels, and even some proteins, like meat from cows and chickens raised on grain rich diets, all raise the levels of IL-6 and other inflammatory Cytokines in our bodies.MSG is an excitotoxin, it literally crosses the blood brain barrier and causes your brain cells to become hyperactive, and often times, explode.It is a toxin, and causes inflammation. Aspartame and Splenda are toxic and are associated with side effects such as feeling dizzy, depression, headaches and fatigue.
3. Spend more time outside. I know a lot of what we do is done through technology, mainly the internet, these days. Take long breaks from the internet, connect with your own life and spend time outside in the sunshine soaking up rays and getting your vitamin D. Vitamin D helps with mood stabilization, tissue health, and a healthy immune system.
4. Exercise!!! I cannot stress this one enough. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched “Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition,” but if you haven’t, you should. I am not saying I think weight needs to be lost that rapidly on one’s own, what I love about the show is the empowerment that comes when someone realizes that their body can do what they want it to do, that they are powerful and strong. When your body is healthy and strong, so is your mind, and your spirit will have more peace. Exercise boosts serotonin and dopamine levels which elevate mood, causes areas of the brain that handle emotional processing of feelings of fear and anxiety to be more active, thus making one who exercises almost “stress resistant,” and it allows your body to detoxify.
5. Rest/Sleep. Sleep is crucial, it is when your body does most of its healing, detoxifying, and recharging. We get mental rest and wake up clearer. If you don’t get enough sleep, your cortisol production will go up resulting in weight gain, blood sugar fluctuations, sugar cravings, and inflammation, and often depression. You can start to experience more fatigue throughout the day and your body is unable to heal as it should. You will have horrible mood stabilization, feel more frustrated and stressed, and won’t be able to function with mental clarity. If you have trouble sleeping, there are supplements, and possible hormone balancing that may need to be done to help.