More than 600 million people around the world suffer from depression and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, it will be the second overall cause of disability for individuals across the globe. And depression is nothing new. It is one of the oldest diseases classified in the history of medicine.
Of course, seeking treatment from a mental health professional is critical for an individual coping with the often-debilitating effects of depression but there are other unexpected ways to deal with the disease, as well. What follows are some unconventional, but promising, methods people have found to help ease depression.
- Animal Therapy. Spending time with pets has been shown to ease anxiety and emotional stress. Animal therapy has been recognized by the National Institute of Health as a type of psychotherapy for depression.
- Art Therapy. Artistic expression has been shown to help depression. The healing arts include things like drawing, painting, sculpting, as well as dance and music therapy. Art therapy allows people to connect with their depression and its underlying issues at a deeper level.
- Do Unto Others. It may seem cliché but finding ways to help others reall’ does get your mind off of yourself. Volunteering at a homeless shelter is one example but it doesn’t have to be a formal commitment. Visiting with an elderly neighbor or calling someone you know that is having a rough time at work, for example, are simple and immediate ways to reach out.
- Journaling. Documenting feelings in a manner which is completely private can help a person to get their feelings out without worrying about being judged. Looking back on a journal also can help to pinpoint particular triggers that caused you to feel more depressed or things that lessened those feelings.
- Laugh It Up. Laugher really can be the best medicine. Medical experts tell us that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies that actually improve disease resistance. So, watch a funny movie or call a friend who always keeps you in stitches.
- Martial Arts. Breathing techniques such as the Kung Fu method referred to as -chi kung, can help with depression. Such breathing techniques help those suffering from depression calm down and enter a relaxed state of mind.
Depression is a serious disease that needs to be addressed and treated by mental health care professionals. However, many in the health care industry and those who suffer from depression will tell you that there is more than one way to combat it. And sometimes a multi-pronged approach works best.