It is normal to experience periods of feeling down, but if you are feeling sad for weeks or months at a time then it could be that you are suffering from depression. There are different degrees of severity when it comes to the disorder. Sometimes people with mild depression are able to overcome their depression without seeking medical support. Here are some suggestions which may help.
Clinical studies have conclusively shown that exercise plays a very significant role in overcoming depression. Sufferers showed a marked improvement when they took regular exercise in addition to their treatment, no matter what the severity of the disorder. However, in the case of mild depression, exercise proved so effective that it was all some sufferers needed to alleviate the symptoms completely.
Any type of sport or aerobic activity will be beneficial. But if you dislike the gym or do not have much free time, then walking has been shown to be just as effective. A brisk thirty minute walk, five times a week is enough to significantly improve depressive symptoms.
Improving your diet can benefit many aspects of your health, including mental health. It is recommended that people eat a minimum of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and minimize their consumption of processed foods. But there are also specific foods that can help combat mild depression.
It is believed that increasing your intake of Omega 3 can help improve the symptoms of depression. Studies into why Japan and Taiwan have very low rates of mental illness concluded that it is due, in part, to their higher consumption of oily fish. Salmon, sardines and anchovies are all excellent sources of Omega 3, but you will see the same benefits through taking supplements.
There is some correlation between a vitamin B deficiency and depression, therefore you may notice an improvement in your symptoms if you take a folic acid supplement. Vitamin B is also found in leafy green vegetables and beans.
Clinical studies of St John's Wort have concluded that its success rate in treating depression is due to more than it being a Placebo. However, it is only beneficial for mild to moderate depression, and will not help those with more severe symptoms. It can take up to 6 weeks to feel the benefits of taking St John's Wort.
Self Help Books
Self help books will not help everyone, but some people can improve their depression through reading material such as The Linden Method alone. There are many books available which explain the principles behind cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is a talking therapy, commonly conducted on a one-to-one basis with a trained therapist, which helps address negative thought patterns and develops coping strategies. Some individuals are able to apply the principles themselves, without the additional support of a therapist.
Although some people with mild depression do not need to see a doctor, it is very important to seek medical advice if the symptoms get worse. You should also contact your family doctor if the depression has persisted for several months.