How to Overcome Depression with Holistic Healing

By Val Silver

Are you feeling down and blue? Knowing how to overcome depression naturally with holistic healing and natural remedies can help you feel happier.

The fear of staying in the cycle of emotional numbness, lack of interest in life, and the accompanying malaise you may be experiencing is a scary one. It doesn't have to be that way.

Take a first step toward turning that around right now by letting yourself believe that it is possible to get over depression. This is not a lie. If somewhere deep inside you didn't already have hope that healing is possible, you wouldn't be reading this page.

Healing depression can feel challenging when your mind and body are pulling you in the opposite direction. You may be grieving the loss of a loved one or a way of life. Perhaps life let you down so many times you let yourself spiral into what now seems to be an unending funk.

Know there is hope. There is a lot of research about how to overcome depression naturally. Effective help is available to get you out of the mire. Just as you traveled the spiral into the blues, you can turn it around spiral back up to create a happier life.

Reminder: If you have been diagnosed with clinical depression, please consult your medical provider before using any of the following techniques and depression natural remedies. Never stop your medication without your doctor's guidance. Medication may be a necessary and helpful part of your symptom control and recovery. If you have suicidal thoughts, please consult a medical professional immediately.

Holistic Healing for Depression

The following holistic methods for how to overcome depression are most helpful for mild to moderate depressed feelings. They will support you in mind, body, and spirit. Use them as a complement to your medical care, not as a replacement for it. 

Awareness: The first and most important step for beating depression

The first step in knowing how to overcome depression is to identify and understand why you feel the way you do.

If you skip this step, you can still use the following techniques and remedies, but it may be hit or miss, They might still help you control symptoms, but directly addressing the physical and/or mental causes empowers you to focus on what you need to do to achieve true, lasting healing. 

Once you get an idea of what is bringing you down, or better yet figure it out for sure, it's time to focus your attention and energy on how to overcome depression. Choose the most appropriate course to support your healing. Experiment with the best practices suggested on this page for a well rounded holistic approach. Be sure to click on highlighted links for expanded information. 

Seek help for depression

Sometimes the most effective way to help yourself is to seek help from a professional. Get a physical exam with blood work in order to identify or rule out organic causes.

holistic life coach, or cognitive behavioral therapist can help you get into action and keep it up if you have trouble doing this on your own.

Consult a medical health professional immediately if you are experiencing severe depression or are considering suicide. Recent technological advances are making it easier for doctors to determine which course of treatment - medication or psychotherapy - is going to help you the most.

Make a daily commitment to feeling better. 

Regardless of the recovery options you choose, you have to be committed to your plan to make it work. At first you may only make half-hearted small steps. That's okay. Set easily accomplished goals using these tips. Stick to your plan regardless of what your emotions say. Consistency will make progress easier and faster. Then set bigger goals. Give yourself lots of encouragement and praise for moving forward.

Once you gain momentum, you will notice more frequent bright moments and improved mood. Focus on those feelings. Allow a few weeks to experience significant results.

Do something to lift your mood.

Take charge of your thoughts and emotions to help reclaim your power. According to Dr. Deepak Chopra,

"Inertia is depression's best friend."

A good starting exercise for beating depression is to experiment with Charlie Brown's instructions for how to stay depressed.

His wise observation of the connection of mind and body may appear to be poking fun at a serious problem. Actually, it contains pearls of wisdom for how to overcome depression that outpace medical science. Try it yourself and see. Sit and stand up straight. Try a smile - a big one, or two. Don't worry if it feels phony or forced or even worse. Retrain yourself.

Remind yourself that in order to change your brain's neuro-circuits, you have to change your thinking and your mental habits. This includes body posture habits that accompany them. Fake it until you make it.

how to overcome depression

Take care of yourself.

Humans tend to base their sense of worth and value by the amount of love, care and acceptance we do or don't get from others. Although being loved or cared for in a healthy way by another is a beautiful thing, ultimately your most healing love and care must come from yourself. Practice self-love and care

Here are some ways to give yourself the mental self-care you need.

  •  Change stressful conditions as much as possible. Decide if the problem is something you can fix. Do you need to put up with it or can you/do you want to walk away? Feel empowered by the fact that you are making a choice.
  • Focus on relationships, instead of situations. Treat yourself and others with love. Associate with people who inspire you and help you feel good. Refuse to listen to criticism and negativity that bring you down. Limit how much attention you give to the news, unless it is good news.
  • Do work or a hobby you love. A lot of depression is fueled by living without a sense of meaning and purpose. Cultivate a sense of purpose by helping to solve a problem or improving a situation for someone else. When you do something to help someone else without an agenda, it feels good to all involved.
  • Practice mindfulness.  A study from Oxford University reports that  mindfulness-based cognitive therapy can curb depression at least as effectively as prescription drugs. According to the study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, patients were asked to attend weekly group classes, to practice daily meditation, and to accept negative feelings without allowing the feelings to affect their overall emotional state. In the following five months, these patients were 23 percent less likely to relapse into depression than patients who only took antidepressant medication. Until more research is done, the authors recommend mindfulness as a complement to antidepressants, not as a replacement. Adding mindfulness practices to your day can be a simple way to improve your mood. Qigong and mindful meditation are two simple ways to add mindfulness to your day.  

Accept what is and take control of your thoughts.

Bad things happen, even to good people. Life happens. Divorce, death, breakups, and illness happen. You may not be able to control circumstances, but you can control your response to them. Actually, the only thing you can truly control is your thoughts. Realizing that you have this power, and to claim it, are key to feeling in control. You control yourself, no one else. 

Downer self-talk like "It's all my fault", "There's nothing I can do about it", or "What's the use?" disempower you. This self talk is also likely to at least be partly untrue and provides no way out.

  • Acknowledge your initial depressive thoughts and shift it to a better feeling thought. Develop the habit of quickly responding with better feeling, more supportive, expansive thoughts. Practice focusing your thoughts and words on gratitude, unconditional love, forgiveness, and peace for yourself and others. This is a great way to start and end your day. Over time, you will rewire your brain for better moods and a more positive outlook on life. 
  • Explore the connection between depression and anger. Where do you need to let go of anger? Who, including yourself, do you need to forgive? How can you use that energy as a positive force instead of a draining one?
  • Meditate to bring yourself into the present moment instead of the painful past and unknown future. Gently let negative thoughts float away like clouds and return your focus to a calm, centered breath. Meditation transforms your brain and helps you relax.

Make healthy lifestyle choices

A healthy body helps make a healthy mind. These healthy living habits will help you feel better and boost your mood. 

  • Exercise is one of the most effective natural depression treatments. Moderate exercise raises feel good hormones and lowers chemicals that make you feel down. How to overcome depression with exercise? Commit to twenty minutes of brisk walk, bicycling, or swimming three or more times a week. Go with someone you enjoy for healthful social interaction.
  • Sit less. Seriously. Your brain's blood supply is decreased when you sit too much and too long at once. Get up at least every hour and move around, even if it's just for a minute. 
  • Eat healthy foods. Research suggests a strong link between inflammation, eating too much sugar and processed foods, and lack of Omega 3 fatty acids with depression. Limit sugars and grains to normalize insulin and leptin which affects mood. Eat wild caught salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel or fish oil regularly to get plenty of Omega 3 fatty acids. Eat probiotic rich foods and season liberally with inflammation fighting herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and chili powder.
  • Stay hydrated with pure water. The American Psychiatric Association  conducted a huge study that showed the main difference between depressed and non-depressed populations was...drinking water!
  • Get safe sun exposure. Sunshine brightens your mood. A popular winter remedy for how to overcome depression is the light box. It reverses drooping mood and flagging energy levels due to too little daylight. 

Practice happiness habits

Explore the secrets of happiness and incorporate one or more of them into your daily life. Happy people share certain traits that can be learned. Even though the thought of feeling happy right now may seem like a far stretch, you may find steps that appeal to you. They can help you raise your current happiness set-point a bit at a time. Every little bit helps.

Get out in nature

Research suggests that you can ease mood disorders by spending time outdoors a few times per week. Hike the trails. Focus on the natural surroundings. Breathe the fresh air. Listen to the birds. Go to the beach and wash away your sorrows in the ocean waves. Put your hands in the soil and garden. Gardening is a natural antidepressant.

You can also bring nature sounds indoors. Listen to recordings of your favorite nature sounds. Look at pictures of your favorite natural places. 

Source: Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature

How to Overcome Depression with Natural Remedies

The following natural depression remedies probably won't heal your melancholy long-term, but they can uplift your spirits in the moment. 

  • Certain natural supplements for depression are helpful. COQ10 helps with energy production and boosts the effect of herbs and supplements that promote serotonin production. SAMe and 5-HTP are known for lifting your spirits. Magnesium deficiency contributes to depression and anxiety. Ironically, Prozac and other fluoride containing drugs such as nicotine, diuretics, cocaine, and birth control pills deplete magnesium which is why they sometimes worsen symptoms.
  • There is a correlation between lack of Vitamin D and depression. Ask your doctor to perform a blood test to see if you are deficient. My doctor tells me that almost everyone over the age of 40 needs to supplement Vitamin D regardless of where you live.
  • Sip a few cups of green tea every day. The antioxidants in freshly brewed green tea help reduce cortisol and improve mood. 
  • Herbs for Depression such as St. John's Wort and Kava kava have a long history of easing a mild to moderate case of the blues.
  • Uplifting aromatherapy essential oils like lavender, rosemary and lemon help to quickly balance your moods and lift your spirits. They are good when you feel a little down and smell oh so heavenly.

Learn more about how to overcome depression with natural remedies: 

Knowing how to overcome depression and making a commitment to a holistic approach including natural remedies and medical care if needed will take you a long way on your healing journey. By implementing practices that feel right to you, you may find that you can get over depression and feel brighter in a matter of weeks.

Related Pages

How to Overcome Depression-updated 08/2022

For Educational Purposes Only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult with your health provider before using natural remedies and/or complementary therapies if you are pregnant, nursing, or you are being treated for a medical condition. Be aware that certain herbs and supplements interact with medications.

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