being in nature.image courtesy:Young and Raw

Depression is world’s leading illness and is one of the major reasons for suicides globally, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Depression is a common mental disorder that causes people to experience depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, low energy, and poor concentration. Depression is different from feeling down or sad.

About thirty to thirty-five million people, or approximately 10% of the U.S. population, suffer from symptoms of disorders including depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), eating disorders, bipolar disorder,and schizophrenia, can be reduced through lifestyle changes and the development of an array of self-help coping skills.

Children are being diagnosed with these disorders at an increasing rate. Accordingly, the number of children taking psychiatric medications has increased dramatically in several countries including the U.S., Britain, Australia.

Additionally, approximately 10% of all children in the U.S. are currently take prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. The decision about whether to medicate can be an agonising process for parents. Empathy and compassion should be extended to anyone going through mental health problems. It is important to note that there is no single correct viewpoint or choice with regard to options in mental health treatment, self-help, or natural remedies for depression and anxiety.

There is evidence to suggest that pharmaceutical treatments for mental health are being over-prescribed and that some forms of mental illness are being over-diagnosed. Natural psychology refers to a non-pharmaceutical method of working through mental health problems. It is safe and effective.

It has been demonstrated that addressing lifestyle issues can improve coping abilities, and help individuals overcome many symptoms of mental health disorders, ranging from mild to more severe. Strict mental hygiene is something to which many patients need to give attention.

Please consider some of the many options in professional therapies for treating mental health disorders beyond prescribed drugs. In Great Britain, doctors are known to prescribe self-help books to patients as a first-line defense strategy, with medication usually given as a secondary consideration.

By contrast, lifestyle changes can help a person regain and maintain mental balance without resorting to medications or an adjunctive therapy while on medications, with the possible goal of weaning off anti-depressants or other psychiatric drugs.

As our decisions cannot be relegated to a doctor, a family member, or another professional, making life changes takes self-initiative and courage.

Non-pharmaceutical approaches may be more effective and result in less adverse  side effects. However, such approaches do initially take more time and effort for both patients and their physicians. These techniques also require patience and commitment on the part of family members, whose involvement in the treatment plan or counselling can be valuable.

One psychiatrist stated that diagnosing the illness and prescribing what he felt was appropriate medication was easy. Helping people with family issues, employment issues, emotional issues, and lifestyle issues, however, was much more difficult.

A Duke University study concluded that brisk walking for exercise is more effective in treating mild to moderate depression than taking antidepressants,in both the short and long-term. The study demonstrated that not only was exercise more effective than antidepressants, it was even more effective than the combination of medicine and exercise. This proved to be true in both the short and long-term.

Regular exercise increases levels of serotonin and endorphins in the brain and thus contributes to improved moods. These findings demonstrate that mood can be improved without manufactured pharmaceuticals.

Even if you seek professional treatment for depression, you should still work hard at self-help measures and lifestyle changes. Brisk walking and other forms of physical exercise are great self-help strategies for depression.

According to proponents of environmental psychology, spending time in nature rather than human-made environments has three positive effects: Reduced stress. Improved mood. Improved cognitive performance.

One of the most intriguing areas of current research is the impact of nature on general well being. In one study in Mind, 95% of those interviewed said their mood improved after spending time outside, changing from depressed, stressed, and anxious to more calm and balanced. Other studies by Ulrich, Kim, and Cervinka show that time in nature or scenes of nature are associated with a positive mood,and psychological well being, meaningfulness, and vitality.

Furthermore, time in nature or viewing nature scenes increases our ability to pay attention. Because humans find nature inherently interesting, we can naturally focus on what we are experiencing out in nature. This also provides a respite for our overactive minds, refreshing us for new tasks.

In another interesting area, Andrea Taylor’s research on children with ADHD shows that time spent in nature increases their attention span later.

It takes much effort to break free from lifestyles and habits that contribute to mental health problems, including depression, can be difficult and take a great deal of determination, and at times professional help. But it is well worth the effort.

Whether or not a person with depression or any other mental health disorder decides to take psychiatric drugs or not, self-help is a very important part of successful recovery.

Educate yourself on self-help methods for whatever mental health issue you are dealing with, and your chances for successful recovery will be more certain.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here