A friend on facebook recently asked me this question:
How do you fight against depression?
Depression is tough, my friend. I am sorry that you or someone you love is wading through dark times. Whether it be a short term depression due to life circumstances or a life-long chronic disease, depression is never fun.
I would like to start off by saying that I’m not a doctor. If you are suffering from something more than “the blues” and need help, I would highly recommend going to see a qualified physician. They can get you the medical help you may need and help dig into the root cause of the feelings you’re experiencing.
That being said, I have dealt with depression a few times in my life. Yep, it’s true! Luckily, I have never been chronically depressed; my dark times have come and gone without the persistent heavy feelings that I know some of you face.
But I do know what it is like to spend days, weeks or even a few months feeling low and unsure of how to get back to happier days.
Again, I’m no doctor, but I have learned a thing or two, which have really helped me pull through the tough days. I’d like to share them with you now and I hope that some of these things can help you on your journey to taking back your life and feeling like your happy-self again soon.
#1 Change Your Language
Look again at how my friend phrased his question: How do you fight against depression?
Anytime we “fight” against something, it causes resistance on a cellular level. When we look at something as a battle, we naturally become tense and enter “fight or flight” mode and constantly feel like we’re in a war zone.
When we use this type of language we attract tensity, tightness and more restriction.
Instead of phrasing this phase of your life as “fighting against,” I encourage you to choose your words carefully and mindfully.
It’s been shown that we can actually speak and think things into our reality. I am not saying it happens overnight, but with practice, you can begin to shift your perspective of the situation. This goes for anything in your life.
Try replacing “fight” with one of the following and see how it feels for you:
Mitigating (as in healing)…
You are a warrior and I want you to know that regardless of your current situation – where you are in your life and how you’re feeling – you’re not alone!
|Release Exercise: Hold your fist as tight as you can. Take a big, deep breath. When you release the breath, slowly release all the tension in your hand. Repeat this as many times as you need to in order to feel a sense of calm and peace.|
#2 Look At Your Gut Biome
Serotonin, which is one of the hormones that makes you feel happy, is synthesized primarily in your GUT (up to 90%!). It only makes sense that in order for you to feel happy, stable and functioning properly, your gut needs to be in good shape!
You can get a stool test from a qualified physician to see what kind of havoc may be going on in your gut. They can also tell if you’re making enough serotonin there or not. There are also a lot of things you can do on your own in order to get things running smoothly, like:
- Eat gut-building foods (see #5 below!)
- Take daily probiotics
- Eat more fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto, miso, kombucha, etc)
I would also check to see if any medications you are taking could be messing with your intestines. You can usually read about that online (from RELIABLE sources) or ask your doctor. Some medications also state depression as a side effect so just be sure you are aware of what you are putting in your body.
#3 Do Things To Increase Happy Hormones
Most doctors believe that if you are depressed, there is something going on with your neurotransmitters and happy hormones. If your hormones are out of whack, it can feel like you’re living with sunglasses on and never seeing the full colors of life.
One of my favorite books about these happy hormones and how you can get them working FOR you is called Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Loretta Graziano. Most of us on the FitLife team have read it and enjoyed it immensely. In this book, Loretta explains all of our “happy chemicals” and describes how to build new neuropathways that will help to boost these chemicals and help us feel more balanced and happy overall.
There’s a lot of information on the subject and I encourage you to dig into this if in fact you are dealing with any sort of hormonal imbalance. For many, there are natural remedies you can adopt and adapt into your day to day lifestyle to help.
Exercise is an awesome way to boost your endorphin levels and leave you feeling satisfied and content! I know sometimes that last thing you want to do when depressed is run around the block or lift some weights but trust me, it is one of THE best things you could do.
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly are less likely to experience depression and anxiety in the long run.
Working out doesn’t have to mean doing something you don’t like to do. Find what works for you and make a habit! The possibilities are endless. Sports, weight lifting, running, hiking, biking, horseback riding… the sky’s the limit here. Restorative yoga is not only great for the mind, but your entire body too. Try something new!
#5 Eat For Your Gut Health
When we are depressed it is easy to reach for comfort foods because they give us a quick dopamine rush. The problem is that most of our “comfort foods” have low energy and low nutritional value and may even do more harm than good in the long run.
Avoid typical comfort foods. Try some of these instead that will help you FEEL good as a whole being and not just help you for a moment.
- Dark chocolate (70% raw cacao)
- Green vegetables
- Green juice
- Banana almond butter superfood shake
- Green smoothies
- Fermented foods
A lot of people really don’t realize it, but your mood is tied directly to what you put in your mouth!
#6 Fill Your Cup With Positivity
Imagine that I’m holding a cup full of water that has dirt sitting at the bottom. How would I get that dirt out? Would I scoop it out with a spoon? Try to reach in there with my hand? No.
I would just keep filling the cup up (overflowing) with clean, fresh water until eventually all the dirt washed over the edges and I was left with a glass of clear water.
This analogy works the same way in your life. You can’t always get the dirt out of your life by focusing on it and trying to make it leave. Instead, try to fill your life with things that are clean, pure, fresh and beautiful. Eventually there will simply not be enough room for the dirt to hang around.
#7 Remove Yourself From Low Vibrations
Depression is a low vibrational realm. In order to overcome it, you’ve got to pull yourself up the chart and into higher vibrations.
Similarly to filling your life with positivity, you’ve got to start actively pursuing a high-frequency life.
Bring things into your day-to-day like meditation, studying spiritual words, poetry, learning to play a new instrument, yoga, dance, relaxation, listening to restful tones and sounds, spending time with people who are obviously high vibration, being out in the sun, earthing, etc.
The more you strive to fill your time with high-frequency activities, the better you will feel and the higher your own vibration will become.
There may be times in your life when this kind of stuff isn’t enough to pull you out of the fog. In that case I would recommend you find someone who can help you like a trusted physician.
But for most of the dark times in life, these techniques can be quite effective. Use these in your life and also take time to contemplate your own existence and self worth, remembering that your light is glorious beyond that of all the stars in the sky.
You are a child of the Universe.
You are strong.
You are capable.
And you WILL get through this. I know you can.
Always remember, we’re in this together!