Wondering how to cure depression? There are a number of effective lifestyle strategies you can take.
If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps for an extended period of time, you may be suffering from depression. You’re not alone, as millions of other Americans experience this common disorder. The bright side is that there are a number of effective lifestyle strategies you can take to fight depression.
Here are eight steps to help you find a cure for depression:
How to Cure Depression Tip #1: Exercise
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins and promote nerve cell growth. Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day can be just as effective at relieving symptoms of depression as many medications. Research also suggests that even moderate exercise can help, such as taking a light walk or gardening 20 to 30 minutes a day.
Table of contents
- 1 Get Your Depression Guide
- 2 My story:
- 3 But I battled serious, life-altering, situational depression twice after that.
- 4 But then depression hit again over a financial crisis my husband and I went through.
- 5 He helped me in a specific way: by showing me His cure for anxiety and depression. And He’ll help you in the exact same way.
- 6 Anxiety causes depression, but prayer cures anxiety. So if you want to be cured from either anxiety or depression, pray.
- 7 And He did more than take away my sorrows; He also gave me hope.
- 8 And the words the Lord spoke to me from the Bible–words of comfort, hope, and love–lifted me up and made my heart glad.
- 9 God healed me of anxiety and depression through prayer. And He wants to heal you the same way.
- 10 Don’t miss a thing! Sign up for free updates!
Get Your Depression Guide
Are you or a loved one suffering from constant sadness? Do you ever have difficulty concentrating or sometimes just feel helpless?
If so, claim your FREE copy, right now, of our definitive guide on depression.
How to Cure Depression Tip #2: Eat Healthy
Many processed foods and fast foods contain trans fat; a diet high in trans fat may increase your risk of depression. A study found that participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fat had a 48% increase in the risk of depression compared to participants who did not consume the same fats. Opt instead for a diet rich in foods with healthy polyunsaturated fats, such as fish and vegetable oils.
How to Cure Depression Tip #3: Get Adequate Sleep
Understandably, some people suffering from depression may have trouble sleeping due to stress and anxiety. On the other hand, some may find it difficult to get up in the morning, opting instead to stay in the comfort of a warm bed and dark room. The optimal amount of sleep for individuals from 18 to 64 years old is 7-9 hours a night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Aim to get that much rest on a daily basis.
How to Cure Depression Tip #4: Manage Stress
This may be easier said than done. Try to avoid negative people or environments that can trigger a stressful situation. A proven approach: Find an enjoyable, relaxing activity when you feel your stress levels getting too high. Go for a walk, take a bike ride, or meditate—and take a vacation or at least a long weekend when needed. Take a step back, regroup, and continue.
How to Cure Depression Tip #5: Let It Out
Don’t keep your feelings inside. Bottled-up grief or anger can build up until finally exploding. Talk to a family member, friend, or therapist, or even write down your thoughts in a journal. A good cry can also be very therapeutic.
How to Cure Depression Tip #6: Try Natural Remedies
There are multiple natural health remedies you can take to fight depression. St. John’s wort is a flower extract available in most pharmacies and health food stores. It can be helpful in relieving mild to moderate depression. However, some studies have shown mixed results in treating depression when compared to a placebo. Dopamine supplements can help increase your feelings of motivation and pleasure. Dopamine is naturally produced and released in the body when you approach and reach goals. When dopamine is released, it comes with a good feeling and a boost of energy. Supplements, such as L-Tyrosine, Rhodiola, Mucuna, and L-theanine, can help your body naturally produce dopamine. As is the case with traditional medication, natural supplements can also produce negative side effects. Consult your doctor before trying any natural depression remedy.
How to Cure Depression Tip #7: See a Specialist
You may have a close bond with your general practitioner; however, he or she may not be the best option for treating your depression. A psychiatrist, psychologist, psychiatric nurse, social worker, or therapist may be better suited for your needs. Find one in your local area and make an appointment, or ask your primary care doctor for a suggestion. There are also organizations that offer support groups, such as Anxiety and Depression Association of America and Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Local religious or community centers in your area may also offer support groups. The American Psychological Association offers a psychologist locator on their website. If you’re concerned about a loved one who may be suffering from depression, one way to help may be to compile a list of local resources that can offer help and give them gentle encouragement to seek it.
How to Cure Depression Tip #8: Medication
Doctors sometimes prescribe medication to overcome depression. These medications are most often used to adjust the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that lead to depression. The most common are antidepressants. Antidepressants are broken down into several classes, such as selective serotonin ieuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors (NDRIs), and reuptake inhibitors and receptor blockers. Your doctor will be able to prescribe a certain type of antidepressant based on the symptoms you are experiencing as well as your family history.
If your healthcare provider prescribes a medication to treat your depression symptoms, make sure you ask questions about possible side effects. Read more about depression medication here.
• • • • • • •
If you or a loved one are suffering from depression, it can be difficult to overcome. The first step, and most important, is recognizing and admitting that there is a problem. It’s also crucial to remember that there is no surefire cure for depression and certain treatments may work for some, and not others.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
THE UPLIFTING EXPERIENCE OF PET OWNERSHIP
For some of us, pets are not only loyal friends, but worthy stress-relievers. According to HelpGuide.org, dogs “can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, ease loneliness, encourage exercise and playfulness, and even improve your cardiovascular health.” The site points out that according to studies, “Dog owners are less likely to suffer from depression than those without pets.” Dogs help us to find meaning and joy in life, stay connected with others, and boost vitality. And Academia.edu tells us, “Simply interacting with a cat can improve a person’s mood and help make them feel better in general.”
It may surprise some, but our pets can experience depression, too. Our sister website for cat owners, Catster.com, offers an article called “Cat Depression—Signs, Causes, and How to Treat It.”
For related reading, check out these posts:
- 6 Tips to Conquer Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Symptoms
- Does Marijuana Cause Depression, or Can Marijuana Help Depression
- Fish: One of the Best Foods That Help Depression
Originally posted in 2016, this post is regularly updated.
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Dear reader, are you anxious or depressed? If so, did you know that God has a beautiful, healing cure for anxiety and depression that you can take advantage of TODAY?
I’m going to be very transparent with you today about my experience with anxiety and depression … and about God’s cure for both.
Before I gave my life to Jesus at age 21, I was chronically anxious and depressed. I felt hopeless and I even battled suicidal thoughts. I didn’t think that things could ever get better.
After I met Jesus, the chronic anxiety and depression went away. When I gave my heart to Jesus, I had hope all of a sudden. And I began to listen to good, solid teaching of the Word–especially from Joyce Meyer–and the Word took root in me, lifted me up, and changed me.
But I battled serious, life-altering, situational depression twice after that.
The first bout of situational depression–depression that was due to a horrible situation I was in, not a chronic state–happened because of a job I was in.
From 2002-2007, I worked in a professional job that wasn’t a good fit for me. For the first couple of years, my inspiration to succeed and climb the corporate ladder overrode the difficulty of the job, and I was okay. But after the first couple of years, the situation overwhelmed me.
The job was emotionally draining, and I was subjected to abuse from my customers all day every day at work–being cursed at, insulted, accused of all sorts of false things, and more. It was really horrible.
By the last couple of years of that job, I was really depressed, I got to the point where …
- I would cry for hours every day.
- I cried on my way to work.
- I cried all the way home.
- After work, I would sit on my sofa at home for hours and just stare into space, usually crying.
- I would have panic attacks at work so bad that I couldn’t breathe.
- My fuse was short.
- I shut down and couldn’t do anything.
I simply couldn’t function. It was horrible.
But thanks be to God, that depression ended in one moment when I got a new job in November 2007 … a job I still have, and enjoy, today.
But then depression hit again over a financial crisis my husband and I went through.
I won’t go into detail about the background (you can read about what happened to us here and here), but suffice it to say that it was horrible. When the situation started in 2008, my hopes for quick resolution drained out month by month … and I felt like all my hope for our future was draining away too.
I got very depressed. I didn’t understand why God didn’t fix things right away. I battled suicidal thoughts again, which God took away when a friend prayed for me. (Suicidal thoughts are always from a demon, and you can be delivered by driving that thing out; read the story here.)
Every day was a struggle. Every morning I went to the Lord, and every morning I threw myself at His feet, begging Him to help me.
And every day, He did. But you know what?
He helped me in a specific way: by showing me His cure for anxiety and depression. And He’ll help you in the exact same way.
Proverbs 12:25 and Philippians 4 describe God’s cure for anxiety and depression. Here’s the Biblical truth that God taught me–the truth that healed me from horrible, debilitating, paralyzing depression and anxiety:
Anxiety causes depression, but prayer cures anxiety. So if you want to be cured from either anxiety or depression, pray.
The Bible says:
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
But Philippians 4:6-7 tells us:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
When I was so depressed, EVERY. TIME. that I went to the Lord and poured out my heart to Him, He healed me for that moment.
During that time, every day in my quiet time, I would reach a place of peace and rest. It wasn’t until I went back to the same old thought patterns during the day (like “poor me, poor me, there’s no hope, God isn’t helping me”)–every one of which are lies from the enemy–that I got depressed again. (Keep in mind that it was sometimes a day before I went back to my old thought patterns, and sometimes it was only 10 minutes … hence the years of depression.) 🙁
But even after I went back to my old thought patterns, every time I went to the Lord in prayer–pouring out my heart to Him and laying my worries and cares at His feet–He took away my sorrows again. And again and again.
And He did more than take away my sorrows; He also gave me hope.
When I got alone with the Lord, prayed, and studied His Word, He spoke to me from the pages of Scripture. He spoke words of life, hope, peace, and joy directly into my spirit.
He said things to me like:
Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14).
“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I gave Egypt for your ransom, Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Since you were precious in My sight, you have been honored, and I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you, and people for your life’” (Isaiah 43:1-4).
“Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
And the words the Lord spoke to me from the Bible–words of comfort, hope, and love–lifted me up and made my heart glad.
Again, that’s why Proverbs 12:25 says:
Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25).
In November 2010, God delivered us from our horrible financial situation in one moment. But He had been working so much in me all along that, by the time He did, He had changed my heart. He had taken me from a place of anxiety and fear to a place of trust. He had made me completely dependent upon His Word, and strong enough to stand on His promises in faith, no matter what my circumstances looked like.
Through those years of prayer and falling on my face every morning, asking Him for help, He healed me. Healed me momentarily every time I prayed–and healed me permanently by changing my heart over time, and making my faith stronger than the pressure of horrible circumstances.
God healed me of anxiety and depression through prayer. And He wants to heal you the same way.
Beloved, you don’t have to be anxious or depressed. God has a cure for anxiety and depression, and His cure is available to you right this moment.
You can find His cure on your knees. You can receive His healing as soon as you pour out your heart to God: as you make your requests known to God in everything with prayer and supplication. If you will do that, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
When the anxiety goes, the depression will go too. And as you commune with Daddy God in the secret place and read the pages of Scripture, God will speak His good words into your heart and make you glad.
It works. I know. My life has been transformed by this truth. Will you embrace God’s cure for anxiety and depression today, and let His truth transform your life too?
Please leave a comment below if this message helps you today. I’d love to hear from you … and may our Daddy God comfort, encourage, and heal you today as you rest in His arms.
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You’ll get an email when new content is posted. You’ll also receive my free, printable blessing cards and my ebook–The Presence Seeker’s Creed–for free when you confirm!
Being depressed can make you feel helpless. You’re not. Along with therapy and sometimes medication, there’s a lot you can do on your own to fight back. Changing your behavior — your physical activity, lifestyle, and even your way of thinking — are all natural depression treatments.
These tips can help you feel better — starting right now.
1. Get in a routine. If you’re depressed, you need a routine, says Ian Cook, MD. He’s a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA.
Depression can strip away the structure from your life. One day melts into the next. Setting a gentle daily schedule can help you get back on track.
2.Set goals. When you’re depressed, you may feel like you can’t accomplish anything. That makes you feel worse about yourself. To push back, set daily goals for yourself.
“Start very small,” Cook says. “Make your goal something that you can succeed at, like doing the dishes every other day.”
As you start to feel better, you can add more challenging daily goals.
3. Exercise. It temporarily boosts feel-good chemicals called endorphins. It may also have long-term benefits for people with depression. Regular exercise seems to encourage the brain to rewire itself in positive ways, Cook says.
How much exercise do you need? You don’t need to run marathons to get a benefit. Just walking a few times a week can help.
4. Eat healthy. There is no magic diet that fixes depression. It’s a good idea to watch what you eat, though. If depression tends to make you overeat, getting in control of your eating will help you feel better.
Although nothing is definitive, Cook says there’s evidence that foods with omega-3 fatty acids (such as salmon and tuna) and folic acid (such as spinach and avocado) could help ease depression.
5. Get enough sleep. Depression can make it hard to get enough shut-eye, and too little sleep can make depression worse.
What can you do? Start by making some changes to your lifestyle. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Try not to nap. Take all the distractions out of your bedroom — no computer and no TV. In time, you may find your sleep improves.
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 help you maintain a lifestyle that can help counter depression. 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 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.
“Can I recover from depression without antidepressants?”
This is a question that many people ask me. They search the web, talk to their doctors, and seek alternative treatments, hoping that they can recover “on their own.” The answer to this question is both simple and very complicated. It often depends on the severity and persistence of depressive symptoms. Few people, in my experience, recover spontaneously and fully from depression entirely on their own. Reaching out for help is an important part of the recovery process. But getting help can take many forms, and what works for one person may not be the answer for another.
Studies show that psychotherapy can be as effective as medication in improving depressive symptoms, and the benefits tend to persist after treatment ends. Therapy addresses the root causes of depression, such as unresolved grief, anxiety, early childhood trauma, negative thinking, poor self-image, loss of meaning, and relationship difficulties. Therapy can also help to improve coping skills and resilience. But for severe or persistent depression, both therapy and medication may be needed for a complete recovery. This article will talk about what individuals should consider when deciding whether to take antidepressants for treatment of depression or whether another approach might work as well.
1. Severe, debilitating depression warrants a consultation with a doctor.
When a person comes into my office complaining that he or she is depressed, it is important to assess the severity of the depression. Severe depression with suicidal thoughts needs to be taken much more seriously and warrants a consultation with a medical professional regarding possible medication. Severe depression is a life-threatening condition and should be treated as such.
In addition, depression with severe insomnia may require medication. Without adequate sleep, it is extremely difficult to recover from depression. There are strategies that can greatly improve sleep in some cases, but if sleep does not improve quickly, medication may be required to prevent a worsening of depressive symptoms.
2. There are effective non-drug treatment options for mild to moderate depression.
Many people with mild to moderate depression, where sleep is adequate, can recover from depression with talk therapy and adjunctive strategies such as exercise, improved nutrition, mindfulness techniques, sunlight or light therapy, support from friends, family or a support group, and lifestyle changes. All individuals with depression should rule out a medical issue which may contribute to their depressed mood. Many medical problems, including vitamin deficiencies and hormone imbalances, can contribute to depression. Getting a thorough physical exam to rule out a medical cause is important.
If there is no clear medical cause, psychotherapy which focuses on improving self-care, reengaging in pleasurable and meaningful activities, and managing negative thoughts can be helpful in many cases. Working on issues that are impacting relationships with friends, loved ones, and family can also greatly relieve depression in some individuals. And for some, exploring and resolving unresolved grief or early childhood trauma may be important. Other approaches that can contribute to recovery include bodywork, acupuncture or other alternative medical approaches, meditation, yoga, or spiritual exploration.
3. Taking medication for depression, when needed, should not be viewed as a failure.
However, it is important to recognize that depression is an issue as serious as diabetes, epilepsy, or even cancer. Because it involves mood, thoughts, and behavior, it can often be treated through those channels. But there are also genetic and environmental factors that make some individuals susceptible to depression and which may result in a more persistent condition that is more difficult to treat.
Just as other conditions sometimes require medication for their treatment, depression may also require medication to fully resolve. And it is important to recover fully rather than settle for persistent mild depression. Persistent depression can become chronic and more severe over time as the brain becomes accustomed to the depressed state. Therapy and medication combined have the highest success rate in terms of resolving depression, and when therapy alone is not sufficient, it may help to consult with a doctor or psychiatrist to discuss medication options.
It is important to remember that, when it comes to treating depression, there is no prize for recovering “better” than another person. Recovering without therapy, without medication—literally “on your own”—does not earn you any awards. The prize is being emotionally healthy. It’s important to recognize the impact that our society’s attitudes toward mental health conditions, psychotherapy, and psychotropic medications may have on your decision-making. How you recover is a personal choice, based on your own needs in consultation with trusted professionals. Your choice should be made from a place of compassion and self-love.
For help with depression, find a therapist in your area.
- De Jonghe, F., Kool, S., Aalst, G., et al (2001). Combining psychotherapy and antidepressants in the treatment of depression. Journal of Affective Disorders, 64, 217-229.
- De Maat S, Dekker J, Schoevers R, De Jonghe F. Relative efficacy of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy in the treatment of depression: a meta-analysis. Psychother Res. 2006; 16(5): 562–572.
- Spielmans, G. (2011, October 1). Antidepressants Versus Psychotherapy for Depression. Retrieved October 18, 2014, from
© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Meri Levy, LMFT, therapist in Lafayette, California
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.