The Anxiety & Depression Association of America estimates that major depressive disorders affect over 16.1 million American adults in any given year. Antidepressant medications are perhaps the most common treatment you will receive if you suffer from depression in America. However, there are several other unconventional but effective ways to combat your condition and raise your spirits. Here are five alternative ways to combat your depression.
Meditation involves using a technique to develop attention and awareness and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally stable state. This technique can be anything that encourages mindfulness, from Yoga to floating in a sensory deprivation tank. Meditation doesn’t magically cure depression, but according to Healthline, its benefits can make it far easier to cope with the condition. For instance, meditation can alter your response to negative thinking by disrupting cycles and helping you consider more positive options. Meditation can also help you stay in the moment, making it easier to notice telltale signs of depressive episodes. This way, you can start focusing on self-care immediately to keep things from worsening.
- Massage therapy
Instead of medication, a simple trip to the spa might be all you need to combat depression, so keep this in mind. Indeed, the Touch Research Institute at the University Of Miami School Of Medicine discovered that massages increase serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to reducing depression. What’s more, massage therapy can alleviate the physical symptoms associated with your depression, such as back and joint pain, sluggishness, and muscle aches. You may also sleep better and feel less tired after undergoing this therapy, all of which are great for reducing depression.
Laughter is also an effective tool that can help you anytime you feel down in the dumps. You are temporarily distracted when you laugh, and this little break from the cause of your depression can lower stress. Also, a good laugh can destroy your bad mood and diffuse any negative feelings, putting you in overall better spirits. Consequently, watching a great sitcom, listening to a comedy podcast, and following funny meme accounts are worth considering to help lower depression symptoms.
- Get a pet
In a survey conducted by the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute, 74% of pet owners said having a pet boosted their mental health. Indeed, several studies back this claim and suggest that activities with pets can help with depression symptoms. Your pet can offer you comfort, companionship, and love, breaking the cycle of loneliness that depressed people frequently experience. Pets also give you a regular schedule; knowing you have to walk, feed or care for them can offer you a solid sense of routine and purpose that can effectively lower depression symptoms.
Furthermore, your body releases oxytocin and reduces the stress hormone cortisol when you pet or stroke your furry friend, making you less depressed. It is also a known fact that pet owners typically get more exercise than individuals without pets. Therefore, the increased physical activity you will get through walks and games with your pet will help combat your depression.