Depression is the curse of modern-day life. For many people, it’s the constant pressure to get ahead, to pay the bills on time, and be super-achievers at everything we do becomes way too much to handle. We fall victim to depression, anxiety and other mental disorders when life becomes too overwhelming.
If you are in a depressed state or feeling the onset of depression, biohacking your mental health can be the simplest way to overcome the issue.
You can try these powerful hacks to tweak your body and mind for optimal mental wellbeing and improve your mood. That’s right, you can beat depression yourself.
Eat anti-depressant foods
Some foods have amazing mood-boosting and calming properties that can very quickly alleviate depressive symptoms. Eating the following foods every day along with a healthy diet can have you feeling happy, upbeat and optimistic.
Dark Chocolate: Some people avoid chocolate because of its high sugar and caloric content but a square or to can work wonders on alleviating depression and giving you an instant mood boost.
Tests have found that dark chocolate increases the amount of serotonin, the mood-boosting hormone, in the brain. Have one or two squares when you feel down to promote calm and wellbeing. It’s okay, dark chocolate has less sugar in it than milk chocolate.
Avocados: This delicious fruit is packed with nutrients such as Vitamin B, K, C, E-12 and monosaturated fats. These nutrients promote overall brain health and can quickly neutralise depression symptoms.
Nutrient-rich avocado oil can be used in salads or for cooking, their potassium content is higher than bananas.
Walnuts: Walnuts are packed with Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, which are essential for overall brain health and balance. A deficiency in either of these important nutrients can increase anxiety and depression symptoms.
You can easily think of walnuts as food for the brain, simply because, well that’s what they look like.
Green tea: This is an age-old brew that is packed with numerous health benefits, especially its powerful antioxidants.
Green tea also contains the natural antidepressant and stress reliever thiamine. This is why you will feel calm and relaxed soon after drinking a cup of green tea.
Try to drink green tea twice daily and remember, it can also be taken cold as a refreshing beverage on hot days.
Start to love the sunlight
Sunlight not only provides us with warmth and light but is also one of the most powerful – and natural antidepressants in the world. Science tells us that seasonal depression is linked to the amount of sunlight exposure a person gets.
Sunlight regulates the hormones melatonin and serotonin which help regulate and balance our circadian rhythm and mood. The sun is also a great source of vitamin D, which improves the overall health of the immune system.
It is a vital source of energy for your body, all-natural, renewable and doesn’t cost you anything. What more could you ask for!
This hack is as simple as soaking your body in the sunlight whenever you get the opportunity!
If, you live in a hot climate, expose yourself to the “orange” rays of the sun to avoid sunstroke or sunburn. This means spending time in the sun from early morning to noon and late afternoon to sunset.
If you live in a cold or rainy climate, take advantage of the sun whenever you can.
Although this option is second best, you can use a sunlamp or consider colour light therapy.
Improve your mood with essential oils
People used essential oils in ancient times for their therapeutic purposes without really knowing how they worked.
However, we now know that the aroma of an essential oil stimulates the olfactory receptors which then send signals to the limbic system. This is the area in our brains responsible for emotions. That is why certain smells can trigger memories of happy or unhappy experiences we’ve had in the past.
Additionally, certain essential oils can cause your limbic system to produce feelings of optimism, happiness and wellbeing. Moreover, they are safe and natural except in the rare case that you may allergic to a certain oil.
Aromatherapy utilise the power of scent and the following essential oils are excellent for improving mood and alleviating symptoms of depression and anxiety:
Lavender: This essential oil has been known to alleviate depression and anxiety and almost everybody loves its heavenly scent.
It can be used in a warm bath, in a diffuser or even sprayed on bedlinen to help you sleep soundly all night!
Clary Sage: You may know that sage is a popular herb used on various cuisines bit did you know that its essential oil is a powerful antidepressant?
It has been revealed that this essential oil may be a stronger anti-stressor than lavender.
With its antimicrobial properties, some experiments indicate it can be effectively used to treat wounds.
Bergamot: This oil is extracted from a type of bitter orange grown in Italy.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation. This oil is known to balance it out by sending a signal to the brain to release dopamine and serotonin.
And since depression is often caused by stress, this might be the perfect hack for you.
Looking to the bright side
Understandably, you may be feeling a little sceptical. These three hacks seem too simple to be effective depression-busters. The best way to find out is to try them and see for yourself. After all, that is what a biohacker is all about.
Experiment with these options together and keep track of your mental state and mood. The great thing about biohacking is that you can customise each hack by experimenting to find out what works best for you.
As an example, you could experiment with alternate essential oils and foods to detect which ones suit your moods the most. You can choose to do more outdoor activities such as cycling or hiking on sunny days to get a double benefit, and so on.
In general, these are all-natural and safe methods for alleviating depression. As always, you should substitute or avoid anything you are allergic to.
Overcoming depression is not easy, there’s no quick fix, however, by implementing these strategies every day you’ll discover your mood improving overtime. The thing is, medication should always be a last resort, as it can have undesirable side effects.
What are the enjoyable foods or activities that boost your positive mood for the long term?