Did you know that 40 million adults in the US suffer from a form of anxiety? Mental health struggles are much more common than we think and 450,000 monthly searches are made each month for ‘anxiety’ and ‘depression’ as well as a further 9,900 from those looking for ‘natural antidepressants’.
Wellness and relaxation specialists at CFAH.org have pulled together a guide for those struggling with the symptoms of anxiety and depression. This includes natural remedies and lifestyle changes which can be tried at home as well as an insight into what you can expect from professional help.
If you are stuck in a monotonous routine which is leaving you feeling down, make some low level changes which suit your lifestyle but offer some great wellbeing benefits. Allocating time to practice mindfulness or undergo gentle exercise like yoga are great activities for reducing stress and alleviating depression.
It is also important to make time for what you love, planning out your weekend or allocating an hour in the evening of me-time. Whether you love art, journaling or a particular sport, make sure to make time for your hobbies to lift your mood and give you something fun to focus on.
Your diet can also have a huge impact on your mood so fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to leave you energized and ready for the day. Say goodbye to excess carbs, caffeine and fast food which will leave you feeling sluggish and instead tuck into plenty of fruit, veggies and protein to fuel the brain and give you a boost.
Although there are endless home remedies and old wives tales out there, which of them actually work? Here are a handful of effective remedies which are easily accessible and can make a big difference to your mental wellbeing:
- Omega-3 fatty acids
Found in fish such as salmon and tuna, omega-3 contains anti-inflammatory properties which are shown to elevate your mood. Their natural antidepressant effects can help lessen the symptoms you are feeling so tuck into an omega-3 filled lunch for the boost you need.
Dating back through the centuries, lavender is a popular natural remedy which is particularly great for sleep quality. The relaxing aroma can be inhaled to calm the mind and help you drift off into a deeper sleep, giving the body time to recuperate so you can wake up feeling refreshed.
CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the safest natural antidepressants which is great for reducing anxiety and depression. It contains the non-intoxicating properties of the cannabis plant but unlike THC, is fully legal and does not leave you feeling ‘high’.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
If you are struggling to overcome depression or anxiety on your own, there is plenty of help out there for those who need it. Cognitive behavioral therapy consists of talking with a trained professional in an aim to change the negative thought patterns that you are suffering with, gradually training your brain to develop positive responses in situations which cause you stress.
Your therapist will work with you to tackle any mental blocks you have put in place and encourage you to face your fears instead of running from them. You will also be shown a range of techniques which you can practice when feeling particularly anxious or depressed, learning to relax your body so you can cope with your emotions.
If your doctor believes it is the best approach, antidepressants can be prescribed which alter the way the brain controls the communication between neurons. By blocking the signals which create the symptoms of anxiety and depression, they are proven to elevate your mood and help you achieve a better quality of life.
The dose you are given will vary depending on your doctor’s advice but it is important to give the medication time to kick in. Many antidepressants don’t act straight away and results tend to be noticeable after around two weeks, sometimes even longer.