Over the last decade, we have seen an abundance of new research looking into the how and why behind depression.
While depression is indeed both nasty and debilitating, we now also know that it isn’t a death sentence.
In fact, there are several different things you can do to stay in a healthy mental state and stave off depression for good.
So, without further ado – the 7 most effective ways to fight depression.
You know for a fact that exercise is good for your body – but did you know that it is also good for your mind?
Well, it actually does miraculous things for your mind.
It’s so good that it has been shown, time and time again, to be one of the most potent natural treatments for depression on the planet.
This is because when you exercise, your body makes extremely important chemicals, called neurotrophic growth factors. These chemicals are sent to your brain where they promote the physical growth of your brain cells.
Amazingly, this improves their ability to function.
Exercise fights depression by:
- Improving cognitive processing
- reducing stress
- improving mood
As long as your exercise, you’re well on your way to living a happier life and positively affecting everyone around you.
2. Take Care of Your Sleep Schedule
Sleep is important.
But you may not realize just how important it really is. Particularly for your mental health.
Sleep provides the time for your body and brain to recover from the stress of the day.
Sleep fight depression by:
- regulating the function of your nervous system
- keeps your hormone levels in good shape
- helps remove unwanted toxins and chemicals from your body
See, seriously important.
Which is why inadequate sleep will wreak havoc with your body.
It should really come as no surprise that poor sleep quality has been consistently linked to increased rates of depression. In fact, we know that 90% of individuals suffering from depression also have poor sleep.
But there is an easy solution – simply take care of your sleep schedule.
I have 3 simple tips that I recommend to everyone to make sure they get enough sleep every single night, and to guarantee that sleep is of high quality.
- Avoid electronic screens for the 30 minutes before you intend to go to sleep (an entire hour would be best)
- Try and get into bed at the same time every single night
- Allow yourself 9 hours between the time you get into bed and the time you need to wake up
Follow these three tips and watch your sleep improve and your depression decline.
3. Keep Your Body Healthy
Everything you choose to put into your body impacts its ability function.
If you eat a high-quality diet full of good foods (and therefore fill it with healthy vitamins and minerals), it will function effectively.
However, if you fill it with crap, it will perform like crap. In essence, you are what you eat.
As simplistic as this view is, it has held true time and time again.
There is a very clear reason as to why alcohol, smoking, and junk food have all been linked to an increased risk of depression. Because they fill your body with harmful compounds that interact with your brain in a negative manner.
So simply lay off them or consume in moderation.
With this in mind, it is also in your best interest to eat a diet that is rich in green leafy vegetables, beans, eggs, cheese, yogurt, fish, poultry, red meat, and whole grains. Quality matters!
In doing so you will provide your body with all it needs to help beat depression.
4. Invest in Some Smart Supplements
Did you know that your gut and digestive system is literally full of living bacteria?
Well it is, but don’t worry – you see, these guys are meant to be there.
This group of microorganisms is collectively known as your microbiota (also often described as your gut flora), and they are extremely important. These guys help you digest food, fight off harmful organisms that enter your digestive system, and even produce chemicals that interact positively with your brain.
Like I said – they are important.
Now, unfortunately, your microbiota can become out of whack. To put it simply, your gut can become overrun with nasty bacteria that inhibits your good bacteria’s ability to function.
And this has been shown to contribute to the onset of depression.
Which is exactly where supplements enter the discussion.
There is a specific group of supplements known as probiotics that provide a potent dose of living, healthy, bacteria straight into your gut. These guys then populate your gut, destroying all that bad bacteria in the process.
While it may sound a little crazy, there is a large body of evidence clearly demonstrating that taking probiotic supplements can offer a powerful way of helping you fight depression.
5. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
Prepare for some damn cool science fiction stuff right here.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (or TMS for short) is a unique depression treatment that uses magnetic fields to stimulate the nerve cells in your brain.
Like I said, it is like something straight out of a science fiction movie.
As crazy as this may sound, there is some very good science behind this process. You see, during a TMS session, an electromagnetic pad is placed on your skull, just below your forehead. A mild magnetic pulse is then sent into your skull, which stimulates nerve cells in your brain.
This is where it gets really interesting.
When the pad is placed in the right spot, these pulses specifically activate the nerve cells in the sections of your brain that are responsible for controlling your mood and emotional state. In this manner, it upregulates them, causing lasting improvements in your mental wellbeing.
As a result, this super impressive treatment has even been shown to help people suffering from major depressive disorders.
We are going to jump back to supplements for a second and talk about something that has recently made a bit of a splash in the world of depression treatments.
SAMe (which is short for S-adenosyl-L-methionine).
This is a powerful chemical that is actually found naturally occurring within your body. In this manner, it is used to make some very important brain hormones and is also used to maintain the physical health of your brain cells.
As a result, it can have a huge impact on depression.
See, it was recently discovered that people who are deficient in SAMe tend to be at a much greater risk of developing depression than those who are not. Conversely, supplementing with SAMe on a regular basis has been shown to cause a huge improvement in depressive symptoms.
In fact, SAMe appears to be so effective that it is even being used in people suffering from treatment resistant depression.
7. Identify the Underlying Condition and Take Control.
Now, each of the above options offers great ways to help you fight depression – but it is important to note that they won’t work for everyone.
Every individual is thought to have a unique underlying cause that triggers their depression. As a result, what works for one person may not necessarily work for someone else. Which is why finding the underlying cause of your depression is so important. In some people, it could be as simple as their microbiota being in bad shape, in which probiotics would help. In others, it could be related to diet, insufficient sleep, or of course, a serious lack of exercise.
In others, it may even come from something deeper. Many people believe that depression arises when we perceive our situation to be completely and utterly helpless. When we are overloaded with stress and have a problem in our life that seems impossible to solve. Everything becomes overwhelming. In these people, each of the above options might improve their symptoms, but may not treat the underlying cause. In this scenario, trying to find out what is bothering you is key, and then doing your absolute best to improve upon it is integral. In many cases, mediation and mindfulness can help this, as can seeking professional advice. Find the cause, find the solution.
Take Home Message
Depression has fast become the most common mental illness on the planet. Causing serious declines in happiness and health, it can wreak havoc with you, your health, your friends, and even your loved ones. But it is important to reiterate that it is not a death sentence. There are certain steps you can take to improve your mental health and help fight off your depression for good!