You probably don’t need me to tell you about it as I find it hard to believe there is any adult today who hasn’t had the displeasure of firsthand experiencing this debilitating mental disorder. It is one of the most common mental disorders in today’s world, and it follows that there are numerous techniques, medications and supplements that are used to treat or alleviate the condition.
All the quick-fix pills aside, let me share with you some of the habits and tricks that have helped me counteract depressive spirals and boost my mood.
Note: I don’t claim that any of these steps will treat depression, but they were fairly helpful for me, and you won’t regret trying these out!
1. Cold Showers
When depressed, some of the simplest tasks, such as taking a shower, can seem like moving a mountain! But when I finally manage to drag myself into the bathroom and take a shower, I always come out feeling fresh, revitalized and more positive.
I’m not sure if it is the naked self-massaging, the water washing away the negative depressive aura surrounding my body, or whatever magic happens while showering, it sure jacks up my mood and energy. And I find cold showers to be particularly exhilarating.
It requires a great deal of willpower to take a cold shower, especially in colder days, but I guarantee that it will be well worth it and you will come out of it a happier person! It’s usually only the first few minutes that are the most difficult, but once your body adapts to the cold water (it should be moderately cold, not freezing cold), you’ll love the rest of the experience!
2. Real-World Interaction
This one may not make much sense to you, but I’m an indoor person who doesn’t normally like going out for fun or even just stepping out of my house! I like to spend most of my time indoors living in my own world — big thanks to the Internet!
But I’d be lying if I told you it doesn’t cheer me up to see and interact with other people in the real world, instead of hiding behind a screen all the time.
Now, I still prefer to spend most of my time inside my own little comfortable world, but when I find myself home alone stuck in a vicious cycle of depression, I like to go out for a short walk.
I often get a remarkable mental relief after having a breath of fresh air, seeing and interacting with real people. Although, sadly, it is really hard to find REAL people these days, but still better than nothing!
Sometimes, simple words like “hi”, “good morning”, “how are you today?”, and such, can be more powerful than any medication in the world. So go out and get your dose of all-natural, antidepressant, amiable real-world interaction!
3. Cleaning My House
While the cleanliness of my house isn’t a primary cause of depression for me, I usually feel sadder and gloomier when I look around and I see dirty dishes, dirty clothes, messy room, etc.
The opposite is also true, i.e. it does make me feel better and brighter when my apartment is clean and tidy. Cleaning my place has become one of my regular hobbies, and since I don’t do many outside activities, it is also a good physical exercise for me.
In fact, exercise has many psychological benefits, and it has been shown to improve symptoms of depression. You won’t find a more rewarding indoor physical exercise than cleaning your house.
Food makes us happy, and that is a scientific fact. But what you may not know is that the foods you choose to eat can have a significant effect on your mental well-being in different ways, and may actually be a key cause of depression.
Research shows a link between nutrition and depression. Some foods that may temporarily make you feel better, such as sugary foods, can effectively end up doing more harm than good to your mental wellness.
The following is a quick rundown of my favorite brain-healthy foods that seem to promote a happier mood for me — there is some science behind these:
- Nuts, such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and cashews — in moderation, since they are quite fattening.
- Tuna salad — packed with nutrients and super delicious!
- Herbal teas, such as green tea, lemon balm, chamomile, turmeric and others — with some honey as a sweetener.
- Dark chocolate — I love to snack on some with a cup of tea!
Finding out which foods improve my mood, and which ones worsen it, is an ongoing research for me. And it should be for everyone who cares about their health and wellness.