Depression, anxiety, and other forms of mental discomfort can be alleviated by every-day self care. Many clinical studies show that the following activities are good for the brain. Use these by themselves or in conjunction with counseling.
If you have severe depression or anxiety, the suggestions below may seem impossible. You may rely on junk food to feel good or dread socializing. If this is the case, you should consider counseling and/or see a doctor about an anti-depressant. Don’t beat yourself up for not exercising or not being able to control your eating. See a counselor and take baby steps. When you get to the point that you are feeling a bit better, add in one good habit at a time, at a pace that you are comfortable with. Focus on what you are doing well, not on what you aren’t doing perfectly.
1. Exercise: Regular exercise has been proven at least as effective as medication.
2. Good sleep: Going to bed and waking at regular times can stave off anxiety and depression.
3. Eating healthy: You are what you eat. Getting enough vitamins and minerals and limiting junk is good for your brain. Also, some people find that sugar, white flour, artificial sweeteners or other foods cause them to feel bad. Experiment with your diet to see what works best for you.
4. Limiting caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. They are literally as strong as some prescription medications. Taking these can exacerbate or create symptoms of anxiety or depression.
5. Socializing with people you care about: Spending time with loved ones gives your brain a healthy boost.
6. Religious practice: Studies show that prayer, meditation, scripture reading and other spiritual practice can help foster healthy brain function.
7. Positive physical touch: Cuddling with a loved one or even a pet will boost oxytocin and other brain chemicals. Sex is also good for your mood–of course as long as its in a responsible, healthy relationship!