Natural Ways to Manage Depression and Anxiety

Managing depression and anxiety can be challenging, and is a different experience for everyone. A common solution for people suffering from depression and anxiety is anti-depressant medication. This medication works by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain to relieve symptoms such as sleep problems, restlessness and suicidal thoughts.

 

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But these days a lot of people don’t want to rely just on medication to manage their mental health challenges and find many ways to help deal with these issues naturally, without medication or in addition to the use of medication.

Some common types of psychological treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy, problem-solving therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and short-term psychodynamic therapy.

We spoke with Terri Bowman, CEO and founder of Brain Wellness Spa, who specialises in working with clients using highly effective alternative mental health services to address mental health issues naturally, without medication. Here’s some quick and effective ways to begin addressing your mental health concerns.

Assess why you might be feeling depressed

We all have experiences that can overwhelm our ability to cope - including a major illness or serious accident. When we are unable to adapt to the changes that happen as a result of those experiences, that's when we can develop symptoms of mental illness including hopelessness and unfocused worry. As such, it is crucial to get to the root of your depressive feelings to truly understand your current mental state.

The first step is to evaluate whether what you are feeling is brought about by something circumstantial in your life, and not by a brain chemical imbalance. Are you facing an unwanted divorce? Does your work involve putting in a lot of hours for a low pay? Is your physical health failing you? Are you having a financial crisis? Ask yourself these questions, and be honest with yourself about any situation that might be off-kilter in your life. 

Be Physically Active 

Recent research shows that exercise can in some cases be as effective for fighting anxiety and depression as prescribed medication. For people with mild to moderate depression, different forms of physical activity can help ease symptoms. During exercise, the body releases chemicals that can boost your mood, and make you feel more energised. Even modest amounts of exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on your mental health, so there's no need to spend a huge amount of time doing it to reap its benefits. 

Exercise promotes changes in your brain that have antidepressant-like effects similar to the "runner's high", which is a sense of elation, coupled with reduced anxiety, and lesser pain. Exercising is also a good distraction, allowing you to take a break from your cycle of negative thoughts.  

In addition to improving your mood, and helping you sleep better, research also shows that regular exercise can prevent depression relapse, because of its calming effect on the central nervous system.  

Get Enough Sleep 

It can be a real struggle to sleep when you have depression or anxiety. Your mind doesn't seem to get tired of conjuring up negative scenarios, making it practically impossible for you to doze off and rest your mind. Chronic sleep disruption can make your symptoms worse, as it sets the stage for emotional vulnerability, which is why it is recommended to get plenty of sleep. However, avoid forcing yourself to sleep, which can make you more anxious when it isn't happening, and instead focus on creating a bedtime routine that involves a little meditation or yoga. If that doesn't work, and you still end up lying in bed awake, transfer to another room and do some light activities like reading a good book, or listening to music.

It also helps to get rid of any distractions in your room that can make sleeping much harder. Make your bedroom a sleep haven by investing on a mattress style that can help you rest easier. It can be a soft mattress or a firm one depending on what you prefer. Also, make your bedroom as dark as possible by turning off any bright lamps and switching to a soft lamp. 

If you put some time into using these simple strategies outlined above,  you may be able to begin effectively reducing your anxiety and depression symptoms naturally, without the use of medication. If you are concerned about any mental health issues you might be struggling with, you should always first consult a mental health professional.