An estimated 350 million people of all ages worldwide suffer from this mentally debilitating disease known as depression.
Depression can literally change your brain, altering the neural pathways and synapses and shrinking the size of your hippocampus, an area of the brain that regulates emotions and memory.
Mentally, you probably feel foggy and exhausted, as your brain must work harder to process information and feelings. If you don’t feel well mentally, it can take a toll on every other area of your life.
Depression can make you feel disconnected from the world around you, helpless to make any sort of change, and paralyzed by the thoughts inside your head.
To deal with this health condition many people unfortunately turn to prescription drugs as a temporary answer, but we still don’t know the long-term effects of these powerful drugs. Instead of medicating ourselves, we can turn to more natural remedies that often work better than even pills can.
HOW DEPRESSION CHANGES YOUR BRAIN
- People with depression generally have a smaller hippocampus.
Researchers found that 65% of the depressed patients had a smaller hippocampus; however, those just experiencing their first episode of depression did not have this shrinkage. These findings suggest that recurring episodes of depression might cause the shrinkage of the hippocampus.
Previous studies have found evidence of hippocampus shinkage, however, this study aimed to figure out if the shrinkage caused the depression, or vice versa. They got their answer: first comes the depression, then the brain damage.
- There is a connection between the heart and the brain
Our feelings become coded into our heart’s electromagnetic field, and the heart can actually send signals to the brain that tell it how to react. So, the researchers found that when you experience negative emotions, this can create chaos in the brain.
Now that you know that your emotions play a huge part in how your brain reacts to stimuli, we thought we’d bring up another common misconception when it comes to depression. Just like most people don’t realize that their feelings play a huge part in their mental health, many of them likely don’t know that the “chemical imbalance” theory regarding depression doesn’t add up when it comes to science.
[nextpage title=”HOW TO REVERSE DEPRESSION”]
HOW TO REVERSE DEPRESSION
- Change your thoughts from NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE
The brain can change and adapt based on our thoughts and emotions, and in turn, how we perceive stimuli. Highly malleable and changeable, the brain can actually form new synapses and pathways based on new knowledge, skills, or thought processes. In other words, what we think matters greatly, as these thoughts literally create our brain chemistry, and therefore, our reality. The mind contains great power, as demonstrated by the following study.
There was a research made on three groups of patients. The third group received a “fake” surgery; the doctors sedated the patients, made incisions, and splashed salt water on the knees just like they would do in a real surgery. Then, they sewed up the incisions just like normal. All three groups went through a rehab program together, and upon completion, researchers found that the placebo group had improved just as much as the others had.
So, if the brain can make us think we just had knee surgery to correct the pain in our knees, why can’t we utilize this power in treating depression? We can, it just takes willpower and dedication to change our brains. However, changing just a few of your thoughts per day by focusing your attention toward them will go a long way in helping you reverse depression.
- Practise Medtitation
Finally, you have to take care of your mind if you want it to work properly.
Many studies have found the link between positive mental health and meditation or some other type of mindfulness exercise. By focusing your attention on the present moment and just sinking into the bliss that each uninterrupted second of meditation allows, you can actually restructure your brain and eliminate depression. In fact, many studies have found meditation to rival medication in treating depression.
3. Consume a Healthy Diet
In general, stay away from processed, GMO, or highly refined foods.
- Stick to nature in order to get the most health benefits from your food; go for raw, organic fruits and vegetables, and raw, unsalted nuts and seeds, if possible.
- Eliminate or greatly reduce sugary, processed, altered foods in order to keep your brain healthy.
- Try to limit consumption of white flours, sugars, breads, and other grains. Your brain and your stomach have more to do with each other than you’d think, so if you want a clean mind, focus on adopting a clean diet
4. Be more active: EXERCISE!
Exercise – one of the most effective, yet underutilized, treatments for depression. Studies have shown how lack of exercise can actually cause depression. In fact, according to an article from Dr. Mercola,
“Women who sat for more than seven hours a day were found to have a 47 percent higher risk of depression than women who sat for four hours or less per day. Those who didn’t participate in any physical activity at all had a 99 percent higher risk of developing depression than women who exercised. Indeed, exercise is perhaps one of the most effective yet underutilized treatments for depression.”
Here is a video you should look at: