Alternative Methods for Helping to Ease Depression

Photo by Ben Blennerhassett on Unsplash

If you have been experiencing a low mood for a while now, you may be suffering from depression. To establish whether depression is the cause of you feeling this way, it is always a good idea to seek medical advice so that you can begin to get help through it. It is not uncommon for most people to go through times where they are feeling a little down, but usually, this passes after a few days. However, if you find that your low mood is persistent and making you lose enjoyment for things that you typically love to do, then it is a good idea to get checked out.

While sometimes people are reluctant to take medication when feeling depressed, it is still best to consult a medical professional to discuss your symptoms. Several alternative ways can potentially help when you are experiencing depression, take a look at these suggestions that you may find useful:

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a skill that is useful to practice even when you are feeling well. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment, observing thoughts without judgment, and letting them pass.

Using mindfulness enables us to escape from unhelpful thought patterns that drag us into the past or way ahead into the future. Mindfulness is about acceptance and being present in the moment. Mindfulness is especially useful in depression as a way of being present with yourself without judging. Mindfulness is all about accepting the thoughts that come and go without attaching extra meaning to them and allowing yourself some peace. If mindfulness is something that you are interested in trying or reading about, you will find lots of useful books and articles to help you, and even some apps that can provide a practical way for you to get started.

Talk

Depression can be an incredibly isolating illness, where you can feel that you are trapped inside your mind. Speaking to someone that you trust about how you are feeling can often be a big relief. Confiding in a friend or family member will enable you to get some support to help you through the depression and on your journey to feeling well again.

As well as speaking with a friend or family member, you may decide to talk to a professional too. A therapist will be experienced in working with people that have depression and will be able to guide you through talking about how you are feeling, asking you questions that can help you to gain some insight and understanding into your depression. Many people find speaking to a therapist beneficial, and a way to untangle their feelings and make progress towards feeling better.

TMS Therapy

Transcranial magnetic stimulation is more commonly referred to as TMS therapy. TMS therapy is a treatment for depression and was first approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration over a decade ago.

TMS therapy works via electromagnetic pulses that stimulate the part of the brain that regulates moods. No anesthetic is needed for the treatment as tms therapy for depression is non-invasive, because the treatment is applied via an electromagnetic coil that is placed on the patient’s forehead.

TMS therapy is not suitable for everyone, for example, pregnant women, or those trying to become pregnant, or anyone that has metal devices already fitted in their body. TMS therapy is most commonly used on patients that are affected by major depression that does not respond to medication.

Diet

Making a connection between what you eat and your mood levels may seem strange, but increasingly food is cited as a way to improve your mood. Research shows that certain foods may help in the battle against depression, while others can be less helpful and could potentially make symptoms of depression worse. While everyone knows the foods that they should eat to improve their physical health, identifying foods that can improve mental health may not be something that you are aware of.

Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels

There are many similarities between a diet for physical health and one for improving mental health. A healthy diet that is full of fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains is ideal for your all-round health. Cutting down on sugary snacks, red meat and processed meat is also a good idea. While firm evidence on the impact of unhealthy eating on mental health is an ongoing debate, eating a diet that makes you feel physically healthy, is likely to help your mental health too.   

Exercise

Exercise can offer many benefits for physical health, but can also have a positive impact on mental health, including depression. When you are feeling depressed, it can be hard to get motivated to get out and do some exercise, but if you do manage to get active, even for a little while it can give your mood a real boost.

If you are someone that doesn’t regularly exercise, don’t push yourself too hard, as you want the exercise to be an enjoyable experience. Even an activity such as going out for a walk in the fresh air can feel like hard work when your mood is low, but you will often feel much better for doing it.

Physical activity is thought to encourage the brain to produce endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals. Exercise also acts as a tool to break free from negative thought patterns, and an opportunity to get a change of scenery and focus the mind on something else. Group exercise can be especially helpful as a way of combining physical activity with social interaction, and it’s a great way to meet new people and make new friends.

Take Care

When you are stuck in a low mood taking care of yourself is something that you may not even be thinking about. However, taking small steps towards self-care can leave you feeling a little better, and not quite so stuck in your low mood.

Don’t forget that if you are feeling suicidal or are concerned that you may harm yourself or others, it is vital to seek urgent medical attention.

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