Natural Ways to Help Manage Depression and Anxiety

Natural Ways to Help Manage Depression and Anxiety

While anti-depressants and other medications can definitely be life-saving for people suffering from depression and anxiety, there are also many natural ways to help lift your mood.

Here are 8 easy and effective natural ways to help combat acute depression and anxiety:

1. Exercise

The very best thing you can do for yourself is to get up and start moving. This does not mean running around with your kids, no, not the same thing. This means taking at least 30 minutes for yourself to decompress without distraction. The movement helps to get the anxiousness physically out of your body, while at the same time suppressing stress hormones and releasing feel good hormones and natural pain killers.

2. Meditation

Constant thoughts of the past and worry of the future are the hallmark of anxiety, which is why clearing your mind through meditation can be so effective. Try our free meditations here.

3. Yoga

Also considered a type of meditation, focusing on your breath with movement helps to relax tense muscles and clear your head through the mind-body connection. Taking a deep breath also allows more oxygen into your body and to your brain to allow you to think more clear.

4. Make plans

The worst thing you can do is sit at home by yourself thinking about how depressed you are or going over and over something in your head. Get out and check out that new band, meet up with friends for brunch, whatever it is you like to do to, get out of your apartment.

5. Watch your favorite show

Reality TV gets a bad wrap for being brainless and mind numbingly dumb, but sometimes you just don't want to think, and the best thing you can do for yourself is to sit back and relax and watch something ridiculous that has nothing to do with real life.

6. Eat healthy

Many people will turn to unhealthy food when they are feeling down or anxious. Think about your future self and how much worse you will feel after inhaling a pint of ice cream or pizza. You may not feel amazing after eating a bowl of vegetables with a lean protein, but you certainly will not make yourself feel worse.

7. Avoid the news

Turn off CNN and avoid trolling through Facebook or your Twitter feed, because chances are you are going to see something you do not like. Studies have shown that Facebook can cause feelings of depression and even more loneliness due to the social comparison.  And if you do find yourself down a Facebook hole, just remember that Facebook is not reality, it is a place for people to present their best self (in most cases), and no everyone is not always on vacation or getting engaged.

8. Avoid binge drinking

A glass of wine or two a day is considered to be heart healthy. However, many people turn to excessive alcohol intake to "numb feelings" or to be able to sleep. This will make you feel a thousand times worse the next day for a couple of reasons. One, alcohol is a depressant in itself and will make you feel more depressed. Two, when you drink alcohol before bed this inhibits deep REM sleep, and you will wake up less rested and more anxious the next morning regardless of how many hours you spent in bed.