As I am writing this, the world is changing like never before and causing stress on individuals. As a result, we are seeing more and more depression.
What is depression? We do not measure this in the blood or take an image to diagnose depression. This is a clinical diagnosis. Symptoms of depression could include sadness, a feeling of emptiness, loss of interest, fatigue, a change in appetite, sleep problems, agitation, and even physical symptoms without explanation. These symptoms tend to persist over time.
As of October 2023, wars are going on in Ukraine and Israel. We are still having lingering effects from the pandemic. Social media is filling our minds with content. In fact, if our brains hear something repeatedly, even if it is not true, the brain tends to believe it. All these inputs change the imprinting of the brain and how it works. Neurotransmitters are altered.
It is not surprising the rates of depression and anxiety are increasing dramatically, putting stress and aging our bodies, causing symptoms, requiring visits to the doctors and more and more medications.
The medical treatment for depression includes medications that increase the availability of serotonin. There are many serotonin reuptake inhibitors on the market.
Here are a few strategies to help with depression naturally.
- Foods containing tryptophan, an amino acid, are needed to make serotonin. Eating foods including legumes, chickpeas, lentils, nuts (almonds and walnuts), sesame seeds, grains, and soy are excellent sources of tryptophan. Tryptophan is a building block for serotonin. Many of us need to eat more of these foods.
- Vitamin D. This is an essential pro-hormone needed to produce serotonin. Without sunshine in one’s life, a person might need vitamin D supplementation.
- Hormonal abnormalities can affect your moods. We see this in thyroid abnormalities and other hormonal depleted states.
- Minerals are needed for enzymatic reactions, which help the neurotransmitters in the brain. Some of these minerals include magnesium, calcium, and potassium. Minerals are found in vegetables. If one does not like vegetables, a supplement might be needed.
- Exercise is vital because movement increases oxygen delivery, improves metabolism, and enhances endothelial function, to name a few beneficial effects. In fact, in some studies, daily exercise has been more valuable than medications for treating mild depression.
In Matthew 26, we see our Savior suffering from sadness. In verse 38, we find strategies that might help us in coping with symptoms of depression. Be with trusted friends. In verse 39, pray to God and trust His sovereign plan; in verse 40, continue to watch and pray.
Some with depression might need professional help, including medications. I suggest trying the above; remembering Christ is the key to health. Sometimes, the trials of illnesses are the means to glorify God and bring us closer to Him. I would rather be ill on this earth and healed for eternity.
As we pray for the world and each other, remember the world is not our home. Make each day a good day. Thank God for his grace. The Holy Spirit helps us see truth and gives us power to enact changes to glorify God. When we depend on Him in all things, we bring glory to God through the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit.
Check out our YouTube video on depression. https://youtu.be/2pilQq_HWrI