Thursday, February 5, 2009

Natural Highs

I’m not a doctor or psychologist. I don’t claim to know as much as a doctor or psychologist. I am simply someone who previously fell victim to depression and anxiety. I always thought it would be helpful to get insight from someone who had recovered from depression or anxiety themselves and could give me the ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I often tried to find relief or answers by researching online. I found a lot of websites advertising different books, CDs or DVDs claiming to have the secret to solve all my problems. Maybe they did…but I wasn’t willing to pay money to find out if they were more than gimmicks. Plus, I was looking for something very specific. I wanted to know how to accelerate my journey to “normalcy” while on antidepressants. Nothing that I would have to worry about combining or conflicting with the medication. I wanted natural depression remedies. Below are tips to do just that, which I have gathered from research and my own personal experience. I do as many of these natural depression remedies as possible on a regular basis. I think it’s best to attack depression and anxiety from all angles.

1. Meditation
I started practicing guided meditation once a week at a yoga studio. To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was helpful at first. Over time, I got better at relaxing and meditating and I realized why it’s helpful. Meditation is all about practicing the ability to clear your mind and think about nothing at all. Through practice, it’s easier to control your thoughts and even switch them on or off when necessary. Don’t get discouraged when you start if you can’t control your thoughts while meditating. It took me a few months to get the hang of it. Ideally, you should meditate once a day. Download a guided meditation track, lay back and follow it on a daily basis.

2. Pranayama

Pranayama is a form of yoga that is used to reduce stress and anxiety. Pranayama is different breathing and sound exercises. Search online to see if there’s a place near you that offers Pranayama.

3. Yoga
I’m sure you’ve already heard that exercise releases endorphins and promotes happy moods. Yoga does that while incorporating a pure and spiritual ambiance which, if nothing else, is soothing. You’ll also like the improvement in your physique.

4. Jog, Speed walk or just get active
Cardio is known to enhance the effects of antidepressants. If you can’t bring yourself to do something like jogging or taking a walk, plan an activity that requires exercise. For example, make plans with friends to go kayaking. Try an aerial trapeze class. I’ll warn you in advance…you may wish you hadn’t made the plans when its time to get ready and go but you’ll be happy you did after. Make yourself do it. Make the plans with a group. That way you’re more unlikely to back out.

5. Going to the Beach

Believe it or not there is such a thing as a beach addiction. The reason this is possible is because Ultraviolet rays release endorphins. Therefore, people get hooked on a high that they’re unaware of. I’ll try anything that they say might be helpful. Plus, maybe my tan will make me happy.

6. Writing
Journaling is another popularly recommended tip. It serves as a release and helps sort out your thoughts, which can get lost in the fuzz when you’re depressed.

7. Go out

People suffering from depression would rather stay home and mope or “relax.” Force yourself. You may not even have fun while you’re out but after a few attempts, you will. Keep going.

8. Do something creative
I started painting which I’ve never done before. It was a distraction. I was very focused on coming up with new ideas and art that would decorate my apartment and the homes of my family members. Put your focus on other creative things like decorating your home, improving pieces of furniture, making something cool out of something you were going to simply throw away.

9. Sex
An orgasm releases endorphins and keeps you on a natural high for a few hours.

10. Massage
A massage gets me in a calm and feel-good mood. It’s so soothing and feels great. Turns out that, this too, releases endorphins. Yay to this one!

11. Laughter

A good, hard laugh does wonders for your overall mood. Watch funny movie, go to a comedy show or hang out with someone who tends to make you laugh.

12. Chocolate or a hot pepper

You may have already heard about chocolate causing your brain to release endorphins. Apparently, a hot pepper releases endorphins too. If you can bring yourself to do so, chew on one.

13. Things you like

Enjoy art of your taste, listen to music and do things you like.

14. Go on a Rollercoaster
Just do it.

15. Watch a scary movie

Weird, I know. According to something I read, a good spook and scream can do good. My view on it: You’ll know if you’re ready for this. If you don’t feel up to watching a scary movie, don’t.

Have anything to add? Do it up!