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9 Ways To Better Cope With Depression

The top natural ways to help beat the blues...

Illustration by Anna Parini / New York Times © 

Understandably, depression and anxiety have been increasing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

While serious cases certainly require medical aid, less severe occurrences can sometimes be overcome with simple, natural remedies.  

Below are nine of the easiest ways to beat the blues without the use of medication. 

1. See a Professional  
To make sure you are not suffering from a serious condition, be sure to first go and see a psychiatrist or therapist. This is not something to be ashamed of, or embarrassed about. Often, people find that simply talking about their problems in a safe, non-threatening environment lifts a great deal of anxiety and much of the dark cloud you feel surrounds you. A medical professional will also let you know whether or not you require further medical help or medication.   

2. Exercise 

Exercise is a fundamental tool in combating depression. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, which relieve anxiety and give an overall feeling of wellness and happiness. When you engage in some sort of physical activity, it also frees your mind from focusing on stressful or unhappy thoughts, giving you a respite from the negativity that may be consuming you. 

3. Sunshine  
Research suggests that there is a direct correlation between sunshine and a decrease in depression. Researchers hypothesised that it was the Vitamin D, but studies showed that taking a pill has little effect on those with depression, while those who spend time outside show significant improvement. Research does show that the higher the Vitamin D levels, the lower the depression, however, it can be argued that the way the Vitamin D is produced could also be a factor.  

4. Take up a Hobby  
Whether reading, horseback riding or even gardening, any activity or hobby will take your mind off your troubles and help ease your depression. Also, taking up a social activity may lead to interaction with others, eliminating loneliness, which is a main contributing factor to depression.  

5. Follow a Proper Diet

Studies show that eating junk food will actually fuel your depression. It is a logical cycle: when you eat food that you know is bad for you or overeat, it in turn makes you feel bad about yourself, which will only make your depression worse. Eating healthily makes you feel good about yourself, which will ease your depression. There are also foods that contain ingredients known to help ease depression, like wild salmon, walnuts and dark chocolate.  

6. Detox  
Do not anesthetize your problems, they will not go away in this manner. It is important to rid your body of all toxins. Some may alleviate your depression temporarily, but your troubles will only come back stronger once the effects wear off.   

7. Laugh

© Tasneem Al Sultan

Laughter really is the best medicine, making you feel better instantly, and scientific research backs this claim up. There are many ways to introduce laughter into your life, but the easiest is probably to watch episodes of your favourite comedy or read a comic.

8. Keep a Journal  
A lot of people find it cathartic to write down their inner most thoughts in a journal. It is a form of therapy that lets you release any pain or anxiety that you may be holding in. You may feel that a weight has been lifted once you write down what is troubling you, and by releasing it in this form, you release it from your mind.

9.This Too Shall Pass… 
When you’re feeling depressed, be careful not to categorise yourself as a depressive. Remember that whatever feelings you have are transient and will not last forever. Even in your darkest moment, always tell yourself that this too shall pass.

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