It might come as a surprise but Indians are a depressed lot. True. Indians are among the world’s most depressed. According to a World Health Organization (WHO)-sponsored study, while around 9% of people in India reported having an extended period of depression within their lifetime, nearly 36% suffered from what is called Major Depressive Episode (MDE).
Depression is usually characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy and poor concentration, besides feeling depressed.
While medicines help in curing the disease, there are natural ways of getting rid of depression as well. Let’s take a quick look at some of these.
Exercise can relieve depression, possibly by altering the mood-regulating brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin. It may also release the endorphins responsible for the “runner’s high” that some experience. Exercise at least three to five times a week for 20 to 30 minutes. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking on a treadmill, is best, but “any degree of exercise is better than none”. You can also indulge in activities like swimming, cycling or playing badminton.
Set Goals or Get a Routine
Depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. If you’re depressed, you need a routine. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track. Also, to push back, set daily goals for yourself.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
While there is no magic diet that completely fixes depression, but ensure that you never skip a meal. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat, though. Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings.
Get Enough Sleep
It can be difficult to get enough sleep while you are depressed. However, try and make the most of it. What can you do? You can start by making small changes in your routine such as subtle changes in lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom — no computer and no TV. With time, you will find your sleep has improved to a great extent.
Expose Yourself to Sunlight
Often referred to as the light therapy, exposing oneself to sunlight helps produce vitamin D that reduces depression to a certain extent. Exposure to sunlight also boosts the mood. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box.
Meditation’s effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.