With Bec Robbins  

AUTHENTIC SELF

Self Love – One Of The Best Ways To Combat Depression Naturally

woman using self love to combat depression naturally

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Do you struggle with on-going mild depression? If so, you may be suffering from persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia. Signs of this depressive disorder include things like a loss of interest in your daily activities, feelings of hopelessness or apathy for extended periods. Thankfully, learning strategies to combat depression naturally can help alleviate these symptoms without medication.

Persistent mild depression is caused by chemical conditions in the brain that can be genetic or learned. It can also develop due to hormonal imbalance or the experience of trauma. Unfortunately, until you actively improve your brain chemistry, there’s little chance that the condition will spontaneously improve. 

The good news is there are several proven ways to positively alter your brain chemistry which are relatively easy to implement. Things like exercising daily, getting into nature, taking mood enhancing supplements such as B vitamins, rhodiola or CBD and healthy social connection are great ways to combat depression without medication.

Other natural ways to combat anxiety and depression involve developing internal skills. This approach takes a bit more effort but is worth it for your long-term health and wellbeing. You can radically improve your quality of life by implementing mental and emotional habits that trigger mood enhancing hormones like serotonin and dopamine.

One of the lesser known skills for combating depression without medication is self love. There is a common misunderstanding that self love is something you either have or don’t have. But self love is something we can all learn, just like driving a car or playing the piano.

So how to skill up on self love?

Try the following simple strategies to help cultivate self love and boost your mood.

Carve out time for self love first thing in the morning.

You can amplify self love by spending a mere 5-10 minutes each morning having quality time with yourself. This could be in the form of meditation or journaling, but includes any dedicated time when you are paying full attention to you! Usually we have barely woken and our attention is all over the place, fretting and planning the day. 

Imagine being in a marriage with yourself. What would it feel like to a partner if they woke up every morning and you didn’t even look at them or say “good morning.”  Reflecting on how you feel or setting intentions for the day ahead are self loving acts. Yet we don’ t often take time to love ourselves in this way. Treat the first few moments of your day as time to deeply connect with yourself. Put yourself first, tune in and acknowledge yourself. With a full cup of love from yourself you can go about your day feeling much better.

Get out of your self hating mind and into your self loving body.

As we grow out of childhood, we begin to learn a bad habit of idolizing the mind. We pay most of our attention to our thoughts and ignore the most reliable source of love and guidance we have: our body. The mind houses our survival instinct and is the source of thoughts that trigger depression like worry, doubt and judgment. Our body holds the key to accessing our instincts and intuition. When we listen to our mind we are listening to a little devil on our shoulder, screaming negative self talk in our ear. 

When we close our eyes and drop down to the centre of our body we can hear the whisper of our higher self. This part of you never judges or doubts; it is your biggest champion and fan. It always has soothing messages of love and encouragement, guiding and lifting you all. But it is quiet and often drowned out by the loudness of mind. Get into your body by prioritizing joyful physical activity: dancing, yoga, long walks or bouncing on a rebounder are all easy example of this. Even placing your hand on your heart and asking your body what it wants you to know creates an instant shift in your mood!

Identify your core values…and let go of things that don't align.

Socrates said: Know Thyself. Shakespeare wrote: To Thine Own Self be True. For strong self love we want to follow this combo of sage advice! You have to know thyself before you can be true to thyself! It can take some people years to discover this tactic as a natural antidepressant. 

Before I actually sat down and got honest about my deepest values, I had no compass to follow in my life. A lack of living authentically left me feeling depressed and anxious most of the time. Uncovering my core values of freedom, family, exploration and peace was revolutionary for me. Suddenly I could hold every piece of my life up to these values and see if I was aligned to them. What was not in alignment, I could let go of. This included people, places, things, and paths I was on. Making choices that honor your core values is a powerful act of self love which increases the “feel good” hormones in your brain.

Draw self love lines in the sand.

One of the greatest acts of self love is setting boundaries; saying “no” to what is not in alignment with your truth. Without boundaries we are leaking our energy all over the place. It’s exhausting and easy to become depressed and resentful when you don’t enforce boundaries. Allowing yourself to be stuck in exhaustion and negative emotions is an act of self-destruction. Setting strong boundaries is something that we must each learn and practice because it’s not a natural tendency for most people. Once you know what your values are it is much easier to create boundaries for yourself. The next time you are asked to do something, see if it honors your values in any way and if it doesn’t, practice lovingly saying, “no, I’m sorry.”

These self love strategies are easy beginner tips to combat depression from the inside out. Using them in conjunction with other known mood boosting lifestyle habits can be an effective way to help overcome depression naturally without medication. 

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