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Sure, it can manifest at the end of a long day, during a particularly stressful traffic jam, after an argument, or any other time when emotions begin to take a toll on our well-being. But in general, depression can arise anytime and anywhere, even when life seems to be going exactly the way we’d like it to.

In negatively affecting your emotions and outlook, compromising your self-worth, stunting productivity and inhibiting your mood, depression is oftentimes guilty of keeping you from the people you want to see and the things you want to accomplish. If you’ve found your confidence crippled or your outlook on life consistently darkened as a result of depression, know that there are concrete steps you can take toward lessening depression’s grip on your life. Even if you only take a few minutes per day and work toward accomplishing the objectives below, you’ll be taking considerable strides toward the depression-free life you want for yourself.

1. Get the help you need

This first action is a simple one: you need to get the help that you know you need. If depression is consistently and negatively affecting your well-being, and especially if it’s keeping you from accomplishing simple tasks and living the life you once lived, it’s already past time to get help. Reach out to licensed practitioners near you for personalized support in fighting depression. If your mental health issues span more than depression, you can also consult our guide to 8 Free Mental Health Therapy Resources & Where to Find Them.

For more information on licensed mental health professionals and the specifics of depression’s effects, feel free to reference easy-to-find resources from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Whether it’s a support group, an in-person community or the accountability of a depression-specific mobile application, there are so many available resources that can help turn the tide in your fight against depression.

2. Adopt a depression-friendly diet

Let’s get one thing straight: no diet on the planet can cure depression. However, if you can adopt and maintain a health-based diet, you’ll likely join so many others in noticing the positive effects that a better diet can have on your depression.

We’ll make it simple: look to focus your diet around the following three pillars:

  • Consume healthy amounts of vitamins, including Vitamin C – found in citrus, blueberries and potatoes, Vitamin E – found in vegetable oils, nuts and seeds, and Vitamin B12 – found in fish and low-fat dairy products.
  • Take a protein-rich approach, focusing on foods like tuna, yogurt and chicken to drive up your daily protein intake.
  • Avoid sugary and fatty foods, along with anything else that can compromise your carbohydrate intake.

In short, if you can first maintain a positive diet, you’ll often find that your outlook can follow suit in record time.

3. Alternative remedies

Before you turn to medication (more on that option below), feel free to try any one of a number of possible alternative depression remedies. While none can promise to individually treat or cure depression, these alternative remedies can seriously compromise the strength of your depressive moods. Feel free to try one or many of the following remedies:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids, containing fish oil supplements that may be helpful in reducing depression risks
  • Acupuncture, identified by the World Health Organization as one of many treatment methods effective in treating depression
  • Meditation, even through simple breathing techniques to help you get a hold of your personal well-being and sense of self-worth

4. Medication

This item remains on the list for necessity purposes, but with an obvious caveat: medication should always be prescribed and administered under the supervision of a licensed mental health professional. Self-medication is one of the fastest ways to compromise the overall depression recovery process, while at the same time raising the possibility that you develop an unhealthy dependence of the medicine that’s supposed to be granting you personal freedom. However, when prescribed and consumed in correct proportions, medications can prove a crucial component to a well-rounded depression treatment regimen. Just make sure you’re monitoring your body’s response to those medications, to identify any side effects, or any other surprising events not anticipated by you or the prescribing medical professional.

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