Holistic approaches for depression?
Question: I’ve been taking medication for depression, but what are some more holistic ways for me to deal with it?
Answer: I’m not a medical doctor nor psychologist, so I can only give you some suggestions. But first, I completely support taking medication to start feeling better. Ernest Holmes, founder of Science of Mind said something to the effect of, “You might as well feel better while you’re getting better.” The medication will give extra energy to help think straight. And until that happens, healing can’t happen.
Studies are finding that much of depression is caused by the way we think, and what we think about. A thought always precedes a feeling, even if the thought is a fraction of a second long. It can create a downward spiral that results in depression. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David Burns, M.D. has exercises to help you turn those thoughts around. Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman, Ph.D. discusses much of the research into this.
Walking or exercise is also effective to improve one’s mood. They’ve done studies that have shown that walking 30 minutes a day 3-5 times a week (depending on the study) is as effective, by itself, as antidepressants. But when you’re feeling so down, you can’t get yourself moving, which is why medication can help jumpstart you.
One more suggestion, do some journaling. It’s been found to help depression when you write about your feelings about the traumatic events of your life. Not just about the experience, but your feelings about it. By itself, it doesn’t help PTSD a lot, but it does help. Write 15-20 minutes on at least four consecutive days, preferably in the morning.
A final note, STOP MENTALLY BEATING YOURSELF UP! If you notice you’re getting negative, so what? Condemning yourself for it will just give it more energy. Start writing down what your negative thoughts are, and then you can see if they’re valid.
~ Linda-Ann Stewart