I’ve had depression for half my life. Since I was 12, I’ve been diagnosed twice. I have chosen not to get treated or medicated for it. Instead, I have always wanted to “beat this thing.”
Unfortunately, for a lot of us, it’s not ever going away. This is a reality that you have to face.
But I have had some really fucking good periods in my life where it seems that the clouds have vanished. And I have noticed a few things that contributed to that less fogged world.
Most of it revolves around “Happy-Brain Chemicals.” These are chemicals that our bodies can produce naturally to elevate our moods.
They are dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin.
One of the biggest things that has helped make my depression bearable is eating healthily. I’m talking about eating all the fruits and vegetables.
There are studies that eating a more plant-based diet can help with depression AND help prevent suicide.
Eating healthy activates dopamine and serotonin.
Along with eating healthy, you need to sweat. Exercising can be combined with other factors on this list. You can work towards a fitness goal and you can exercise outside.
Exercising helps produce dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin (group activities or working out with a partner) and serotonin. <– All four chemicals, baby!
Meditation has helped me recently. Clearing my mind for a few minutes has helped a big deal.
Meditating can activate dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin (if doing “metta” meditation).
Working Towards a Goal
Keeping busy and working towards something heps me get out of bed a little easier. It also feels really really good when you can cross something off of a checklist.
Stressing over money can trigger negative feelings. I’m feeling good when I am able to pay all the bills and stick to a budget.
Sunshine gives you your essential vitamin D. When I can go outdoors and take in nature and the wind, it lets me be grateful that I am still here.
Sunshine activates dopamine and serotonin.
Having activities to do involving other people to help me get out of the house feels really good. Terrifying at first, anxiety-inducing to the way there, but then really good during and after.
Making plans is especially good when it involves volunteer work.
Being around others and having a good time triggers endorphins (through laughter) and oxytocin.
Sleep, Of Course
I don’t think I need to write a lot about sleep. You know it’s important to get your 7-8 hours.
Whatever amount is your optimal number, strive for it.
Sleep helps with dopamine.
Keep Reaching for Happy
What this article is really saying is that you should strive to get doped up on dopamine. But don’t forget about the other chemicals because THEY DO HELP.
The times where all these factors fall into place are the times where I think I’m cured of depression. I feel THAT good!
Of course, these are not a cure, but some things to help you get out of bed sometimes 🙂