Book Dr. Akhu

Seven Natural Remedies For Depression

depression May 24, 2023

We all experience periods of sadness, feeling out of sorts, and other mood variations at different points. Depression occurs when these feelings become a persistent state of being rather than a passing mood. Having been clinically depressed more than once, I can tell you it is challenging, and there are natural things you can do to help yourself. Here are some natural ways you can start feeling better today. 

1) Increase physical activity. Exercise alleviates stress and relieves symptoms of depression, which can contribute to depression. During exercise, the body releases endorphins (the body's natural antidepressant), which diminish pain perception and act as a sedative. Exercise is a natural mood elevator. 

2) Eat well.
 Nutritional deficiencies are one cause of depressive symptoms in some people. If you are depressed, your doctor should check your vitamin levels and hormones. People deficient in one or more B-Vitamins, Vitamin D, Calcium, or Magnesium may be especially vulnerable to depression. And people with thyroid imbalances, the thyroid releases hormones, which regulate the whole metabolism. The hormonal fluctuations in diabetes (Black women have a higher rate of type 2 diabetes than any other ethnic group) can also lead to depression. In addition, depression leads to cravings for comfort food - foods high in fat and sugar. Focusing on healthy, minimally processed food supports improvements in mood.  

3) Herbal supplements.
 Herbal supplements are successful in treating depression for many people. I encourage people to try natural supplements before prescription medication. For example, St. John's Wort has effectively treated mild to moderate depression. Saffron also shows promise as a treatment for depression; however, it can cause notable side effects in high doses. Take herbal supplements with care and ideally under a health care practitioner's supervision because they can interact with other medications and may have adverse side effects for some people.  

4) Establish healthy sleep patterns.
 The quantity and quality of sleep a person experiences directly impact physical and mental health. Getting enough sleep and completing an entire sleep cycle (sleep without interruption) supports good physical and psychological health. Try the Deep Breath Challenge to learn some easy and potent techniques to improve the quality of your sleep.  

5) Stay engaged in daily activities. 
Depression has physical components but is primarily an issue of the mind. To combat depression, the mind needs to be engaged in ways that offset the symptoms of depression. A daily routine interrupts keeps people from "getting down on themselves." In other words, maintaining routines counters the negative self-talk that can accompany depression and worsen it. 

6) Set small obtainable goals. 
Setting small, achievable goals can be an effective way to reduce depression. Here are some examples of goals that you could set for yourself:

  1. Take a 10-minute walk every day
  2. Write down three things you're grateful for every morning
  3. Practice deep breathing exercises for five minutes a day

The key to success is starting small and building momentum over time. Pick one or two goals that resonate with you and work on them consistently until they become a habit. Once you've achieved those goals, you can add more or adjust them as needed. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem, and be patient with yourself as you work toward a healthier, happier life.Healing The Spirit: 28 days of Depression Support provides suggestions for helping you set goals to reduce depression and increase joy. 

7) Explore mind-body practices.
 Aromatherapy, Acupuncture, Biofeedback, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Yoga, and Meditation have all been found effective in offering relief from the symptoms of depression. They may elevate fatigue, anxiety, and scattered thinking. Click the links for some of my favorite mind-body connection videos.

Black women in depressive states no longer need to suffer from the illness alone; the Sista Peace Community is here to help. Join the community.