(I recently responded to a very similar question on another thread and I’ve copy/pasted my answer here, I hope this helps)
Five years ago, I wanted to die.
I remember driving to work and considering putting my car over the bridge with me in it.
I was clinically depressed and felt like my life could never get better.
I had no hope.
Until I made 5 simple changes.
After implementing these 5 shifts into my life, I went from depressed, broke, and hopeless to living the life of my dreams, building a 7-figure business, building my dream body, and getting into an amazing relationship with a beautiful woman.
It didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy.
But if you’re willing to take action and be patient, you can beat depression and build your dream life.
Step 1: Get 9 Hours of High Quality Sleep
You’d be amazed at how big of an impact sleep has on your mental health and well being.
If you aren’t currently getting 7.5–9 hours of high quality sleep, then this is the ONLY thing you should focus on in order to start overcoming depression.
Consider the fact that sleep deprivation has been linked to:
- Impaired Cognition and an Increased Risk of Preventable Accidents
- Not to mention, an increased risk of infections, cancer, and overall mortality.
Now consider that similar studies were conducted with subjects who received more than enough high quality sleep.
The results were:
- Improved memory
- Lower systemic inflammation
- Improved immune function
- Elevated mood
- Learning and problem-solving abilities improved
I don’t think I need to spell this out any further.
Sleep is incredibly important.
Sleep in a dark room. Get to bed before midnight. Turn off all electronics 1–2 hours before bed. Supplement with Magnesium and fish oil. And turn the thermostat down.
I promise you will feel like a different person with just this simple switch.
Also, it’s important to note that regulating your hormones requires that you wake up around the same time every single day.
It doesn’t matter when you go to bed as much, just that you wake up around the same time.
If you need to get less sleep to wake up on time, that’s fine. Just make up for it with a nap later in the day to keep your hormonal secretion consistent.
Step 2: Exercise Outside for 60 Minutes a Day
One of the biggest causes of depression is lack of physical activity.
As they say, “Motion creates emotion”.
If you are stagnant and stuck behind a desk all day, it’s hard to stay happy no matter who you are.
Study after study after study has illustrated the tremendous importance of daily exercise.
- Decreased depression
- Elevated mood, reduced stress, and less anxiety
- Improved blood flow to the brain
- The production of new brain cells
- Improves memory
- Improved discipline, impulse control, and decision making
In fact, there are SO many benefits to exercise, that the Harvard Business Reviewhas stated that regular exercise should be a mandatory part of any job description.
Luckily, studies have shown that you don’t have to exercise for hours every day to reap these benefits.
In fact, just 150 minutes of weekly exercise (that’s 30 minutes every weekday) is more than sufficient to improve your mood, and general well being.
I highly recommend that you exercise outside if at all possible.
Stanford researchers found that walking in nature quantifiably reduced symptoms and feelings of depression among all patients.
Step 3: Clean Up Your Diet
Most people underestimate the impact that their food choices have on their mental and physical health.
Studies have shown that by changing nothing other than their diets, 32% of patientswere able to completely eradicate their depression COMPLETELY.
While this might not be a cure all, it’s a huge part of beating depression and living a happy life.
Here are a few guidelines to get you started.
- Eliminate as many processed foods as possible
- Consume slow burning foods such as raw vegetables and fibrous carbohydrates throughout the day to properly regulate glucose levels in the brain
- Consume your biggest and highest carb meal after your workout or at dinner
- Skip breakfast and opt for coconut oil coffee or eat a very protein and fat rich breakfast (no carbs!)
Step 4: Spend More Time With People
Depression breeds isolation and isolation breeds depression.
It’s a vicious cycle that can be hard to escape from.
If you have taken action on all of the previous steps, then you should have overcome your depression enough (if not completely beaten it) to start getting back out with your friends and family.
Start small and set the goal of going out with friends once or twice per week.
The more time you spend around other people that you enjoy the harder it will be to stay depressed.
Ideally, I’d recommend that you find friends at the gym or at a local workout group since fit people tend to be mentally healthy as well as physically healthy.
5. Use Supplements, Legal Drugs, and Medication if You Must
Drugs should always be a last resort, never your go to.
Most anti depressants are completely ineffective and can actually make things worse before they make them better.
If you live in a state with legal marijuana, I recommend talking to a doctor about a medical cannabis prescription as weed is a much easier substance for your body to process than something like Cymbalta and won’t have as significant of an impact on your brain chemistry.
I also recommend that you take the following supplements, all of which have been shown to have a positive impact on brain health and function.
- Vitmain D3
- Fish Oil
- Zinc and Copper
Finally, if you can find a clinical study in your area that makes it legal, Psilocybin mushrooms, yes magic shrooms, have been shown to have an 80% efficacy rate against depression after only one dose with a therapist.
80% after one dose!
While the FDA and DEA still classify psilocybin as a schedule I substance, there are legal ways to obtain and use the mushroom for medical purposes and countries that offer therapeutic retreats that you can attend.
I hope this helps.
I’ve been where you are and I know how hard it can be.
Hang in there.
It can only get better from here.