People who suffer from depression often feel powerless in the face of their illness — and it’s easy to see why. An incredibly complex disorder doctors are still struggling to understand, depression robs its sufferers of control. The good news is that there ways to take back the reins of your life. With that in mind, here are five simple steps to help lower stress and alleviate your symptoms.
1. Take A Brisk Walk!
According to numerous studies, any type of moderate-intensity exercise can improve quality of life for people with depression. We chose walking because it is the most popular, most accessible form of physical activity all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other! Walking at a brisk pace not only gets your heart going, it also stimulates the release of endorphins. These potent brain chemicals have been proven to reduce pain and promote relaxation.
How much and how often? Most experts suggest taking a fast paced, 30 to 45-minute walk four or more times a week.
2. Catch Some Rays!
Even easier than taking a constitutional, simply stepping outside on a sunny day may boost your mood. Why? There are two reasons. First, sunlight has been shown to increase levels of serotonin — a powerful neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates sleep, appetite, and mood. Second, it limits the body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that is released at night to promote healthy sleep.
How much and how often? Depending on how fair your skin is, you should get between 10 and 15 minutes of sun each day.
3. Lay Off The Sauce!
Because it may provide temporary relief, many depressed individuals take to the bottle too often. As a result, they are far more likely to engage in alcohol abuse. Whether alcoholic beverages actually exacerbate the symptoms of depression or not, it is incredibly unhealthy to partake in binge drink when you feel hopeless and disheartened. There is also compelling evidence that heavy drinking greatly increases the risk of suicide for those with clinical depression. We should also mention that alcohol is a depressant, which means you are more likely to feel blue when you imbibe.
How much and how often? In this case, it would be best if you could abstain altogether. But since that it not practical for most people, alcohol intake should be closely monitored and kept within healthy ranges of no more than 1 drink per night.
4. Don’t OD On Sweets!
While some amount of sugar intake is needed for the body to function, eating loads of the stuff is unhealthy for both the body and the mind. Because sugar causes sudden spikes and drops in the amount of glucose in your blood, it produces side effects that include insomnia, excessive sweating, irritability, and depression. We also know that blood sugar imbalances deplete B vitamins, which are known mood stabilizers.
How much and how often? As a general rule, you should never exceed your daily recommended allowance of sugar. This is particularly true when it comes to the refined sugars, since they have a more dramatic and immediate effect on blood sugar levels.
5. Take Tianeptine
A little-known antidepressant out of France, Tianeptine is one of the only drugs on the market that has proven effective at managing the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. The drug is also bereft of sedative properties, which means that it can be safely taken during the day. Last but not least, Tianeptine has far fewer serious side effects than most of the prescription pills in its class.
How much and how often? Please consult your health professional for dosage information.
As simple as they may seem, these tips can help you manage the symptoms of your depression if you follow them to the letter.