13 Simple and Effective Home Remedies for Depression

Depression is among the most overlooked problems, as its signs are less obvious compared to most other mental health conditions. There are around 300 million people in the world suffering from depression and most of them aren’t even aware of it, themselves.

Some of the common symptoms include persistent feelings of sadness, difficulty concentrating, decreased energy levels, and lack of enthusiasm in general. If you have these symptoms and suspect depression, here is how you can cure depression naturally to see if it improves your state of mind.

Natural Ways to Fight Depression

There are numerous ways of getting rid of depression symptoms naturally, and some of them can be combined with the treatment that you may be undergoing for the condition.

1. Exercise

Exercise is one of the best depression treatments at home, which improves your physical and mental well-being, simultaneously. It’s best to try and exercise for 20 minutes every day, 5 days a week. It can be any form of exercise that you enjoy, such as running, weight lifting, pilates, yoga etc.

How It Helps:

Exercise acts as a mood-booster, by releasing endorphins into your body. These painkilling substances improve mood and bring about a feeling of well being to beat depression, especially when combined with therapy as shown by research. Therefore, exercise is a natural therapy for depression and regular exercise will make you feel better.

2. Getting Adequate Sleep

Lack of sleep can worsen many problems, including depression; it often happens that depression is coupled with sleep problems. Adults need about 6-9 hours of sleep for complete rest, relaxation and repair.

How It Helps:

Sleep sets our biological clocks, which affects glandular function and controls energy levels and mood throughout the day. Setting a specific time to go to sleep is especially important to improve sleep patterns. Sleeping is how our immune system produces cytokines, a protein essential for the body to maintain good immunity and ward off depression.

3. St. John’s Wort

St. John’s Wort is among the best herbs for depression, if you are not already on medication for it. It has been a popular folk remedy in Europe and Africa for worry, sadness, anxiety, and poor sleep. It has been shown in some clinical trials to reduce mild depression.

How It Helps:

The herb contains compounds such as hypericin and hyperforin that work by blocking the reuptake of serotonin, similar to antidepressants. This essentially increases the serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter associated with our well being and is found to be low in people with depression. Hence, this herb is a natural depression relief medication. However, talk to a doctor before taking any kind of medication, even if it is natural.

4. Light Therapy

Darker months, such as the rainy season or long winters, where you often don’t see sunshine for long periods can cause seasonal mood changes and depression. In some people, it leads to a drop in serotonin levels, making them susceptible to seasonal affective disorder. Light therapy involves exposure to sunlight in the mornings or using an artificial source of bright light (3,000 to 10,000 lux) for 20- 30 minutes every day.

How It Helps:

Light therapy helps in the regulation of serotonin levels in the brain and resetting the body’s sleep/wake cycle to normal.

5. Wholesome Diet 

Having a proper diet is the cure for a range of diseases. A poor diet lacking vital nutrients, and instead, filled with refined sugars and fats, can make depression worse. Some of the foods for depression need to be low-fat and rich in Vitamin B6, Magnesium, B-12, and Folic Acid.

How It Helps:

Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acid and folic acid help ease mood swings and reduce symptoms of depression. Foods, such as popcorn, nuts, oatmeal, peanut butter, and egg whites are serotonin-enhancing and good for people with depression.

6. Building Healthy and Strong Relationships

Social isolation and feelings of loneliness can cause depression or make the condition much worse. Having friends and a close trusted network can help encourage you to focus on the positive side of life and set goals that can improve your well being.

How It Helps:

Studies have shown the importance of quality of relationships, as one of the most important factors that contribute to depression. Those with greater social strains and lack of social support have the highest risk of depression. Relationship statuses also contribute significantly to well being and depression.

7. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the process of talking and analysing your own thought patterns that keep you trapped in depression. It allows you to evaluate how you’re thinking and understanding things, especially when your thoughts are unrealistic, pessimistic, and hypercritical.

How It Helps:

CBT helps in clearing the mind of unwanted thinking patterns and helps you develop a more optimistic outlook. Expressing your thoughts and feelings in front of the therapist helps you feel relaxed and brings about positive changes in your thoughts and behaviour.

8. Meditation

Meditation and the practice of mindfulness can go a long way in setting the tone for your day. Starting your day off with a small session of breathing exercises and meditation can help align your mind towards being positive. The practice of mindfulness helps keep your thoughts in check throughout the day.

How It Helps:

Depressive feelings often have triggers in the form of thoughts that quickly spiral out of control and result in making you feel low and defeated. Meditation and mindfulness help you stay in the moment and focus on the task at hand, instead of drifting in unwanted thoughts.

9. Green Tea

Drinking green tea in the mornings with breakfast, is known to help ease depression.

How It Helps:

One of the ingredients in green tea called L-theanine has powerful mood-enhancing effects that can reduce depression. Drinking green tea also reduces post-stroke depression and reduces oxidative stress.

10. Fish Oil

Fish oil is an amazing source of omega-3 fatty acids. These are the essential type of fats needed for the brain. Since our bodies are incapable of making omega-3 fatty acids, it needs to be obtained from our diet. Many studies have linked low intake of omega-3 fatty acids with depression and have also found that countries with higher levels of fish consumption, such as Japan, have lower depression rates.

How It Helps:

Omega-3 fats are necessary for the function of our neurotransmitters, which goes a long way in determining physiological and emotional brain balance. In one study comparing the outcomes of three other extensive studies, it was seen that omega-3 fatty acids showed significant results in improving depression.

11. Probiotics

Probiotic supplements are proven by research to significantly improve mental outlook, which is because of the connection between the gut and the brain.

How It Helps:

Probiotics promote the absorption of nutrition and aid in glycemic control, which prevents spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. The research also shows that there are strong lines of communication between the brain and gut that can influence our moods and brain chemistry.

12. Adaptogen Herbs

Adaptogen herbs are a type of medicinal plant that affect the nervous system to reduce stress, by acting on the body’s cortisol levels.

How It Helps:

Two well-known adaptogens include Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. Ashwagandha works by reducing anxiety and depression and combats hormonal imbalances and stress. Rhodiola increases the sensitivity of neurons to the neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin.

13. Folic Acid

Folate is an essential B vitamin found in beans, fruits, green leafy vegetables, and fortified grains. Folic acid deficiency is common, due to poor diets and the use of certain medication, such as oral contraceptives and aspirin.

How It Helps:

It is found that people with depression who also have folate deficiency do not respond well to antidepressants. Therefore, it is essential to consume folate-rich foods.

Depression can be managed through a combination of change in lifestyle choices, such as good exercise, diet and resting habits, and adopting new ways of thinking and doing things. Those with severe depression need to continue medication as directed by their doctor and ask their opinion before using herbal remedies.