6 Ideas for Overcoming Depression Without Medication

With more than 21 million adults in the United States experiencing major depression,  it needs to be something that we talk about without fear of judgement and fear. After all, it can affect any of us.  Some of the signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Sadness that you can’t seem to shift
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Guilt
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Loss of interest 

The problem is, lots of people who suffer from depression do not want to take medication. There is nothing wrong with medication – for so many people, it is the only thing that can help if all other avenues have been explored. However, we often tend to jump straight to medication to treat depression without trying out other things first. In some cases, depression can be overcome without the use of medication and a few fairly simple lifestyle changes. In this article, we will look at six ways to overcome depression without the use of medication.

1. Take steps to reduce stress levels

Stress, according to a 2012 study conducted with students, had a negative impact on mental health, life satisfaction, and general health, the researchers discovered.

However, even though it is not always possible to avoid stress, taking steps to do so may be beneficial. These are some examples:

  • obtaining sufficient sleep and rest
  • developing the ability to say “no” to extra requests
  • practising breathing techniques and meditation 
  • taking breaks from work
  • exercising on a regular basis

2. Make sure you are getting enough sleep

Sleep and depression. are inextricably linked. If you get too little of the former, your mood is almost certain to suffer, whether or not you experience depression at the time. Make sure you practice what sleep specialists refer to as “good sleep hygiene.” in an effort to enhance your emotional well-being. 

Keeping consistent bedtimes and wake-up hours, making sure your bedroom is conducive to quality sleep, having a peaceful bedtime routine that does not include sitting in front of a device are all examples of good sleep hygiene.

3. Exercise regularly and eat properly

A nutritious diet may aid in the prevention of depression and the enhancement of mental well-being. According to a 2019 study, dietary adjustments may have a role to play in the treatment of depression. Aim to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy fats, whole grain foods and oily fish.

Increasing physical activity does not necessarily imply training for a marathon; rather, it entails engaging in a half-hour or so of low-intensity activity each day, which has been shown to be useful in boosting mood. 

4. Practice mindfulness

More and more studies indicate that mindfulness (paying attention to your present thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judging them) has the potential to improve depression in people who are suffering from it. A number of studies have suggested that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy is equally effective as medication in preventing depression relapse among adults who have a history of recurrent depression as well as in reducing depressive symptoms among those who are currently experiencing active depression.

5. Think about your relationships

A person’s ability to manage the symptoms of depression is enhanced by having strong and healthy relationships. In certain cases, these interactions can even have a significant impact on whether or not a person becomes depressed.

Their presence provides us with a support network – someone to talk to and loved ones on whom we can rely when times are tough. They can assist us in maintaining our perspective and making us feel less alone in general. Relationships with friends and family are at the top of the list, according to the Office for National Statistics, when it comes to what matters most to our well-being. 

People who are in difficult relationships, on the other hand, are three times more likely than those who are not to suffer from depression, according to research. Relationships that are unhappy or unsupportive are a risk factor for developing depression. 

6. Set small goals – and chase them

No matter where you are on your journey to overcoming depression, working toward specific goals can help you live the life you want. You can start with setting one small goal to accomplish each day, such as writing down three things you are grateful for in your journal or going to bed ten minutes earlier. Aim for SMART goals – make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Based

As you put these coping techniques into action, keep in mind that you are on the road to recovery from depression.

Patients who invent a rationale for why they are unable to accomplish these tasks, on the other hand, are more likely to experience depression. Doing many of these things every day — even when you do not feel like it — is critical to the treatment of depression, regardless of whatever medication you are taking. 

Seek Help

You don’t need to battle depression alone. Seek the help of a professional counselor who can make you feel more empowered, fulfilled, and able to take on the challenges of the world.   We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation with an anxiety specialist. You can schedule your appointment via phone, or the contact page on our website

Self Care Impact Counseling envisions a new age of counseling for adolescents, adults, couples & groups that makes a REAL difference with core values of GROWTH | BALANCE | COMPASSION | INNER HARMONY.

Author, Alayna Baillod, LCSW, EMDRIA Approved EMDR Consultant/Therapist, Level 1 & 2 Gottman Couples Therapy, Trained in Emotion- Focused Therapy, CBT, DBT, IFS (Internal Family Systems), Attachment Theory, Narrative Therapy, Solution-Focused Therapy.  Alayna is as real as-it-gets!  Clients see Alayna as down-to-Earth, relatable, having a good sense of humor (and using it!) and confident in sharing her therapeutic expertise. She is an extensively trained, passionate therapist who strives to meet clients where they’re at while providing an appropriate amount of challenge to gently push clients to grow beyond their comfort zone. You can expect a supportive, guiding and grounded presence in the therapy room with Alayna.