Depression affects millions of people across the United States. That is due to different factors, such as family problems, work issues, financial struggles, and even environmental problems. Many who suffer from depression also struggle with other emotional and psychological issues such as insomnia and anxiety.
To cope with depression, the majority resort to conventional healing methods such as taking pills and other prescriptions. However, these cause side effects on a person’s health in the long run. Sometimes, they make the symptoms worse and could lead the person to commit suicide.
Fortunately, there are alternative ways you can do to cope with depression the natural way. You might be surprised. Even as simple as an exercise can significantly contribute to relieving mild to moderate depression. Studies reveal that mild depression isn’t typically responsive to medication.
Delving Deeper on the Role of Exercise for Depression
Someone suffering from depression may not want to get out of bed in the morning to face the day and exercise. But check this out!
In a review of studies conducted at Harvard University, researchers showed that over the past 30 years, exercise improved the mood in people with mild to moderate depression. It also augmented medication treatment for people with severe depression. While athletic people can experience a “runner’s high” from endorphins released during high-intensity exercise, depressed people can experience a mood boost during sustained lower-intensity exercise.
Dr. Michael Craig Miller of the Harvard Medical School mentioned that moderate exercise improves nerve cell growth and nerve connections in the hippocampus. That is the compartment of the brain that helps regulate mood. He explains that because depressed people have lessened activity in the hippocampus, it is deduced that stimulating brain activity and increasing the release of growth factors through moderate exercise help heal depression.
Alternative Approaches in Dealing with Depression
Aside from exercise, here are five other alternative therapies or practices that have been shown to relieve depression and related symptoms.
Do you sleep better and feel calmer and more comfortable when you lay under layers of heavier blankets? There is a scientific reason underlying that, and it isn’t just the added protection on a chilly night. It has been showing that the weight of the blankets lessens the production of serotonin, a hormone that makes you feel better.
Indeed, several studies reveal such benefits, compelling many therapists and clinical experts to recommend weighted blankets to people who are dealing with depression and anxiety.
Today, weighted blankets and vests have become popular tools for calming people with autism and ADHD, and many others also benefit from the deep touch pressure and soothing effects of weighted pressure. The healing results of weighted blankets often compare to the impact of deep massage that applies hand pressure to relieve tension.
It’s not only science that proves the effectivity of weighted blankets but even users and sellers. If you check the best weighted blankets reviews, you’ll notice that a lot of people found healing from depression because of their use of such blankets. Plus, they also recorded better sleep and improved focus and productivity during the day.
Puppet Narrative Therapy Works
If you’re an adult struggling with depression, playing with toys may seem a little bit off. But at least one study revealed that puppet work could help depressed people open up buried feelings.
Prof. Matthew Bernier of the Eastern Virginia Medical School, a lot of adults, prefer to express their painful feelings to a puppet than with a person. Bernier puts puppet therapy to the next level by combining it with art therapy and encouraging his clients to make their puppets. He mentioned that the creative process facilitates a person to get in touch with anger, shame, guilt, and other emotions underlying depression.
Keep Emotional Support Animals at Home
Keeping a pet at home is a good idea to create a fun-filled environment. But there’s more to that. Today, animal therapy is a proven strategy to help a person deal with depression, anxiety, and other similar disorders.
Although scientists say that more studies need to be done to determine precisely how effective it is, animal therapy continues to grow in popularity. Anecdotal evidence has shown its effectivity. That is because the majority of people would feel better after cuddling a fluffy pooch or just playing with a rabbit, a horse, or cats.
Today, even therapists use animal-assisted interventions to help people cope with autism and attention-deficit disorders. By the way, if you surf for the best weighted blankets reviews, you’ll see that buying one for your pets can also make you feel better.
Catch the Sunrise for Vitamin D
Despite the different claims that the sun can adversely impact your health; the fact remains that it provides one of the best ways to achieve optimum health. It is also a recognized approach in dealing with depression.
By exposing yourself to the sun, you receive doses of Vitamin D, which significantly improves mood and strengthens the immune system.
Studies have shown that low levels of Vitamin D result in depression. In the United States, almost 75% of the entire population is Vitamin D deficient because they spend too much time indoors or live in colder climates. Some spend time on tanning salons to boost their Vitamin D;; however, tanning beds don’t create the right kind of light for addressing the deficiency.
So, if you don’t have that much time to expose yourself to Mr. Sun, taking Vitamin D supplements can correct Vitamin D deficiency and relieve depression. But constant exposure to the sun would always be the best.
Scientifically called S-adenosyl methionine, ademetionine, SAM-e is a popular prescription drug in Europe and in the US as well. It is a type of molecular compound released naturally in our bodies to support various body functions.
Researchers have shown that taking additional SAM-e in the form of oral supplements can help a person cope with depression, including pain associated with osteoarthritis and other conditions. Experts recommend using between 400-1,600 milligrams daily to relieve depression who are not responding to traditional antidepressants alone.
In one study of the Harvard Medical School, 36% of patients who took a combination of SAM-e and an antidepressant showed remarkable improvements after six weeks.
Now, those are just some of the conventional alternative treatments you can apply to cope or help someone deal with depression. They may work to some extent, but it is still imperative to seek professional help.