Feeling gloomy and low on mood from time-to-time is a normal part of life, but if the despair and anxiety cripples you for a long period of time, it could be an indication of a severe disorder, depression. Depression is a mood disorder which is characterised by intense feelings of sadness, grief, melancholy, emptiness, hopelessness and pessimism. Depression affects every individual in a different manner, but it can be so debilitating that it will not only avert you from enjoying things which once had much significance in your life, but will also interfere with your day-to-day life. While medication and therapy can be effective in treating depression, making little changes to ensure a healthy body and mind can be really helpful to cope with the challenges of depression.
So let’s fight depression by making small lifestyle changes! The following are some ways to improve your lifestyle; invariably consulting your doctor before making any changes.
Food plays an important role in influencing your mood. Cutting on junk food and replacing it with healthy foods can help enhance your overall mood. Incorporate in your diet, foods rich in healthy fatty acids, amino acids and carbohydrates and feel invigorated for a longer term. Include healthy fatty acids like Omega – 3s and Omega – 6s in your diet which can be found in fish, fruits & vegetables, Flax Oil, Olive Oil, nuts, etc.
Neurotransmitters or in simpler terms ‘chemical messengers’ in the brain are made with amino acids. These chemical messengers play an important role in your mental health. So include amino acid – rich foods in your diet which can be found in meat, dairy products and some fruits and vegetables. Furthermore, you can pop an Aloe Vera capsule once or twice a day as Aloe Vera contains more than 20 amino acids (of course consulting your doctor first!)
Your brain runs on glucose which is derived from carbohydrates. Further, carbohydrates help stimulate the ‘feel good’ chemical messengers in your brain. But do not over- indulge as consuming carbs from foods like rice or potatoes might just make you feel lousy. Instead, opt for whole grains or cereals which are rich blends of carbohydrates, fibre and protein. So indulge in a steaming bowl of Oatmeal (Masala or Vegetable) or a hearty bowl of Muesli and relax those anxious nerves along with getting bursts of nutrition.
When you are low on mood, exercise seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get moved, exercise can really make a huge difference and in fact help you overcome depression. Regular exercise can help alleviate depression in a number of ways; it can help you gain confidence & self-esteem, take your mind off your worries and also provide you a restful sleep. Certainly running, walking or any physical activity that gets you off your comfy couch can help improve your mood. So indulge in 30 minutes of exercise, three to five times a week and ease those restless apprehensions!
Sleep deprivation is one complication of depression. In fact, inability to sleep or insomnia is one of the most common signs of depression. Lying awake in the bed at night with a cobweb of redundant and cluttered thoughts can not only worsen your mental state but also hamper your physical well – being. Your body needs enough sleep, in fact sound sleep in order to carry out the day-to-day activities. Make a consistent bedtime routine to improve the amount and quality of sleep you get. Before going to the bed, make for yourself a cup of Green Tea (preferably Jasmine) or Camomile Infusion which are packed with anti-oxidants that have natural stress-relieving properties.
Meditation can be really helpful in treating depression. Practice deep breathing or chanting mantras of your spiritual preference to achieve some sort of a mental peace. Aim for at least two and half hours of mindful meditation every week and try to meditate a bit every day. But do not rely solely upon meditation as meditation works differently from person to person. Always talk to your therapist about your thoughts during meditation and otherwise.
Peer Relationships & Family
Staying in isolation from your family and friends will give you more time to think, in turn sullying your peace of mind. Spend quality times with your family members and the right network of friends; talk to them about your issues and take their positive advics. Loving and supportive people around you can really help you come out of your hard times.
Health and Wellness enthusiast,
Dolly Kumar is Director at GAIA