Beating the Blues

We all feel down sometimes. Whether feelings of melancholy have been brought on by events such as the breakdown of a relationship or loss of a loved one, or seem to arise without cause, there are some simple actions you can take which will help to foster feelings of happiness and well-being. These may not solve your problems if you’re surrounded by people who put you down, or are in the midst of a stressful situation, but they will help to brighten your day and give you the inner fortitude to deal with your challenges.

Spend Time In The Sunshine

A Vitamin D deficiency can manifest in symptoms ranging from rickets and osteoporosis to obesity and depression. Vitamin D is obtained from exposure to sunlight, and can also be consumed by taking cod liver oil. Many people in the developed world have jobs and lifestyles which limit their exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency has been estimated to effect 23% of women, and up to 80% of dark-skinned and veiled women, in Australia and New Zealand.

Eat More Red Meat

Iron deficiency can cause many symptoms, including depression, fatigue, feeling cold, loss of appetite, nervousness, poor concentration and shortness of breath. People who are at particular risk include menstruating women, people with bowel disorders and vegetarians. Get more iron in your diet by eating more meat – especially liver and red meats – and eggs, oysters, and green leafy vegetables. Avoid consuming black tea with your iron-rich foods as the tannins can inhibit iron absorption, and try to assist absorption by eating foods which contain vitamin C, such as oranges or capsicum.

Take B-Vitamins

A lack of B Vitamins can lead to feelings of fatigue and depression. B Vitamins are contained in many foods including shell-fish, meat, eggs, fruits and vegetables. If you’re eating a balanced diet but are still deficient in B Vitamins you may need to take supplementation. B Vitamins can easily become depleted when the body is dealing with stress or illness.

Get A Little Help From Your Friends

Everyone wants to believe they’re Rambo in First Blood, single-handedly taking on the Viet Kong and the American police-force alike, but we humans are really more like Rocky: we need support from our Adriennes and Micks and Paulies. Maintaining a network of supportive family and friends can get you through a tough time, but sometimes we have to remember to let them know when we need help.


Depression is related to low levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and since exercise increases the concentration of these it has been linked to improved outcomes for people with mild depression. If you are just feeling down, exercise is almost certain to make you feel better. As well as boosting serotonin and norepinephrine levels, it will give you the opportunity to take your mind off your problems and experience a sense of accomplishment.

Make Sure You’re Not Surrounded By A**holes!

It’s hard not to feel at least a little depressed if you’re constantly surrounded by people who belittle you, put you down, or sabotage your success. Unfortunately we rarely choose to spend time with people like this: they are normally individuals who seem thrust upon us against our will. Combat their toxic influence by seeking out the company of people who genuinely like and support you.

Talk To Your Doctor

Although my personal opinion is that anti-depressant medications are prescribed too readily in many cases by GP’s who simply can’t or won’t take the time to investigate their patients’ symptoms in detail, a good GP can help in many ways. As well as running tests for nutritional imbalances and deficiencies, they can refer you to specialists, such as counsellors or psychologists, who can help you to learn new ways of dealing with people, events and situations which may have been causing you to feel depressed.

Have you experienced feelings of melancholy and depression? What actions have you taken in order to feel better?


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