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Depression Health Center

10 Natural Depression Treatments

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6. Take on responsibilities. When you’re depressed, you may want to pull back from life and give up your responsibilities at home and at work. Don't. Staying involved and having daily responsibilities can work as a natural depression treatment. They ground you and give you a sense of accomplishment.

If you're not up to full-time school or work, that’s fine. Think about part-time. If that seems like too much, consider volunteer work.

7. Challenge negative thoughts. In your fight against depression, a lot of the work is mental -- changing how you think. When you're depressed, you leap to the worst possible conclusions.

The next time you're feeling terrible about yourself, use logic as a natural depression treatment. You might feel like no one likes you, but is there real evidence for that? You might feel like the most worthless person on the planet, but is that really likely? It takes practice, but in time you can beat back those negative thoughts before they get out of control.

8. Check with your doctor before using supplements. "There's promising evidence for certain supplements for depression," Cook says. Those include fish oil, folic acid, and SAMe. But more research needs to be done before we'll know for sure. Always check with your doctor before starting any supplement, especially if you’re already taking medications.

9. Do something new. When you’re depressed, you’re in a rut. Push yourself to do something different. Go to a museum. Pick up a used book and read it on a park bench. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Take a language class.

"When we challenge ourselves to do something different, there are chemical changes in the brain," Cook says. "Trying something new alters the levels of [the brain chemical] dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, enjoyment, and learning."

10. Try to have fun. If you’re depressed, make time for things you enjoy. What if nothing seems fun anymore? "That's just a symptom of depression," Cook says. You have to keep trying anyway.

As strange as it might sound, you have to work at having fun. Plan things you used to enjoy, even if they feel like a chore. Keep going to the movies. Keep going out with friends for dinner.

When you're depressed, you can lose the knack for enjoying life, Cook says. You have to relearn how to do it. In time, fun things really will feel fun again.

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Reviewed on July 02, 2014

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