Lifestyle Changes That Can Make A Real Difference With Depression

Cindy Wilson Thumbby Cindy Wilson
BS, Dietetics and Nutrition

Depression is a mental state of being that can affect any of us at some point in our life, as well as a medical condition that we can get real clinical help with. It’s important to understand that depression does not only have one answer or even a clear set of answers but that we can take steps to understand it and manage it. Aside from the clinical solution, here we’re going to look at steps that may help you after a depression diagnosis.

lifestyle changes that can make a real difference with depression

Eating good mood food

Eating healthy is one of those health tips that is widely recommended for everything from the flu to chronic illnesses, but if you’re looking at depression, then you will want to get more specific. Limiting refined sugars and saturated fats is well recommended, but there is the suggestion that omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in oily fish, nuts, and olive oil, and essential amino acids, like those in high-protein foods, can be vital for managing your mood. There are a lot of foods regularly recommended to help with mood disorders, so you might want to do your research and make some changes to your shopping list.

Exercise is a natural mood booster

Just like diet, exercise is pretty easy to recommend regardless of what health conditions the individual is dealing with. However, even light exercise, like walking every day, can make big differences in your mood, in part due to the fact that it releases positive chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins and dopamine, that can give you a sense of reward and fulfillment. Sticking with the routine is just as important as getting started, so you might want to look at the possibility of joining a class or inviting a friend to start getting fit with you, whether it’s doing a specific exercise routine or just getting out for a walk, jog, run or cycle every day.

The world of nootropics

One of the more recent developments in self-management is to address depression where it begins: the brain. While not a replacement for prescription medication, which may very well be recommended to you by your doctor, nootropics have been used by many to raise mood and reduce the neurotransmitter imbalances that can cause depression. Looking at the latest in nootropic news may be able to help you find the improvements to your cognitive functions that can improve your mood, your sense of energy, and your ability to better interact with the world around you. Your mileage may vary as to the effectiveness of different nootropics, however, due to the complex nature of how depression differs from person to person.

avoid self medication

Avoid self-medication

A lot of people who deal with mood issues will tend to look towards things like alcohol and recreational drugs, which can give a temporary mood boost. However, all modern and conventional wisdom indicates that these make depression worse in the long run, not only by worsening various aspects of quality of life, such as sleep issues and our ability to manage our relationships. The body can develop a dependency on these substances so that, instead of using them to improve our mood, we can instead spend a lot more time living with the stress of looking to get our next hit. This can lead to serious addictions that can make depression even more difficult to diagnose and treat properly.

Find ways to manage stress

Stress and depression are often treated as separate issues, but they can very much be co-morbid and can build off of one another. The more stressed we are, the more time we spend in a heightened, tense state, and the less joy we can find in our lives, which can often contribute to depression. As such, steps should be taken to address any issues that you might have with stress, as well. There are lots of ways to relieve stress, such as by exercising as mentioned above, but finding new hobbies, taking the time to learn meditation, and using methods of distraction to get your mind off of your worries, even for periods of 30 minutes a couple of times a day, can make a big difference.

Take a look at your sleep habits

The link between sleep and mood disorders is now heavily understood. Not getting the quality or quantity of sleep that you need can greatly increase your chance of developing conditions like chronic depression, in part due to the fact that we don’t get the time to replenish the neurotransmitters that help regulate our moods. Sleep-deprived people are also a lot more prone to stress due to the increased production of cortisol, commonly known as the stress hormone. As mentioned, stress also plays a very big hand in depression. As such, take a look at some of the ways you can improve your sleep quality, whether it’s by improving your bedtime routine, your sleep environment, or treating an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

address isolation

Address isolation

A lot of people are lonely, nowadays, and this loneliness can play a major role in depression. It can be hard to manage friendships and relationships, especially if people we have bonded with become physically distant due to moving, starting families, and so on. Aside from keeping in regular contact with the people important to you, you can fight isolation by joining new classes or hobby groups, volunteering and meeting new people while getting a sense of accomplishment, or even by getting a pet. Isolation is one of the single most serious issues that is increasing at a concerning rate in modern society, so it’s wise to take whatever steps you can to fight it.

Again, it’s vital to keep in mind that there is no silver bullet solution to depression. Different people are able to manage it in different ways and, indeed, it can be difficult to muster the will and energy to make changes while you’re in the thick of it. As such, seeing clinical help and therapy may very well be the right option for you alongside these steps.

About Author

Cindy Wilson Thumb
BS, Nutrition & Food Science | Connect with on LinkedIn
Cindy Wilson

Hello, I am Cindy, and this a website where I inspect everything related to nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. I have a BS in Dietetics and Nutrition (Kansas State University) and have completed a dozen specialty courses related to nutrition, biochemistry, and food science. I am open to learning more, but foremost I would like to share all my knowledge with you.

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