10 Natural Ways to Heal Depression, Release Stress & Feel Better Immediately
As someone who’s suffered from depression my whole life, I’ve been forced to find ways to survive. Eventually, I found 10 ways to heal it altogether—naturally and immediately.
Did these remedies keep me from feeling all the feels? No. But they did put me back in balance quickly, relieve my chronic stress, sadness, and suicidal thoughts, and gave me a consistent feeling that everything was going to be okay.
Here are the jewels that have stood my test of time. These things actually worked to bring me peace, stability, and JOY every time. Put them all together and you’ll have superpowers!
Spoiler alert: The final tip on my list gave me the MOST consistent feelings of wellbeing and inner peace because it helped me process and heal what was actually underneath my suffering. This helped me end the cycle of depression and feelings of wanting to die.
1. Go to bed 1 hour earlier.
Just do it. There is no movie or party that is better than the feeling of a good night’s sleep.
Good sleep maximizes problem-solving skills and enhances memory; while inadequate sleep impairs brain function.
Longer sleep has been shown to improve physical and sexual performance.
Sleep affects hormones, which regulate appetite. Those who get adequate sleep tend to eat fewer calories than those who don’t.
Sleeping less than 7–8 hours per night is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Mental health issues, such as depression, are strongly linked to poor sleep quality.
Getting at least eight hours of sleep can improve your immune function and help prevent colds. Your body’s inflammatory responses are linked to how much sleep you get. Poor sleep is strongly linked to inflammatory bowel diseases and can increase your risk of disease.
Sleep deprivation also reduces your social skills and ability to recognize people’s emotional expressions.
Bottom line: take a nap when you need it (instead of drinking caffeine) and go to bed a little earlier. You will be happier, more emotionally stable, and healthier if you do.
2. Limit your food consumption.
From an evolutionary standpoint, people didn’t evolve eating 3 full meals per day. Our ancestors developed adaptations to keep their bodies and brains performing at high levels, even when food wasn’t available.
Intermittent fasting schedules (such as OMAD) supercharge your body and brain by activating stress response pathways that boost mitochondrial performance (which give you energy), and autophagy (the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells) to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
Intermittent fasting helps your body reduce inflammation, boost DNA repair in your cells, trigger beneficial metabolic changes, and prevent chronic disease processes.
These are my tips for intermittent fasting:
- Try to limit your eating to a 1 to 6-hour window per day. If fasting is new to you, start with a 6 to 8-hour eating window.
- Drink water with a pinch of pink (Himalayan) salt if you get hungry before or after your eating window.
- Try to eat all of your daily calories in just one meal each day (which can include an appetizer, regular-sized meal, and dessert), and then fast for the remaining hours—until about the same time the next day.
This type of intermittent fasting, eating just one meal a day, lets you reap the health benefits of fasting while simplifying your life! Between 2:00-7:00 PM is an ideal time to eat. This window gives you fuel when you need it most, a time to enjoy food with friends or family, and enough time to digest it all before bed.
Bottom line: After a few weeks, it’s pretty easy to do intermittent fasting. Plus, it’s often accompanied by natural weight loss as your body releases accumulated toxins and inflammation.
3. Take brain-boosting superfoods & supplements: Rhodiola Rosea, SAM-e, & blue-green algae
Also called “nootropics,” these substances enhance cognition, heal the body, and protect the brain.
In my experience, Rhodiola Rosea is a QUEEN.
It was known by Chinese emperors as “the golden root.” Rhodiola Rosea is a shaman’s herb that grows in extremely cold places at high arctic altitudes, primarily in Europe and Asia, plus Alaska.
It’s been used to enhance energy, mood, endurance, and longevity in traditional medicine around the world for centuries. And it’s been extensively studied in Russia, Scandinavia, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, and Iceland.
“Since 1960, more than 180 pharmacological, phytochemical, and clinical studies have been published.
“The Greek physician, Dioscorides, first recorded medicinal applications of rodia riza in 77 C.E. in De Materia Medica . Traditional folk medicine used R. Rosea to increase physical endurance, work productivity, longevity, resistance to high altitude sickness, and to treat fatigue, depression, anemia, impotence, gastrointestinal ailments, infections, and nervous system disorders.
In mountain villages of Siberia, a bouquet of roots is still given to couples prior to marriage to enhance fertility and assure the birth of healthy children.
In Middle Asia, R. Rosea tea was the most effective treatment for cold and flu during severe Asian winters. Mongolian doctors prescribed it for tuberculosis and cancer. For centuries, only family members knew where to harvest the wild ‘golden roots’ and the methods of extraction. Siberians secretly transported the herb down ancient trails to the Caucasian Mountains where it was traded for Georgian wines, fruits, garlic, and honey.
Chinese emperors sent expeditions to Siberia to bring back the ‘golden root’ for medicinal preparations.” – Rhodiola Rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview by Richard P. Brown, M.D., Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., and Zakir Ramazanov, Ph.D., D.S.
Rhodiola Rosea helps improve memory while giving you more ability to respond in a healthy way to physical, emotional, and mental stress. It’s safe, natural, and I can feel it working almost immediately. I take Rhodiola Rosea daily, in the mornings before food. It gives me energy, clarity, and focus throughout the day.
I like to read reviews on Amazon to see how modern-day people are responding to this adaptogenic herb (a substance that nonspecifically increases the resistance of an organism and does not disturb normal biological parameters) to heal burnout, recover stamina, overcome stress, and restore overworked adrenal glands. NOTE: It should not be used for individuals with bipolar disorder.
Bottom line: Rhodiola Rosea is an amazing supplement that can give you focus, endurance, and clarity to help you keep your brain, mood, and life on track.
My 2nd go-to superfood is SAM-e.
Taking this stuff each morning saves me from chronic and terrible mood swings from PMS.
SAM-e is a biological compound found in every living cell of the human body. If your body is not producing enough SAM-e, you might feel blue or have trouble sleeping. It’s involved in numerous biochemical reactions in tissue including the liver, joints, and brain.
In an interview with Psychiatric Times, Brown reviewed research on SAM-e and discussed his clinical experience with it.
“Although SAM-e has only been on the U.S. market since 1999, it has been studied for decades internationally and is approved as a prescription drug in Spain, Italy, Russia and Germany. More than 1 million Europeans have used it, primarily for depression and arthritis.
“I first heard about SAM-e 20 years ago when I was doing my residency in psychiatry at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center,” Brown recalled. “At a meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, a colleague had learned about an exciting new antidepressant being studied in Europe that was nontoxic, without side effects, and worked better and faster than traditional medications. SAM-e starts to work in approximately half the time needed for tricyclics. Studies show very few side effects, and SAM-e does not cause the sexual dysfunction or weight gain associated with other medications.”
Brown added that he would not recommend a patient with bipolar disorder take SAM-e unless that patient is under close medical supervision. Richard P. Brown, M.D., is an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Brown is the co-author of Stop Depression Now: SAM-e, the Breakthrough Supplement that Works as Well as Prescription Drugs in Half the Time…With No Side Effects.
SAM-e’s effectiveness has been proven with 18 controlled human trials published over 40 years. It’s been proven to enhance mood and promote cognitive health, and it’s naturally produced in the body. Sam-e is essential for healthy brain function, as it helps fuel feel the good brain chemicals dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. SAM-e has been proven to promote joint comfort and mobility, and it supports liver health and detoxification.
Bottom line: this stuff really works, it gives you energy and emotional stability, and it makes you healthier in general. Read reviews here about the brand I prefer.
My 3rd favorite nootropic is Klamath blue-green algae.
I’ve used blue-green algae for over 20 years. In the midst of my worst depression, I read an article about it and gave it a try. It began to uplift me and brighten my mood immediately. I later discovered that it was eaten by the Native Americans and ancient Aztecs, and it’s long been a staple of Africa’s native population.
Taking blue-green algae helps you lose weight, reduce your stress, boost your energy, and improve your brain. It helps with decreasing anxiety, ending depression, and with regulating hormonal imbalances. It’s great for improving and maintaining your overall health and happiness.
Blue-green algae is a wild, freshwater algae that’s naturally occurring. Gram for gram, this kind of algae contains the most nutrients on earth. Blue-green algae has one of the most complete and balanced nutritional profiles of any food, and it’s considered a whole and complete food.
In the US, it grows naturally in southern Oregon’s pristine Klamath Lake. Its supercharged by high-intensity sunshine, and rain that falls on Oregon’s Cascade Mountains and wash tons of mineral-rich volcanic soil into the alkaline lake.
With more protein, B12, and chlorophyll than any other food source, this little blue-green algae is ideal for busy people who don’t easily get enough fruits and veggies in their daily diet.
Because the cell walls of blue-green algae are soft, they enable your body to digests it very easily, converting 98% of it to pure nutrition (as opposed to around 65% for spirulina). Did you know that Klamath Lake algae also has 40% more calcium,100% more chromium, and 5 to 10 times the vitamin C of spirulina algae?
Here’s one more link to reviews on Amazon. It’s not my favorite company but it’s my go to for unbiased real people’s experiences about products I’m researching.
Bottom line: If you’re going to eat any kind of greens in the form of powder for smoothies, or in pill form (my favorite because it’s easy), this is the kind to help you get your glow on!
4. Go for a walk.
1 in 10 adults in America suffers from depression, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Women are 70% more likely to be depressed than men, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
There’s a growing amount of scientific data strongly indicating that human and social health improve when we go into nature.
One study showed that a 15-minute walk in the woods reduces stress and induces more optimistic perspectives.
Another study showed that exercise boosts physical and emotional health.
Light to moderate exercise results in such benefits as protecting against heart disease and diabetes, improving sleep, and lowering blood pressure. High-intensity exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, resulting in the “runner’s high” that joggers report.
But for most of us, the real value is in low-intensity exercise sustained over time. This kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic (or growth) factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better.
“In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression,” explains Dr. Miller, M.D.
Bottom line: Get outside in nature and move that body for 15 minutes, and you will feel lighter and brighter while increasing your longevity and vitality.
Google it and find an Ecstatic Dance near you. Then GO.
It will bring you a fresh new community of people of all ages and varieties who are finding freedom by moving to a wide spectrum of music. They use the music as a medicinal journey—time to connect with themselves, time to feel, heal, and release themselves collectively. The music is a wave with a slow opening, a peak in the middle, and a gentle ending.
Ecstatic Dance is a process, though.
I was super nervous the first time I went. I was trained in classical ballet, and in Ecstatic dance, there are no steps to follow, just a few guidelines to observe (like, no talking on the dance floor). My broken ballerina self wept and my inner dancer was reborn.
Almost every Sunday, I dance to keep body and soul together. Every time I go, I learn something new about myself. I play my edge, explore my feelings, change my thoughts, and exercise my energetic capacity.
Dancing gets the love hormone oxytocin pumping and gives you a big energetic boost. It’s a reset of joy!
Plus, seeing others open up in a non-judgmental space alongside you is a beauty to behold.
This edgy offering always leaves me feeling better just because I showed up, no matter who that week’s DJ was.
So go ahead and get yourself out the door!
Bottom line: dance is medicine for the soul. Putting this into your weekly self-care schedule is giving yourself permission to be yourself.
6. Soak in the salt.
Not table salt, Epsom salt.
Epsom salt got its name from a saline spring at Epsom in Surrey, England. It’s a naturally occurring mineral salt containing magnesium and sulfate.
These ingredients are good for the mind. Epsom salt helps stabilize mood and relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. In fact, some researchers claim that taking magnesium increases the production of serotonin (the love, peace, and happiness hormone) made in your brain.
Epsom salt is good for the body, too. An Epsom salt soak helps you absorb magnesium, relax your muscles, and relieve muscle pain in your feet, legs, arms, shoulders, neck, back, and skull. By relaxing the muscles surrounding the skull, the magnesium in Epsom salt may help release headaches and migraines.
Magnesium is good for reducing inflammation in internal organs, too. This may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and improve digestion/bowel movement. Integrative medical experts commonly recommend Epsom salt to patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and cold intolerance.
How to use Epsom salt:
- Fill a tub or basin with warm water until it’s deep enough to cover the parts of you that you want to soak.
- Add 1/2 cup to 2 cups of Epsom salt to the water (don’t add soaps or bubble bath).
- Soak for 20 to 60 minutes (ideally, twice a week).
Bottom line: Soaking in Epsom salt boosts the amount of magnesium in your body available for energy production, muscle function, and the reduction of stress and inflammation.
7. Play more.
Turn off the screens and move to your favorite music, wrestle with your kids, chase your dog. Play is as biologically important as sleep!
A new science of play and its effect on the brain shows that for both children and adults, play strengthens the mind and the body. It strengthens social competence, emotional stability, physical capacity, and financial success.
If you’re able to play, you can solve problems in your life more easily. It improves your ability to fantasize and think creatively, which allows you to be more flexible—AKA more in the flow.
Play also signals feelings of safety between people. It’s important for survival, feeling safe, and being happy.
“My observations of adults who embrace fully their inherent play nature are that it assures a better quality of life, decreases stress, connects them better with their particular communities, keeps them optimistic in a very changing, challenging and demanding world, fosters empathy, and thus makes sense to include it for us all. As a physician, I have come to see it from many years of exploring it scientifically that play is a PUBLIC HEALTH NECESSITY from birth to death. There is a lot yet to be learned about play, but the research that we know of today shows that it is as pervasive and as central to well-being as sleeping-dreaming is for animals and humans alike.” Dr. Stuart Brown, MD.
Bottom line: Play makes you happy, smarter, and more emotionally resilient! So book some solid playtime and lighten your load.
8. Meditate often.
You can’t see stress, but you can feel its effects.
When you’re constantly under stress, your adrenal glands overproduce the hormone cortisol. Overexposure to this hormone can affect the function of your brain, immune system, and other organs.
Chronic stress can produce headaches, anxiety, depression, heart disease, and even premature death. A research review published in JAMA Internal Medicine in January 2014 found meditation helpful for relieving anxiety, pain, and depression. For depression, meditation was about as effective as an antidepressant.
Meditating has a spiritual purpose, too.
“True, it will help you lower your blood pressure, but so much more: it can help your creativity, your intuition, your connection with your inner self,” says Burke Lennihan, a registered nurse who teaches meditation at the Harvard University Center for Wellness.
“Try different types of meditation classes to see which technique best suits you. Meditating with a group of people is a much more powerful experience, and having a teacher talk you through the technique will make it much easier at first. Many meditation classes are free or inexpensive, which is a sign that the teacher is truly devoted to the practice. Start with 10 minutes, or even commit to 5 minutes twice a day,” Lennihan says. “Preferably meditate at the same time every morning. That way you’ll establish the habit, and pretty soon you’ll always meditate in the morning, just like brushing your teeth.”
Bottom line: Meditation works magic on the sympathetic nervous system and helps you reset to a calm, centered, and creative state.
9. Edit to uplift.
Who are you hanging out with and how do they affect you?
What are the lyrics you’re listening to actually saying?
What was the message of the show you just watched?
Words affect you. It may not seem like they do, but each one of them is sending you subconscious signals of how life is, how you should be, and how the world IS.
Words PROGRAM you with what to expect, and they tell you what you are capable of. Words are like spells that are being cast. They’re getting you into alignment with their point of view, programming you about what is “normal,” acceptable, and what everyone else thinks is true.
It’s time to STOP LISTENING to dysfunctional lyrics that come with a good back beat. Like the lyrics of this popular song by One Republic, “Countings Stars.”
“I feel something so right doing the wrong thing
I feel something so wrong doing the right thing
I could lie, could lie, could lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive.”
Sure, it’s a catchy tune with a nice title, and it’s very danceable. BUT…you may be catching more than you realize from this song!
If you’re feeling depressed, you need to change some things. We are affected by the field of info we are subjecting ourselves to. Take inventory and feed your mind with hope, love, gratitude, and messages of POWER.
If something or someone is sending you sick signals that life sucks, that you suck, or that love sucks, you will eventually believe it. And THAT’S DEPRESSING!
Your thoughts generate your feelings. Your feelings control your brain chemistry. Change the message. It’s YOUR life! And unless you take charge of it, it’s likely to be run by someone or something else.
Edit for peace. Drop dysfunctional relationships. Then do the inner work to see why you accepted that in the first place.
Bottom line: heal you childhood trauma – old patterns your parents passed on to you. Tune yourself to uplifting messages as you learn to manage your mind, and design a new reality for yourself.
10. Get support.
No one does it alone. We all need love, understanding, and emotional support. The problem is…our friends may not consistently provide the best advice, and our families are often not much of a help and can sometimes be a hindrance to our happy. Therapy is very expensive, takes a long time, and doesn’t always resolve it. So, what do you do?
How do you learn to love yourself? Enter EFT and the World Tapping Circle. The World Tapping Circle helps you figure yourself out by teaching you how to use EFT, and EFT teaches you how to genuinely love and accept yourself.
Tap it out! Move stressful emotional issues out of your body.
EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques, also referred to as Tapping. EFT clears issues at their core and gives you back your authentic POWER. It’s a potent self-healing technique that combines the meridians from Chinese medicine, modern psychology, neurolinguistic programming, breathwork, and words of affirmation.
Tapping offers you the ability to feel light, clear, calm and OPTIMISTIC, emotionally resilient and self-empowered.
Imagine learning how to quickly process instead of keeping it all locked inside. Imagine being able to let go and grow beyond it. EFT gives you the ability to self-regulate your emotions quickly, safely and completely—all with empathy and compassion for yourself.
Tapping helps clear the core causes of depression, it improves self-esteem, increases motivation, and heals relationships. EFT works quickly and efficiently to help you grow, evolve, and move yourself and your life forward.
EFT helps you release decades of stress, heal your heart, and master your mind. It helps you stop comparing yourself to others and frees you to really live! I use it all the time, and because of it I (and the other things I mentioned above) I’m living my dream life at bigger and bigger levels each day.
EFT has been researched in more than 10 countries by more than 60 investigators over 25 years. Results have been published in more than 20 peer-reviewed journals. EFT has met the APA standards as an efficacious treatment for phobias, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
These decades of empirical, evidence-based research from institutions, including Harvard Medical School and the California Medical Research Institute, verify the benefits of EFT and its ability to address a wide range of issues including depression, anxiety, addiction, acute developmental trauma, PTSD, panic, phobias, sexual abuse, and the emotional aspects of physical injuries, chronic pain, and burnout.
It also helps with the everyday stress of just trying to be a good human.
Tapping turns on neuropeptides in your brain which boost mood, increase immunity, and enhance mental function. EFT rewires your brain and helps your body recover in record time from most anything, giving you more inner peace and resiliency every time you do it!
Tapping makes life flow by ending cycles of drama, trauma, and abuse. It allows you to honor your feelings, defrost numbness, soothe anxiety, and prevent knee-jerk reactions. It gives you the ability to process your feelings and heal.
As with any healing modality, results are never guaranteed. Yet the success rates of EFT are beyond encouraging, often working when nothing else has.
Because it helped me so much, I designed a way to help thousands of people who, just like me, have suffered from depression. Yes, you might cry, you might tingle, burp, laugh, and off-gas stored stress from your nervous system when you do it. Yes, it can feel kind of intense at first. But it MOVES MOUNTAINS!
After I learned how to use EFT and began helping thousands of people recover from the most horrible things, I realized that I could take the same amount of time I spent helping one person and help many.
I want life-saving tools like EFT to be accessible to everyone, affordable, and FUN!
So I built a community over 10 years, raised a bunch of money to help me realize this dream, and The World Tapping Circle was born. The Circle has been tested for over 5 years now. It helps you grow, heal, and stay happy! EFT HELPS YOU POWER UP! I am so excited to see to see what what happens to YOU when you try EFT!
Bottom line: You can try EFT for a month for a buck. If you like the emotional freedom it brings, stay subscribed and know that you have a high-quality emotional support in your pocket for any issue life throws your way, 24/7.
Depression, stress, and all of the other emotions that pile up in life are not permanent—for anyone. The research is only growing in support of this and of the natural ways you can heal that I listed above:
- Go to bed 1 hour earlier.
- Limit your food consumption.
- Take brain-boosting superfoods and supplements: Rhodiola Rosea, SAM-e, & blue-green algae
- Go for a walk.
- Soak in the (Epsom) salt.
- Play more.
- Meditate often.
- Edit to uplift.
- Get support.
Ultimately, these studies are all just backing up what our intuitive bodies already know…if we simply learned how to listen to them.
So, dear reader, please at the very least try this 1 natural solution if you try no others. TAP IT OUT out in Circle. Again you will feel the results immediately. Let’s get those demons out of there so you have space for LOVE, PEACE and AUTHENTIC CONNECTION.
Think of it as regular emotional hygiene for developing your inner beauty.
Using the Circle each week for 1 hour will POWER UP your INNER PEACE. It’ll be a huge help for all that you’re creating. You’ll see a difference in your reactions and moods—I guarantee it.
If you are still reading this, I thank you for being ready to help change your brain and heal yourself. These are some of the easiest, most effective, all-natural things that I use daily to stay focused, happy, and in my power. I want you to know that I went from being chronically depressed to feeling really good. I want you to know that if I can do it, so can you.
I wonder…what would happen for you if you did them all?