There is one really, really potent antidepressant out there: it’s called sports (please see: Effects of physical exercise on anxiety, depression, and sensitivity to stress).
I’m not an expert on this – but here’s my take on the issue: Our prehistoric ancestors used to walk and run a double-digit number of miles almost every day while searching and hunting for food. It’s what our bodies were made for.
Sitting around and not moving much may convey a simple message: Something’s wrong, you’re sick.
And we all know how it feels like to be sick: It’s not only on the body, typically our mood tends to deteriorate as well.
The picture is attributed to this Twitter account: FindingNature.
The other remedy that is available basically for free is spending time in nature. The so-called biophilia hypothesis proposes that humans (as being part of nature itself) will profit physiologically and psychologically from spending time in green spots especially parks and forests. Here’s an excerpt from an article that was recently published on Nature.com
The authors found that green spaces have a direct mental-health impact. People with better access to green space had slightly fewer depressive symptoms than those in less green areas. Independent of any potentially confounding factors, such as childhood environment and genetics, “there is something about green space itself that benefits people’s mental health.”
The causal relationship is still somewhat unclear, but my guess is that it’s the same mechanism as with phycisal exercise. Not being outside (enough) may just feel “unnatural” to our bodies, thereby signaling that something is wrong – with all the emotional consequences.
So, stop reading right now, go outside – and move your ass… 🙂