How To Fight Depression By Fixing Your Health: 4 Steps Out Of Darkness

“How to fight depression” is searched on the internet now more than ever. We live in a time of the greatest abundance in human history, and yet many people find themselves in the darkest place of their lives with no hope to escape.

Lucky for you, I’ve gone through deep depression and intense anxiety numerous times throughout my life and I’m here to show you how to cure depression.

This article might not get seen by many people but fuck it – this article HAS to be written.

Although it may feel like there’s no hope, and maybe you shouldn’t even bother, I’m here to tell you… there is and you should.

Through immense trial and error, I present to you the best method to get rid of depression by first fixing your health.

How To Know If You’re Depressed

“Depressed” is a term used very loosely these days. It’s tempting to have a couple bad days in a row and then say you’re depressed.

However, there is a difference between being down and sad for awhile, and a pitch black pit in your heart that completely sucks out your will to live.

One way this manifests is a complete lack of wanting to do ANYTHING.

“Thus, we conclude that anxiety inhibits the recruitment of cognitive control in depression and that a depressed individual’s motivational state determines, in part, whether they are able to compensate by recruiting additional cognitive control.” [R]

I remember one time I was struggling with depression, I’d always been a hugely motivated young man – always led by my desire for big dreams and goals.

After a series of events that I won’t get into, my mental state and reality were completely shattered.

I stopped hitting the gym. I stopped putting effort into school (if I even showed up).

I distanced myself from family and friends, and when I WAS around them, I felt more of a burden than anything else, which only amplified the feelings of isolation.

SadDepressed
Feel Down 90% Of The TimeFeel Nothing 90% Of The Time
Has An ExpirationCan Last Forever Until You Fix It
Externally BasedInternally Based

When you’re depressed, all you want to do is lay in bed and sleep. Hell, you don’t even have to be tired, but it’s better than facing reality right?

Wrong. The truth is learning how to fight depression is NOT easy (don’t pretend that it is) but it’s possible.

I understand that even just reading through this article might be a lot, but please for your own sake, fix your shit so you don’t suffer any more than you have to.

A Science-Based Approach

Using science to determine how to fight depression

Now that we know how to identify the difference, let’s actually go into HOW to fight depression with a logical approach.

Although depression is internally based, there are still many things that you can do on the outside to help cure depression.

The first and arguably best thing you can do for a healthy mind, is to develop a healthy body.

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

-Buddha

If you’re sitting around all day, keeping up with the Kardashians, stuffing your face full of junk food, an getting shit sleep, then is it any wonder why you’d have depression?

No, the first step to learning how to fight depression is learn how to fix your health first and foremost.

Now, I’m not saying you have to be jacked to cure depression (although the self esteem boost DOES help), but you should at least be incorporating the proper habits to fix your depression.

I’ve ranked the best habits to fight depression in order of their effectiveness:

  • Diet
  • Rest
  • Training

When learning how to fight depression, these are really all you need to get started.

But, if you can focus on only ONE of them for the sake of curing depression, then focus on your diet first.

Curing Depression With Your Diet

Get rid of depression with diet

You are what you eat. This has always been the case and it always will be.

If you’re constantly relying on fast food because it’s cheap and easy then I’ve got bad news.

You’re diet is the #1 determinant of your physical and mental health, so if you’re eating shit, then you’ll likely feel like shit too.

In fact, studies have shown that people who eat fast food are MUCH more likely to develop symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“Published in the Public Health Nutrition journal, the results reveal that consumers of fast food, compared to those who eat little or none, are 51% more likely to develop depression.” [R]

On the plus side however, because diet plays such a big part in your health, you can also optimize it in a positive way.

And it doesn’t have to be gross, nasty foods either. You’re suffering enough as it is, so why not treat yourself to a scrambled egg, and avocado sandwich in the mornings?

In general for foods, you’re going to want to have a quality diet consisting of leafy greens (like kale, broccoli, and spinach), dark berries (blueberries and blackberries) and some quality lean protein sources (chicken breast, fatty fish).

Especially make sure you’re getting enough fatty fish. The fat in them are called Omega 3’s fatty acids and are a HUGE deal if you want to learn how to fight depression.

If you can’t afford the fish, don’t want to cook them, whatever, at least make sure to get a quality Omega 3 supplement because seriously this stuff will do wonders for your physical and mental health.

Overall, stick to as many natural foods as you can. Just this change alone will provide a MASSIVE benefit in your journey to cure your depression.

Natural Supplements For Fighting Depression

Natural supplements for fighting depression

Alright, now my personal favorite part to talk about.

It’s no secret to my readers that I LOVE supplements, and I do believe that there is a magic pill out there for whatever you could possibly want.

For the sake of this article however, we’ll be looking at a few natural supplements and how they can help fight depression.

Overall, you want supplements that will naturally boost all of your body’s “feel good” chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, etc.

If any of these chemicals are lacking in your body, you WILL suffer.

Low dopamine will feel like a lack of motivation to do anything. Low serotonin will feel like life is just one repetitive string of dull events that all look the same no matter what. Lack of oxytocin will feel like an intense feeling of isolation and loneliness.

With that being said, here are 5 natural supplements to help get rid of depression:

  • L-Theanine
  • GABA
  • L-Tyrosine
  • 5-HTP
  • Kratom

Alternatively, make sure you’re testosterone levels are also in check.

Studies have shown that guys with low testosterone are severely more prone to depression than guys with a healthy testosterone. [R]

You can easily do this with a natural testosterone booster like Testogen, or with proper lifestyle habits.

L-Theanine For Stress

Let’s start with L-theanine which I personally take 200mg of every morning with my cup of coffee for the day.

L-theanine is a great supplement for taking the edge off of daily life. You’re less irritable, and more focused. Honestly, the simplest way to describe what it’s like to take L-theanine is life just feels a bit smoother.

This isn’t just my experience though, as there’s numerous studies to show how effective L-theanine is for combating stress in healthy individuals.

“Stress-related symptom (i.e., depression, anxiety-trait, and sleep) scores decreased and cognitive function (i.e., verbal fluency and executive function) scores improved after four weeks of L-theanine administration.”

Although it says 4 weeks of supplementation, you’ll be able to notice the effects within the first hour of taking L-theanine.

GABA For Anxiety

Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid or GABA for short, is one of the best natural ingredients for fighting anxiety and also beneficial if you want to learn how to fight depression.

One study, shows that people who supplement with GABA rice showed significantly reduced anxiety and stress responses than people who ate plain white rice:

“Another study by Yoshida et al. (2015) showed that 8 weeks consumption of GABA rice (16.8 mg GABA in 150 g GABA rice/day) improved subjective calmness and worry scores midway through the study at the 4th week of the treatment compared to white rice”

Overall, GABA doesn’t get rid of anxiety completely BUT it caps off how much anxiety you would normally feel in any given situation and trust me, these effects are NOTICEABLE within the first weeks, and is why I personally take at least 500mg everyday.

L-Tyrosine For Motivation

L-tyrosine boost your natural levels of dopamine within the body which if you remember is a key chemical to focus on when figuring out how to fight depression.

I remember the first time I supplemented with L-tyrosine. I found it in the local natural grocers store and after checkout I sat down at a restaurant and popped a couple pills along with my food.

5 minutes went by, and nothing. Then 10 minutes, then 15… Then all of a sudden… BAM! It hit me like a fucking freight train.

My brain was on overdrive, everything in the world just looked more clear. Like I was upgrading from an HD to a 4K tv.

I couldn’t stop thinking about the goals I wanted to accomplish when I got home, and how I was going to accomplish them… it was great.

However, this was during a time where I was being somewhat of a degenerate. I was going out to parties and doing certain things that I won’t get into right now.

My point is, is that the L-tyrosine had mixed with some of the other substances that were in my body and so after I felt like a motivational GOD for about an hour or 2, I IMEDDIATELY had a crash where my brain shut off, and all I wanted to do was watch YouTube.

So, moral of the story, don’t be stupid, don’t take too much, and L-tyrosine will most definitely help you fight depression, just use with caution.

L-tyrosine is so effective at giving users a boost in motivation, that you’ll even be able to find it in quality pre-workouts like HTLT Preworkout 2.0.

5-HTP For Overall Well-Being

Alright, I saved the best for last. 5-HTP will boost your bodies natural levels of serotonin, which is literally the happiness chemical.

If you’re trying to figure out how to fight depression, then 5-HTP needs to be on your list.

It’s widely known and believed that low serotonin levels in the body is the DIRECT cause of depression, so naturally a supplement that boosts these levels are key.

Don’t take my word for it though, as there are tons of studies done to determine if 5-HTP is the best supplement to cure depression or not.

“While the exact cause of depression is largely unknown, some researchers believe that a serotonin imbalance may influence your mood in a way that leads to depression. 5-HTP supplements are thought to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels.”

Back when I was struggling with severe depression, it felt like I could never be happy no matter what. Everything was just empty and lifeless, just like me.

That changed when I started taking 5-HTP. I found myself being able to connect with others easier, and I could actually be GENUINELY happy from time to time, and every once in awhile I could genuinely laugh too.

During these dark times, even though these happy moments weren’t nearly as common as they are now, they were IMMENSELY beneficial, as those times gave me hope that I could one day be truly happy again… and I was right.

For anyone struggling trying to figure out how to fight depression, I HIGHLY recommend 5-HTP because if nothing else, it will help you get the ball rolling and generate positive moment8um in your life, just like it did for me.

(Optional) Kratom: Best Short Term Option

Lastly, is kratom. I won’t spend too much time here, as I’ll have a whole post dedicated to kratom in the future, but here’s the rundown.

Kratom is a mild opioid found in plants typically from the regions of Southeast Asia.

Because it’s a mild opioid, you can expect feelings of euphoria, drastically improved happiness, motivation, ZERO social anxiety, more confidence and so much more.

I’ve often said that Kratom turns you into the best version of yourself, and I still stand by that today.

However, again because it’s a mild opioid, Kratom is in a very legal grey zone.

It’s not fully illegal yet (although the FDA is working on that), but it’s also not fully legal as well.

You can buy kratom but it is illegal to ingest it in any way. The people who have ingested it however, have claimed that they would normally add it to a drink, or just toss the green powder into their mouth and chug water shortly after.

It has also been reported that the powder is extremely bitter and may cause a gag reflex upon ingestion.

One more time, Kratom has many amazing benefits and if taken, can completely rid any feelings of depression and anxiety. That being said, ingesting Kratom is illegal and I do NOT advice you to break the law.

*Disclaimer: Also make sure to check with your doctor*

Getting QUALITY Rest

Next up in our journey for how to fight depression by optimizing your health… is optimizing your rest.

Optimizing your rest ultimately comes down to two things: quantity of rest and quality of rest.

QuantityQuality
Based On # Of HrsBased On How Deep You Sleep
Poor Judgement For "Good Nights Sleep"Takes Priority Over Quantity
Sleep "Total"Sleep "Effectiveness"

If you’re in bed for 9 hours but you live right next to an airport, train tracks, whatever, then you’re going to sleep like crap and wake up feeling like crap also.

On the other hand, it doesn’t matter if you’re in a coma-like state when you sleep if all you’re getting is 2-3 hours of sleep per night.

When you’re fighting with depression, sometimes all you want to do is sleep.

So why not improve your sleep, and your mental health at the same time?

Quantity Sleep

Getting enough quantity ultimately comes down to trying to get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Studies have shown that any less than 7 hours of sleep per night, and you run the risk of some serious health problems:

“Sleeping less than 7 hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death.”

If you happen to be a SERIOUS night owl (like myself) where you’d probably go full on nocturnal if nothing stopped you, then you may also want to consider getting some earplugs, and a sleeping mask.

We all know that annoying feeling of it being so damn bright in your room that you grab a pillow to cover your face, but then you have to breathe, so you adjust, etc etc.

Or when you’re neighbor loves to get to it early in the morning and starts mowing their lawn seemingly just a few hours after you fell asleep.

The simple solution is to go to sleep earlier obviously. But if you enjoy the night lifestyle and also want to fight off depression, then investing in a sleeping mask and some earplugs are a must.

Quality Sleep

Quality sleep is just as important as quantity, if not MORE important.

The basics of quality sleep come down to getting deep, restful sleep, and making sure that you’re not waking up constantly.

The goal of quality sleep is to wakeup feeling at the very least good instead of that feeling where you wish you weren’t awake at all.

Following a good night routine before bed is one of the best ways to get quality sleep.

In general, follow common sense, like no caffeine after 2 pm, stay off electronics an hour before you go to bed, etc.

I know that last one can be hard as I know a lot of my readers fall asleep while they’re on their phones, but quit.

Change it up by reading a book, meditating, or something else that calms you down before you hit the hay.

Personally, if I REALLY want to relax, I lay down on my acupressure mat for about 15 minutes minimum.

An acupressure mat is a mat that has hundreds of little spikes that poke into your back while you lay on it.

It’ll be uncomfortable for the first 5 minutes but when you’re body relaxes into it, it will release a rush of endorphins and feel-good chemicals.

Seriously, everyone I’ve ever put on it can’t stop laughing while they lay on it, it’s literally like being high, and you need all the natural highs you can get.

The bets part is that it’s healthy, natural, and a great thing to do right before you hop into bed, and I guarantee you’ll have some of the best sleep of your life.

*Bonus: Taking the supplements listed above (except for tyrosine) half an hour before bed will also MASSIVELY help. Consider adding some melatonin as well *

Fighting Demons In The Gym

Last, but certainly not least is how to fight depression by actually working out.

You’ve heard it time and time again that working out can help – and it’s true.

Numerous studies prove that working out releases a cascade of all the right “feel good” chemicals that your brain knows and loves.

“The endogenous opioids seem likely to be assigned a significant role in the integrated hormonal and metabolic response to exercise.”

With that being said, how do we “hack” our biology to help us learn how to fight depression?

In general, there’s 2 main ways: Weight lifting and cardio, each with their own benefits.

Weightlifting BenefitsCardio Benefits
Boosts TestosteroneImproves Cardiovascular Health
Boosts Self Esteem & ConfidenceGreatest Release Of "Happy Chemicals"
Best For Muscle BuildingBest For Fat Loss

Although they each have immense benefits for your physical and mental health, we’ll be focusing on their effects and how they can cure depression.

With weightlifting the elevated testosterone levels, self esteem, and confidence, are GREAT for your mental health.

On the flip side cardio releases a much greater amount of endorphins than weightlifting does.

For the sake of getting rid of depression, it’s best to incorporate both of these in some way or another.

Weightlifting Effects

Weightlifting is generally my preferred form of exercise unless we’re talking about basketball, but that’s my personal opinion.

Lifting weights when done over time, allows you to grow both physically and mentally.

Physically by creating a physique that YOU are proud of, that men respect, and women love.

It grows you mentally by giving you some discipline, self respect, and more.

On top of all this, weightlifting boosts your testosterone. Especially after a really heavy compound lift. [R]

Testosterone is that hormone that has you walking around feeling like Zeus, which if you ask me, that’s a lot better than walking around feeling like shit.

HIIT Cardio Benefits

Finally, we have cardio. But not just any cardio; HIIT cardio.

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training. In layman’s terms it means intense cardio for a brief period of time, followed by a brief period of rest.

In general HIIT is best for shredding fat, but it’s got noticeable mental benefits as well.

This could be anything like sprinting for 20 seconds, resting for 10, repeat, etc. and can be applied to any form of cardio.

The reason why we do HIIT is because not only does it have the greatest health benefits, of nearly all exercise, but it’s also a MASSIVE tool in helping combat depressive moods.

Give it a shot and you’ll see what I mean. Doing HIIT cardio for at least 10 minutes, is exhausting but you’re rewarded with an intense natural high that will most certainly help you get rid of depression.

How To Fight Depression: Summary

Overall, getting out of depression isn’t easy and will not happen overnight as much as I wish I could tell you it would.

You’re going to think it’s not worth it, that all this isn’t necessary and why should you even bother?

Respectfully, shut the fuck up. You aren’t thinking straight, your health is out of balanced, and your hormones and brain chemicals are out of wack.

Fight that thought that says “why bother?”, because this is your brain, your health, your LIFE. And nothing is more important than that.

Give it a shot for at LEAST a week or two and I guarantee you’re life will start moving towards as better direction.

As always, I hope this article was of use to you. If you have any other questions, comments, or concerns, do not hesitate to email me at matthewcarter@hardgainerbodybuilding.com or DM me on insta @realmatthewcarter.

Until next time,

-Matthew Carter

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