If you currently take an antidepressant medication but feel you need more relief for your depression, what can you do—aside from adding on other medicines? Research suggests that certain lifestyle steps may be beneficial for those suffering from depression.

Physical Activity for Depression

According to experts, physical activity might help with depression, by altering levels of brain chemicals in ways that are similar to antidepressants, and by encouraging the growth of new brain connections.

And you may not need to work out like a bodybuilder or marathon runner to see its benefits. Take for example, a study from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, of 122 sedentary people whose depression did not fully respond to antidepressants. In the study, whose results were published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, adding either gentle or brisk walking routines to participants' treatment programs eased the condition in up to 28 percent of the study subjects after three months. The gentle exercisers walked at a leisurely pace for a total of 75 minutes a week while the other group walked at a fast four-mile-an-hour pace (or did other exercise at the same intensity) for 210 minutes per week.

Therapy for Depression

Signing up for mindfulness-based cognitive therapy—which increases awareness of negative thinking patterns and mood spirals, and builds self-compassion—is another option worth considering. In a University of California, San Francisco, study of 173 adults with stubborn depression, moods improved for 36 percent of those who received eight weeks of the therapy. For 22 percent, depression went into complete remission.

Do Fish Oil or Vitamin D Help Depression?

While a recent review by researchers from the University of Melbourne suggests that taking fish oil capsules or vitamin D along with an antidepressant may increase the prescription medication’s effectiveness, Consumer Reports doesn’t encourage the use of fish oil dietary supplements. Tests show that some may contain troubling levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, mixtures of man-made chemicals once used in industry that can negatively affect health. (Some higher-dose fish oil products are available by prescription only and thus classified as medications, not supplements).

Taking 1,000 IU of Vitamin D daily may be appropriate if you spend most of your time indoors, rarely eat fatty fish such as salmon or drink milk (both are good sources of Vitamin D) or are over age 65. However, keep in mind that dietary supplements are only lightly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, and that there’s no guarantee that what’s on the label is what’s actually in the container.