“An estimated 1 in 10 U.S. adults report depression” as stated by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention (2011). These astounding numbers have given rise to the search for alternative treatment and
prevention methods for those battling depression symptoms.
So how can you keep your symptoms at bay? Well, for people suffering from moderate to severe
depression, anti-depressants may be necessary but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to boost your mood. Let’s take a look at two well researched and free treatment options.
A review of studies as far back as 1981 suggest that exercise can improve mood and even play a role in treating severe depression (Harvard Medical School, 2013). Subsequent studies found that “walking fast for about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week had a significant influence on mild to moderate depression symptoms” (Harvard Medical School, 2013). They also found that “exercise’s effects lasted longer than those of antidepressants” (Harvard Medical School, 2013).
Take the time to get out and enjoy some fresh air. A 35 minute walk each day can seem like a daunting task when your symptoms are pulling at your leg, but once you start the routine, the benefits are immeasurable. Swimming is also a great alternative to the pavement and who doesn’t love the water?
Others are raving about the benefits of meditation. Sitting around and humming? That’s right, “researchers at Johns Hopkins University have applied scientific analysis to the practice and found that mindfulness meditation programs, which promote heightened awareness, can help with common mental health problems” (Krans, 2014). This new study on meditation programs “found measurable evidence of improvement in anxiety, depression, pain, and stress after eight weeks of treatment” (Krans, 2014).
Take some time each day to calm down and do some deep breathing. Find a quiet room and dim the lights, even play some soft music. Counting your breathing is a good start to more advanced forms of meditation such as Vipassana and teaches you to quiet your mind so you can relax.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, March 31). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdepression/
Harvard Medical School. (2013, March). Exercise and Depression. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Exercise-and-Depression-report-excerpt.htm
Krans, B. (2014, January 6). Healthline News. Retrieved from Healthline: http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-meditation-as-effective-as-medication-for-depression-010614