With the death of both beloved fashion designer Kate Spade and CNN's Anthony Bourdain, it seems depression is creeping up on even the most unsuspecting of victims. According to The New York Times, suicide has risen sharply in the past decade, especially among baby boomers. Although the increase isn't as staggering among millennials, it wouldn't hurt to take extra measures to create a healthy routine to insulate yourself against such life-threatening thoughts. I myself have struggled with an immobilizing depression and have found some game-changing ways to pull myself out of it without the aid of prescription medication. Here are some methods:
The last thing anyone wants to do when they're depressed is to move, but according to The American Psychological Association, "research shows that exercise can... help alleviate long-term depression." Moreover, running for 10-minutes alone has been shown to boost mood by activating endorphins. So, aside from keeping your body in shape, it'll keep your mood in shape too!
2. A healthy diet
Fight back the craving to eat that tub of ice cream! Heathline.com urges that a spike in blood sugar causes mood swings, or worse. A fiber-rich diet of fruits and veggies, however, has been shown to release serotonin in the brain and boost mood. If you're feeling down around meal time, opt for an apple instead of chips with your Wawa, or make your sandwich with whole grain bread instead of white.
3. Go outside in the sunlight
As a relatively pale, indoorsy person myself, I know this might seem like a tall order ---especially to those all too familiar with sunburn--- but the benefits far outweigh the potential costs of going out in the sun more frequently. In an article on Psychology Today's website, James M. Greenblatt M.D. expresses that a vitamin D deficiency can cause depression since the absorption of vitamin D in the body triggers the release of both dopamine and serotonin, thusly boosting mood. So go out for a nice stroll after 12:00 p.m. (not before lathering on some sunscreen if you're basically a ghost like me) or eat some foods high in vitamin D like salmon, cheese, or egg yolks.
4. Get plenty of sleep
No more scrolling on your phone till 2:00 a.m. or all-nighters to finish that history paper! Lack of sleep has been linked to the development of a depression, according to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Try setting an alarm on your phone to rouse you from the never-ending feeds of social media or consider taking a melatonin supplement if you're having trouble falling asleep.
Regardless of your current state of mind, these tactics are worth your time and are backed up by science! Not only do they give you the accolade for doing your body good, but also affect your brain so that you might not have to use medications in the future!