10 Natural Solutions to Overcome Depression and Anxiety

Natural Solutions

Feeling more depressed and anxious these days? Join the club. The numbers of people feeling blue and nervous are skyrocketing. In fact, research shows that from August 2020 to February 2021, the percentage of American adults reporting symptoms of major depressive disorder or an anxiety disorder jumped from 36.4% to 41.5%. For most people, it’s a double whammy as anxiety and depression occur together 75% of the time, according to brain SPECT imaging findings at Amen Clinics.

 

Anxiety and depression occur together 75% of the time, according to brain SPECT imaging findings at Amen Clinics. Click To Tweet

To overcome low moods and anxiousness, many people turn to antidepressants or anti-anxiety pills, or both. But prescription medications aren’t the only way to decrease depression and anxiety. Here are 10 science-backed natural solutions that can boost moods and calm anxiety.

10 NATURAL WAYS TO HELP ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

1. Eat more veggies and fruits.

Mom was right when she told you to eat your veggies. A 2020 systematic review concluded that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables is associated with greater overall mental health, including improvements in both depression and anxiety.

2. Eliminate processed and artificial foods.

You have to eat right to feel right. This means ditching unhealthy, fake foods that drive depression and anxiety. A 2019 French study found that as consumption of ultra-processed foods go up, so does depression. Research in Nutritional Neuroscience suggests there is a link between the artificial sweetener aspartame and several neurophysiological symptoms, including anxiety and depression.

3. Say “om.”

A Johns Hopkins review of existing scientific research shows that meditating for 30 minutes a day has beneficial effects on symptoms of both anxiety and depression.

4. Practice prayer.

Prayer can have a powerful and long-lasting effect on depression and anxiety. According to a 2012 study, depressed and anxious people who participated in an intervention involving 1-hour prayer sessions for 6 weeks saw a significant reduction in their symptoms as well as an increase in optimism. Even more promising, the positive improvements were maintained a year after the completion of the prayer intervention.

5. Breathe.

You may be aware that deep breathing promotes relaxation and reduces stress, but did you know it can also improve depression and anxiety? A 2016 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found that a yogic breathing practice helped fight treatment-resistant depression (people who did not respond fully to medication treatment), and it also lowered anxiety symptoms. This breathing technique centers on alternating between slow, calm breaths and fast, stimulating breaths.

6. Kill the ANTs.

Automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) infest your mind and fuel blue moods, anxiousness, and stress. Whenever you feel sad, mad, nervous, or out of control, write down what you’re thinking. Then, use an elegantly simple yet powerful strategy to challenge your thoughts developed by Byron Katie and ask yourself, “Is it true?” Chances are, you’ll find that these intrusive thoughts aren’t true at all.

7. Get moving.

Physical activity lifts moods and eases anxiousness. Research in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine points to exercise as a first-line treatment for mild to moderate depression and as an effective alternative treatment for anxiety disorders.

8. Add saffron to your daily supplements.

Scientific evidence supports the use of nutraceuticals to promote healthy moods and relaxation. One supplement that has positive effects on both anxiousness and depression is saffron, according to a 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis. The review authors suggest that “saffron could be an effective intervention for symptoms of depression and anxiety,” however, they add that more trials are necessary.

9. Optimize omega-3 levels.

Another key nutritional supplement that does double duty is omega-3 fatty acids. A 2018 study in JAMA Open Network found that supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids improves symptoms of clinical anxiety. Similarly, findings from a 2019 meta-analysis point to the beneficial effects of omega-3 fatty acids on symptoms of depression. You can check your omega-3 levels by taking the Omega-3 Index blood test.

10. Try neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback is a form of biofeedback that assesses brainwave activity in real-time and helps you gain control of your brainwaves to reach a desired brain state. A 2017 review shows that neurofeedback has the potential to treat both depression and anxiety.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

6 Comments »

  1. Excellent suggestions to reduce anxiety and depression. Saffron is so yummy on the rice. I have done it for years in my cooking. Meditation through praying is very powerful and soothing. Focus on healthy eating is another great recommendations. Thank you so much for the kind and supportive connections.
    Warmest Regards,

    Fatemah

    Comment by Fatemah Sedighi — January 21, 2022 @ 4:23 AM

  2. What are vegetables? I was born and raised in Coahoma County, Mississippi and grew up eating home-grown produce such as corn, butter beans, purple hull peas, potatoes, okra, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, homemade biscuits and cornbread. I understand these to be starches or carbs. Everything that I listed is detrimental in so many ways including inflammation. Help

    Comment by Sandra Joan Bobbitt — January 21, 2022 @ 9:14 PM

  3. The prayer sessions works fine very well especially if can they can be with two or more people.

    Comment by Rufus Jefferson — January 22, 2022 @ 3:11 AM

  4. Hi,
    I had heard of many of these methods before except for optimizing Omega 3 in the diet and/or using saffron. I have heard of the health benefts of Omega 3s for heart health, reduction of bad fats, bad cholesterol, etc. but not as it relates to optimizing brain health or possibly helping to reduce anxiety or depression. As for saffron, I will look forward to giving this a try – I like saffron but often forget about using it or when I do, I’m often horrified at the price for this spice at the grocery store but if it helps fight depression and/or anxiety, perhaps I’ll ignore my disgust at the price and try to use more saffron in my diet. I once purchased fresh saffron imported from Spain that I discovered at a local spice shop close to where I live and although very pricey, the flavor was wonderful. I don’t recall any particular change in my mood but perhaps you would have to use the spice on a daily or at least every other day basis to see any actual benefit with respect to mood.

    Thanks for the informative, short article. Oh, one last thing, the best thing I’ve ever found to help with both anxiety and depression is exercise which your articles notes. For me, it’s just a question of getting and staying motivated. Walking outside seems to help me the most of all as there’s something about getting outside and getting some fresh air that is beneficial to mood for some reason. I think human beings were not made to be inside all the time and the older I get, the more I’m convinced of the benefits in many ways, both physical and mental, of getting exercise, especially in the out of doors.

    Anyway, thanks again and take care.

    Best,
    Barbara

    Comment by Barbara Diane Day — January 22, 2022 @ 4:14 AM

  5. I am 74 and have battled sexual performance anxiety for years. Help

    Comment by C. Courtney Trotter — January 23, 2022 @ 4:19 PM

  6. Quite a beautiful blog!! a blog on stress and anxiety Aside from keeping you in shape and increasing muscle mass, exercising has a variety of benefits. Exercise combined with supplements such as Melatonin can help you maintain good physical health and shape. People who exercise on a daily basis are more likely to be content with their lives, especially when supplemented with a natural form of the world’s first 175mg Ashwagandha gummies for stress relief in order to stay healthy and stronger!

    Comment by Anagha Anu — March 23, 2022 @ 11:10 PM

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