Last Updated on January 8, 2018 by Michael Brockbank
Health and fitness doesn’t merely help you fine-tune the body. It also contributes to stabilizing your mental state. This includes brain processing power, memory and your overall moods. In reality, it’s easy to combat depression and other issues by maintaining healthier practices.
Therapists will often prescribe exercise to deal with various mental issues. This is because of how fitness impacts the brain overall. From eating better to getting enough physical movement, it all contributes to a more stable mindset.
How to Combat Depression
If you don’t want to jump on the prescription drug bandwagon, there are a number of things you can do to combat depression. Although I still suggest at least seeing a counselor, health and fitness have helped many people regulate mood swings.
Here are just a handful of things you can do to overcome being miserable.
1.Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Studies show that omega-3 fatty acid supplements improve the mindset of those suffering from bipolar depression. These changes were found to be highly significant in most cases, meaning it’s worth further exploration.
Omega-3s are often found in:
- Many types of fish: like salmon and other seafoods
- Certain types of eggs
- Canola oil
These are just a few things you can eat to increase your omega-3 intake. There are plenty more, and you might want to spend time researching and coming up with some recipes of your own.
What about a walnut-encrusted salmon cooked in canola oil?
2. Getting More Vitamin B-12
Some studies demonstrate a correlation between depression and vitamin B-12 deficiency. B-complex vitamins are already available in many “mood enhancing” products to begin with. This is because evidence shows how things like folic acid and B-12 improve a person’s mental state.
Luckily, vitamin B-12 is stored in the liver for years. It’s the only water-soluble vitamin that isn’t excreted from our bodies. This means it’s one of those elements our bodies can rely on when intake levels are low.
The best ways to get vitamin B-12 include:
- Most energy or B-complex enriched drinks: Personally, I like Emerge and the Kirkland brand sparkling waters.
- Chicken: which I use in just about everything.
- Eggs: one of my favorite breakfasts
- Many types of fish or other seafood: including trout, salmon and crab
- Instant Cream of Wheat: in the form of folic acid, one of my staples.
- Coffee Latte
- Swiss Cheese
3. Get More Exercise
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that demonstrates how exercise can combat depression. It also contributes to improving mental capacity such as processing information and memory.
Some experts associate intense workouts with the production of the hormone, endorphin. This hormone is the body’s natural pain killer, and it’s released during various activities. Some people will even produce endorphin simply by eating hot peppers.
You’ve probably heard the term, “Runner’s High” in the past. This is the euphoric sensation a marathon runner gets towards the end of a grueling race. In a way, it acts much the same way as opioids – which is why many therapists recommend exercise in lieu of medication.
4. Get More Quality Sleep
Sleep greatly affects a person’s ability to comprehend, think rationally and maintain a “better” mood. In fact, a lack of sleep can cause a myriad of issues in the body from the brain to your blood pressure.
Now, there is a difference between sleep and quality sleep. You can lay down and rest for eight hours and still wake up in a foul and groggy mood. This is because your sleep patterns are affected by comfort, external noises, temperature and other factors.
Just because you’re tucked in at night doesn’t mean you’ll feel refreshed in the morning.
Finding good sleeping patterns is time-consuming but worth the effort in the long run. You’ll feel better mentally and physically while being able to face the day with greater focus.
5. Get Into Hobbies You Love
Hobbies are incredibly powerful ways to combat depression and stress. Of course, it all depends on the hobby you take up. In fact, many people will turn exercise and fitness into a hobby – which delivers profound results across the board.
Picking up a hobby is a way to get your mind to focus on something outside of your depression. It’s a way to give your mind a break while concentrating on something you have control over.
Nearly anything is usable as a hobby. Cooking, reading, blogging, models and more are all things you have control over allowing you to take a break and perfect a skill.
In fact, I know someone who collected “Magic: The Gathering” cards years before he actually learned how to play. He simply liked the artwork.
6. Shake Up Your Routine
A lot of us will sink slowly into a depressed state because we’re in a rut. It’s often our daily routines that keep us in a negative frame of mind. In this instance, doing something different may be a great way to combat depression.
I can fully relate to this point. My depression drove me into an abyss and one of the results was my heart stopping for a brief moment. While you probably don’t need to go to the lengths I did to shake up your routine, I know moving to Los Angeles for a few months did wonders on my mental stability.
Shaking up your routine is anything outside of your norm. If you lock yourself up in the house all day, go out to a movie or a walk in the park. Go window shopping downtown and explore your area. Just do something that breaks up the monotony of your day.
7. Get More Sunlight
Although there is debate on the impact serotonin makes for depression, a lot of studies still support how it influences the mind. Low serotonin levels are often found in those who combat depression as well as other negative emotions.
Bright Light treatment is one method of helping people deal with seasonal depression. In essence, high-intensity light increases serotonin levels in the body. As a result, an individual is usually more at peace and in a better mood. One of the best forms of this style of treatment is getting more sun.
If you cannot get more sunlight due to your location, try to make the room appear more illuminated. A bright LED bulb will help your mood while reducing your electricity bill if you need to keep it on all day.
Fitness Goes Beyond Fat Burn
A lot of people will dive into diets and exercise simply because of the aspect of burning fat. You’ll also often find fewer forlorn individuals who work out regularly and eat right. I’m not saying exercise will cure your depression overnight. However, it will vastly increase your chances of overcoming a lot of mental issues. Take care of yourself and give your body and mind what it needs.
You have all the tools you need to combat depression. Now you just need to use them.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4471964/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2077351/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19499625 https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/herbs-vitamins-and-supplements-used-to-enhance-mood#2 https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002403.htm https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201310/25-studies-confirm-exercise-prevents-depression https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression#1