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Sadness, Blues, and Depression

Woman on Window Sill

How to Cope with Depression

1. It's not always just about taking a pill. Consider why you might feel depressed. Sometimes depression is a symptom of something circumstantial in your life, rather than biochemical imbalances.

Have you suffered a personal loss?

Does your job require you to sell out your integrity every day?

Have you been unable to admit that you need to end your marriage?

Are you feeling spiritually disconnected or sexually restless?

Are you facing financial hardship?


Be honest with yourself about what might be off-kilter in your life, and make an effort to get to the root of why you might be feeling depressed.

2. Get sunlight. Get out into the sun. It is an all-natural anti-depressant. So you say you live in New York and it's winter? Consider getting a light therapy lamp

3. Move your body. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins.

4. Eat a serotonin-enhancing diet. Serotonin-enhancing foods include:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, which are even higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish).

  • Healthy fats like coconut oil.

  • A high-protein diet, especially proteins high in tryptophan, like free-range turkey.

5. Try mood-enhancing supplements.

  • St. John's Wort 300 mg three times/day. If you don't feel better within a week, slowly increase your dose to a max of 600 mg three times/day. May decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • Fish oil (DHA/EPA) 1-3 g/day with food.

6. Meditate or try guided imagery. Meditation's effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.

7. If your thyroid, adrenal, or sex hormones are out of whack, your mood can get all wonky.

  • Thyroid gland tests: TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies.

  • Adrenal gland tests: cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone.

  • Sex hormone tests: estradiol, progesterone, free and total testosterone.


8. Make efforts to bolster your mental health by being more authentic in all aspects of your life. Too often, we walk around wearing masks, pretending to be something we're not. We fake it at the schoolyard, in the boardroom, in the bedroom, at church/synagogue—and then we wonder why we wind up depressed. Practice letting yourself go a little and watch how your mood lifts.

9. Sometimes it is about taking a pill. If we must, if all else fails and you need antidepressants, don't beat yourself up. Sometimes you can do everything right, and if your imbalance is biochemical, you may need the drugs. But don't forget to nurture the rest of you, too. Depression, like most physical and mental illnesses, is multifactorial and requires a global investigation of your whole health—not just your mind and body, but your relationships, your work, your financial picture, how you express yourself creatively, how you satisfy yourself sexually, your environment, and whether you're letting your Inner Pilot Light (aka authentic self) shine.

10. Talk it out. See a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach and express how you feel. Sometimes just finding someone you trust who will help you work through your feelings can make all the difference in the world.

11. Acupuncture.   


12. Massage. A 60-minute massage can lower cortisol, a hormone that’s produced in response to stress, by an average of 30 percent. When cortisol levels decline, serotonin — one of the body’s anti-pain mechanisms — increases by an average of 28 percent after receiving a massage. By lowering cortisol and increasing serotonin, you’re boosting your body’s ability to fight off pain, anxiety, and feelings of sadness. 

13. Yoga.

14. Medical marijuana. Can marijuana help with depression? The answer is unclear. Check this article out for more information. 

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