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Depression is one of the most common concerns in mental health today. While depression is the natural reaction to certain situations, like the death of a loved one or other major life changes, it becomes problematic when it’s the reaction to much more minor situations and when the condition dominates most of your conscious awareness.
Learn about a holistic approach to depression paired with a number of tips and suggested remedies for managing and preventing depression altogether. But first we need to define depression and explain a little bit about what triggers it in today’s hectic world.
Definition of Depression
Depression: general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness, dullness or inactivity.
Depression is an emotional state of melancholy that allows the body, mind, and soul to recuperate after a terrible loss of something important, either tangible or intangible. We often refer to depression as a feeling of sadness. Again, this is a normal, even necessary condition that results from the many experiences in human life. However, depression becomes a problem when the melancholy mood persists beyond a reasonable amount of time to provide necessary rest or when the symptoms of depression appear without any specific or obvious cause. Note that depression is often a reaction to anxiety. Therefore, these mental and emotional disorders often go hand in hand.
Based on this more traditional definition of depression, it is difficult to understand why the symptoms seem to appear out of “nowhere”. Many times people experience depression symptoms, but deny them by saying “but I don’t have any reason to feel this way”. However, your reason for experiencing sadness is no less important to you than someone else’s situation is for them. You must be attentive to the treatment of your symptoms, no matter the cause, so that they do not worsen over time.
What Are the Causes of Depression?
We have to broaden the definition in order to see how depression is the result of more subtle causes. In a nutshell, the chaotic busyness of today’s modern life creates stress, and the brain interprets stress as the threat of danger and/or loss. In other words, stress is the major cause of depression in the Western world.
Whether or not you have any so-called “valid reason” to feel depressed, the brain interprets your reaction to stress as a significant loss, and quite often, the threat of pending danger. For example, you may not consciously be aware that deep down you are longing for peace, quiet, and solitude. But the pressures of your days with the endless demands of work, family, social obligations and other duties leave you feeling that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. You are spread too thin and you know you are stressed out. Over time, if you don’t relieve this stress, it wears you down and can cause both anxiety and depression.
Subconsciously in your mind, stress creates conditions of mourning, a longing for peace and order that is lacking in your life. By the time you realize you are depressed, your natural reserves of rebound energies are so depleted that you cannot easily “just get over it”. In fact, your physical chemistry is literally altered by the feelings.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression often reveals itself as fatigue. Even when you have enough sleep, you desire to sleep more. Depression is an overall lethargic state of being. Both anxiety and depression can cause insomnia, headaches and other physical pain, lack of appetite, irritability, and an overall gloomy perception of the world. Clearly these symptoms all affect your quality of life.
Recognizing Symptoms of Depression
In either case, you simply cannot talk yourself out of the symptoms. When depression or anxiety has taken over your whole being, you are truly disabled in your normal functioning. The first step in finding a cure is recognizing your symptoms, recognize that what you are experiencing is real and identify it as anxiety and/or depression.
Depression is a serious mental health disorder and it requires serious attention and deliberate intention to overcome. Fortunately, the medical community and most of society have come to admit the reality and the severity of the illness. In our world dominated by Western medicine, we hear a lot about pharmaceutical drugs that are designed to reorder your brain’s chemistry to set it back on balance. But what if you want a more natural way to restore your mental health?
holistic approach to depression
There are many natural remedies for depression which may be an option or a good place to start. Important Note: if you suffer from depression, we advise you seek the advice from your doctor before starting a course of holistic treatment to make sure it is the best path for you.
There are also many ways to be proactive about preventing anxiety which should go hand-in-hand with any stress management approach.
You may not be able to change your job, fix all your personal relationships, find a quick fix for your financial woes, or create more hours in your days (these are the major stressors in most people’s lives), however, you can make changes in your lifestyle that will help you better manage those concerns. Exercise and diet, for example, have a tremendous effect on how you feel. Prioritize yourself so you do things regularly that you enjoy. This also has a powerful impact and can work towards freeing you from the chains of depression.
Natural Herbs (see our article on Herbs for Anxiety and Depression) can be used to reduce many of the symptoms associated with depression, including anxiety, sleeplessness, digestion, and more.
Drink plenty of water and tea to keep your mind alert, your body healthy and your sleep more peaceful. We recommend trying Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea which promotes relaxing, calms your nervous system and is a natural alternative to sleeping pills.
Meditation or any mindfulness practice can reduce stress by grounding you in the present moment versus dwelling on the past or worrying about what may happen in the future. Yoga is a great way to experience a meditative breathing approach while also exercising the body – tackling two birds with one stone and reaping vast benefits.
One other possible holistic solution might be to try hypnotherapy from a certified clinical hypnotherapist. Learn more about what hypnotherapy is and how it works from Jennifer Schaefer, C.Ht.
By taking a holistic approach to remedying your depression, you can better understand the source and thereby the cause of your depression. This doesn’t mean medicine, whether natural or pharmaceutical, won’t help – but medications, in most cases, only address the underlying symptoms rather than getting to the core of the cause. For most people, positive lifestyle changes may ultimately free you from the bonds of depression.
Do you have any holistic approaches that have worked well for you? Share your recommendations with us!