First, know this: Women are twice as likely to be depressed as men. At least 21 million Americans suffer from depression. Also, antidepressants don’t help half of the people who take them, and they can cause adverse reactions, including fatigue, weight gain, nausea, headaches and dizziness.
So, here are a few natural ways to boost your mood, courtesy of Natural Health magazine:
- Exercise. It produces energizing, feel-good brain chemicals, gives you a sense of control and accomplishment, and helps break the cycle of sluggishness and depression. In fact, just 2 hours of aerobic exercise a week can cut symptoms of moderate depression nearly in half.
- Nutrition. Food has a huge effect on how you feel mentally. For example, the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish make your brain cells function better. Studies also show that people with depression often have low levels of B vitamins, and the greater the deficiency, the greater the depression. So, eat plenty of salmon, whole grains, enriched eggs, beans, lean beef, and milk.
- Next, sunshine can help boost your mood all year round! According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, when light hits the photoreceptors in your eyes, it boosts production of "happy" brain chemicals, and tells your body to stop producing the sleep hormone, melatonin. So, take a walk outside first thing in the morning.
- Spirituality. A study at Duke University found that patients who had greater religious faith were depressed less often than their non-religious peers. They also recovered from depression 70 percent faster. Why? Because spirituality gives people hope and helps them overcome negative life experiences.
If you’d like to go further, check out the book: New Light on Depression by Dr. Harold Koenig.