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How To Beat Depression Naturally Without Medication

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Depression, Anxiety, and ADHD are becoming more and more common. Our fast-paced lifestyle full of multi-tasking, and lesser time-outs add to the stress. And these mental health issues aren’t easy to treat as medication might have side effects. Other therapies are slow, often uncertain and costly. But there are a few options, that most people overlook, which are completely free and without side effects.

At first, exercise and mental health may seem unrelated. But exercise actually impacts brain structure itself, especially in regions most affected by depression. It releases feel-good chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood, memory and concentration. You start to think more clearly and can make better decisions because of the improved blood circulation to the brain. Studies claim that running just for 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%.

Rihana Qureshi, celebrity wellness and nutrition expert, explains how one can combat the symptoms of depression naturally

Exercise and fitness

Strength training (or weight training) is a quite effective for beating the symptoms of depression. Not only does it help you become stronger but also leaves you with a positive self-image – something which is lacking in people suffering from depression. Some people with depression find it challenging to begin exercising, but inactivity can exacerbate symptoms. So its necessary to push yourself to get moving. Pick an activity that you like doing – it could be swimming, cycling or even a dance form like Zumba or simple running. In fact running is known to give a ‘runner’s high’ which helps you feel euphoric after a good run. Yoga especially is an excellent practice to combat depression and achieve holistic wellbeing. The key is to choose something that you love doing and get moving. Start with smaller durations and extend once you start feeling better.

Diet and Nutrition

This may again come as a surprise to you, but our feelings, moods have a lot to do with our gut. Gut bacteria produce hundreds of neurochemicals, which the brain uses to regulate basic mental processes like learning, memory, and mood. One of the most important things you can do to nourish the gut-brain connection is to avoid processed food and eat more whole foods. Fresh fruits and veggies are rich in anti-oxidants and phytochemicals which prevent cell damage. Protein rich foods help make serotonin and improve alertness.

Sunlight and Outdoors

Sunlight is a good source of Vitamin D. This is something we have learnt in school. The symptoms of  Vitamin D deficiency are similar to that of depression. In spite of that, we hardly make the most of the abundant sunshine we receive. Also, daily sunlight exposure increases the level of serotonin hormone which is associated with boosting mood. Expose yourself minimum 20-25 minutes everyday to morning sunshine (between 7:30-8:30 am) on a regular basis.

And all these things are free and without side-efects. So on the occasion of world mental health day, let’s make a promise to be more aware of our mental health and work towards it.

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