Depression: What you need to know and how to beat it

While it is perfectly normal to feel sad or grieve over changes in your life situation, intense sadness and grief can turn into depression over time. But there are many ways to handle the symptoms of depression.

Here are some self-help ways to alleviate the symptoms of depression and minimize its impact on daily life.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and depression and boost self-esteem. A study published in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry explains credible physiological and psychological mechanisms underlying the antidepressant effects of exercise, such as the thermogenic hypothesis, the endorphin hypothesis, the monoamine hypothesis, the distraction hypothesis and the enhancement of self-efficacy.

During exercise, increases in the temperature of specific brain regions, such as the brain stem, can lead to an overall feeling of relaxation and a reduction in muscular tension.

Exercise increases the release of beta-endorphins, which have been associated with a positive mood and an overall enhanced sense of well-being. Exercise also leads to an increase in the availability of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine, which are diminished by depression.

The use of distractive activities, such as exercise, as a means of coping with depression, has been shown to have a more positive influence on the management of depression and results in a greater reduction in depression bouts or moments than the use of more self-focused or introspective activities, such as journal keeping.

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Psychologist Albert Bandura says depressed people often feel unable to bring about positive outcomes in their lives to effectively cope with the symptoms of their depression, such as negative self-evaluation, negative ruminations and faulty styles of thinking. A study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise has reported that involvement in an exercise program enhances feelings of coping self-efficacy.

Regularly eat superfoods

Invest in superfoods. A study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health indicated that depression is less likely to occur in your life if you increase eating a balanced diet of a variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts, olive oil, whole grains and other foods that promote neurogenesis. Reduce or restrict your intake of added sugar and processed foods.

Your diet quality should contain adequate amounts of various B vitamins, Vitamin D3, folate, copper, magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, zinc, prebiotics and probiotics and other nutrient-dense foods that have science-backed evidence for lowering the risk of depression.

Get more sunlight

Exposure to sunlight for just 10 to 15 minutes per day increases the release of serotonin in your brain, which has been associated with boosting mood and helping you feel calmer and more focused and also helps you stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder. Studies have shown that people who are in the sunlight more, feel happier and have increased states of wellness.

Sunlight, particularly ultraviolet B radiation, triggers the formation of vitamin D3 in your skin – the level of which influences your depression risk, according to a study published in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine. (Related: Vitamin D deficiency is common – here’s how it can affect your health.)

Visit to know more about mental health and how to combat depression.

Watch this video about living with depression and life hacks you should know to heal it.

This video is from the Health with Benefits channel on

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