What are Some Natural Methods for Coping with Depression?

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Answered by: Ashlee, An Expert in the Developing Coping Skills Category
Coping with depression can be tough. Believe me, I know. I've always had trouble describing depression to people who have never had it, since how does one properly convey the complete and utter helplessness and inexplicable sadness that overwhelms those of us suffering from depression?

I've been on and off of several different anti-depressants for the past eight years of my life. While I believe that anti-depressants are extremely effective at curbing the symptoms of depression, I personally have never wanted to use them. It's not that I judge those who take medication for their depression, I have just always wanted to live as naturally as possible. I do not feel natural when I'm on anti-depressants...in fact, I feel like a robot. So I've taken myself off of my medication (something I do not recommend without speaking to your doctor first), and honestly, I've never felt better. Sure, I still suffer through those dreaded "bad days," where everything is awful, nothing is going right, and I just have to cry about everything. But overall, I'm happy and thriving, naturally.

So how am I managing to keep my symptoms at bay without medication? Coping with depression naturally is not impossible, but it does take a certain amount of dedication. Firstly, I exercise every single day. I don't mean that I spend two hours in the gym every day, sweating away on a treadmill. I do, however, make sure to walk around the block on my lunch break, or go for a swim when I get home from work. You'll hear this over and over again in your life, but exercise is so important!

It isn't as difficult to squeeze in to your daily routine as you may think, either. If you have a dog, spend twenty minutes playing with him in the backyard. If you're going out for fast food, park your car and walk in instead of wasting away in a drive-thru. If you work on the fourth floor of a building, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Incorporating small but mindful changes like these to your daily routine can make all the difference when it comes to getting into the habit of daily exercise.

Secondly, I make sure to spend some time outside every day. Studies have shown that taking sunlight in through our eyes can help curb the symptoms of depression, so skip the sunglasses and splurge on sunblock! Furthermore, I find that when I'm feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of a depressive episode, simply getting outside to enjoy nature and take a few deep breaths really helps to clear my head. When we spend our days exclusively inside, stepping out only when we're heading to the car, it can really take a toll on our minds. We aren't meant to spend all of our time in artificial light, and those of us with depression should be especially mindful of the fact that exposure to light is crucial for maintaining seratonin levels in the brain.

So there you have it! Two easy ways to keep your depression under control without taking anti-depressants. Taking control of your depression can be daunting, but by exercising daily and enjoying some natural light, you can be on your way to overcoming your depression naturally!

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