Nature’s Prozac: Natural Antidepressants
Updated: May 19
I field questions frequently about natural antidepressants. With the hours of daylight decreasing and that terrible topic of winter just around the corner, I can already feel myself starting to freak out with the loss of sunlight. Here are a few tips for improving your moods, reducing depression and improving your mental health without antidepressants.
Before too many people get upset, do people need antidepressants on occasion? Of course. However, I just received an email from my own health insurance company Blue Cross Blue Shield that they are now available from the online clinic doctors that read emails patients send them without ever meeting the person. What a crock of garbage. It amazes me that a health professional, MD, nurse practitioner or otherwise feels like they are qualified to write prescriptions for brain altering medications without even looking their patient in the eyes. Antidepressants shouldn’t be the first step for most people. There are a lot of natural antidepressants that are frequently helpful.
The number one natural antidepressant that we know of is exercise. If you are feeling punky, anxious, sad, depressed please do yourself a favor and exercise. A study out of Harvard University found exercise to be just as effective and with longer lasting effects than Zoloft. http://www.health.harvard.edu/UD On top of that, it wasn’t just a study done with slightly depressed people. Many of them had severe depression.
One of the most underrated natural antidepressants is sunlight. If you live in a climate that sees short hours of sunlight and lots of cloudy days and you notice yourself starting to feel extra sad this time of year, I recommend a sunlight for your desk. I use SunTouch Plus Desk Light in my office. I affectionately refer to is as my anti-murder light. It keeps me happy. Best $79 I have ever spent. Quite honestly, it worked so well, I bought two so I have one at home for non-work days. When the days grow shorter, I sit in front of it for the first 20 minutes in my office while I answer emails.
Let’s talk about a food that aggravates depression. Sugar. If you are prone to depression, stay away from it. First, it causes peaks and valleys in your glucose metabolism and the highs and lows will bring you up really quick and slam you down even faster. Also, it takes Vitamin B to process sugar. when you use up your Vitamin B processing sugar, you don’t have as much to regulate your moods.
If you follow these tips, odds are you will feel much better. On top of that, if you are prone to depression find a psychologist or licensed mental health therapist you trust. It amazes me the stigma some people still feel about finding help this way. What could possibly be better than someone who is forced to listen to your problems and and spend 50 straight minutes only talking about you?
The bottom line is that if you are depressed, get help. Changes in exercise, diet and activities can make a huge difference as well as identifying and dealing with your problems with the help of a psychologist.