Did you know depression affects 17.3 million Americans? So having natural relief for depression seems like a pretty important topic to speak into. And there really is natural relief. Depression is one of the main causes for disability and one in six people take some type of antidepressant. There has to be another way! There has to be a more natural solution to this major struggle that is going on in people of all ages. Today I have made a list of the top 5 ways to bring natural relief to depression. No matter the severity of your depression, these methods are safe to use and to apply to your daily regime in self care. But before we get into the ways to relieve depression, lets talk about causes and symptoms.

Causes and Symptoms of Depression

The definition of depression is feelings of severe despondency and dejection. It can begin to interfere with ones daily life and when this happens it can become very painful and difficult for the person struggling with depression and to those around the person on a daily basis. The causes of depression vary but some of them can include:

  • emotional pain
  • chronic stress
  • hormonal, chemical, or neurotransmitter imbalance
  • lack of sunlight or exercise
  • nutritional deficiency
  • Overload of toxins
  • Food sensitivity

Depression is more susceptible in adults but it can happen at any age. There are many different symptoms that can show that point us to a possible struggle with depression. Some of those symptoms include things such as:

  • low mood, or sadness
  • fatigue
  • low libido
  • poor appetite
  • a feeling of hopelessness
  • weight changes
  • loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • digestive changes
  • frequent headaches
  • negative thoughts, that can turn to life threatening

Natural Relief for Depression

Conventional remedies for depression usually involve medication and therapy. Many of these drugs have major side effects, and while they do help with depressive symptoms, once off the medication the symptoms can re-occur. Many side effects include personality changes, weight gain and dangerous negative thoughts. There is natural relief for depression that has proven to be very effective.

1. Diet

It is true, the choices you make when it comes to food have a very big impact on your mood. You see it in young children and the way some respond to sugar. It can greatly effect your mood, cognitive function and energy. Neurotransmitters in your body are greatly effected by the foods you eat. Foods can be healing and every time you eat you make a decision to fuel your body or hurt your body. Many healing foods include the following:

  • Omega 3s  – Have been proven by many studies that it helps boost your mood bringing a natural relief for depression.
  • Healthy fats – reduce free radical depression that can contribute to lower moods and feelings of depression.
  • Fruits and vegetables – Many fruits and veggies support the brain’s metabolic process that help fight symptoms of depression. Many foods packed with antioxidants are the best to add to your daily diet. Those include: blue berries, artichokes, goji berries and blackberries.
  • Probiotics – These foods bring natural relief for depression by increasing energy levels, boosting cognitive function and it helps your overall mood. Foods like sauerkraut, kombucha, raw cheese, kefir, whole plain yogurt, and fermented foods are great options.
  • Protein – If you know me you know that I believe and preach that proteins are the building blocks for every cell in your body. But it matters where you get your protein from. So eating grass-fed grass finished beef, cage free organic chicken and eggs and avoiding added hormones is so important. Other great options are wild caught fish, black beans, good quality protein powder, and bone broth. All that being said, protein is vital in brain function and bringing natural relief for depression. They provide energy and increase your mood. Being fatigued can contribute to moodiness and not getting a sufficient amount of protein can cause that.
2. Exercise

A proven natural relief for depression is exercise. Higher levels of activity have been shown to reduce levels of depression. The study showed that there is a correlation between the two. When you workout, serotonin levels are raised and the feel good hormones are experienced which makes sense to why exercise is a great way to relieve depression. A Harvard study found that exercise improves nerve cell function but it must be something you can sustain over time. It is not a one-time fix. It needs to be a daily or weekly activity and your body will begin to respond.

3. Essential Oils – Lavender

More and more research is being done but it all comes out to the truth: essential oils work! And when it comes to depression, they are a great tool to find natural relief. There are many that help with lifting your mood and energy levels, but the one I want to focus on is lavender. It has healing properties that help relieve stress and promote an overall feeling of sense and calming. You can diffuse it, or apply it topically mixed with a carrier oil. It has many incredible benefits to the nervous system including releasing dopamine and working throughout your body as an antioxidant.

4. Vitamin D3

I get asked all the time by my patients, “What supplements do I need to take?” When you go into the health store it can feel very overwhelming roaming the aisles of supplements, but I always, without fail, recommend vitamin D3. The reason that D3 is a natural relief for depression is because is naturally acts as an anti-depressant. Studies found that the way in which vitamin D3 raises vitamin levels in the body helps your body fight depressive feelings immensely. Being low in vitamin D is a global health problem and not having enough sun exposure increases your chances of depression. That is why many people struggle up north in the long dreary winter months.

5. Calming Herbs

God knew what He was doing when He made all the plants on the earth. And so many of them having relaxing and calming properties; they are called adaptogen herbs. These are healing plants that relieve stress and improve relaxation and relief from stress. They protect the body against high cortisol levels that can bring damage to cells and gut lining. Stress can also take a toll on your adrenals and other hormone producing organs leading to an onslaught of issues. The main herb I want to talk about today when it comes to relieving depression is Ashwagandha. It helps with people who have thyroid problems and balancing hormones. It is also anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant. It has healing properties that are great for strengthening the immune system which is also connected to having a positive mood. And it helps the body maintain a balanced state, especially in the midst of emotional or mental stress.