Overcoming Depression – The Power of Fun and Self-Care

What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls the butterfly Richard Bach

It is never my intent to minimize depression or insinuate that depression is a cake walk. I have been in those trenches of depression. It was the most difficult time of my entire life. However, I also do not want anyone to think that depression has to be a lifetime sentence of misery.

As I write this, I can see the big picture of my own illness with greater clarity and perspective than I was able to see my life through my depressive period. Then, it was just getting through each breath and hoping that nothing would send me spiraling deeper into the abyss.

If someone would have told me that I had contributed to my own depression back then, I would have argued that they were wrong. The truth is that I did contribute to my own depression. I was not eating as healthy as I should have been, I ran on adrenaline like it was cheap fuel, I never took time to “replenish” myself, and I allowed myself way too little fun and relaxation.

A part of my depression was related to the 24/7 pain of migraine headaches but I could have done things that would have helped me and my depression by making better life-style choices. If you are going through depression, you can help yourself, as well. I can’t promise that your depression will go away like a frightened mouse but I can promise that improvement can be made – if you are willing to make the essential changes.

As I re-experienced heaven during my near-death experience, I learned how wonderful heaven is. I also learned how priceless and precious life is. Life is a gift that we need to live wisely and passionately. We each have a precious and meaningful life and life mission to fulfill. No one else can do for us what we each are called upon to do by our Creator.

With that in mind, hang in there! Keep fighting! …and be sure to read today’s article. It has wonderful ideas to implement to help yourself get better!:

30 Ways to Improve Your Mood When You’re Feeling Down

 

“The secret of joy is the mastery of pain.” ~ Anais Nin  

When I was eighteen, I got depressed and stayed depressed for a little over a year. For over a year, every single day was a battle with myself. For over a year, every single day felt heavy and pointless.

I have since made tremendous progress by becoming more self-aware, practicing self-love, and noticing the infinite blessings and possibilities in my life, but I still have days when those familiar old feelings sneak up on me.

I’m not always self-aware, I don’t always love myself, and sometimes I agonize over everything I don’t have or haven’t accomplished.

I call these days “zombie days.” I’ll just completely shut down and desperately look for ways to distract myself from my feelings.

I suspect we all have zombie days from time to time. I think it’s important to give ourselves permission to not always be happy, but there are also simple ways to improve our mood when we’re feeling down.

Everybody is different, and everybody has different ways of dealing with pain, but if you’re looking for suggestions, you may find these helpful:

1. Step back and self-reflect. Whenever I start feeling depressed, I try to stop, reflect, and get to the root of my feelings.  

2. Reach out to someone. I used to bottle up my feelings out of fear that I would be judged if I talked about them. I’ve since learned that reaching out to a loving, understanding person is one of the best things I can do.    

3. Listen to music. Music can heal, put you in a better mood, make you feel less alone, or take you on a mental journey.   

4. Cuddle or play with pets. I have really sweet and happy dogs that are always quick to shower me with love whenever they see me. Spending quality time with a loving pet can instantly make your heart and soul feel better.  

5. Go for a walk. Walking always helps me clear my head and shed negative energy. It’s especially therapeutic if you choose to walk at a scenic location.  

6. Drink something healthy and reinvigorating. For some reason, orange juice always puts me in a better mood and makes me feel revitalized and serene. There are many health and mood benefits of drinking orange juice and other fruit juices.    

7. Write. Writing is usually the first thing I do when I’m feeling down. It always helps me get my thoughts and feelings out in front of me.    

8. Take a nap. Sometimes we just need to recharge. I always feel better after getting some rest.   

9. Plan a fun activity. Moping around never helps me feel any better, so it usually helps to plan something fun to do if I’m feeling up to it. It can be something as simple as creating my own vision board or something as big as planning a trip.     

10. Do something spontaneous. Some of my favorite memories entail choices I made spontaneously. We should all learn to let go of routine every now and then and do something exciting and unplanned.      

11. Prioritize. Sometimes I feel depressed when my priorities are out of balance. I try to make sure I’m giving a fair amount of attention to all the priorities in my life, such as work, relationships, health, and personal happiness.

12. Look through old photographs or snap some new ones. Sorting through old memories or capturing new ones usually puts a smile on my face.   

13. Hug someone. I am definitely a hugger. Hugs are such an easy way to express love and care without having to say a word.  

14. Laugh. Watch a funny movie or spend time with someone who has a good sense of humor. Laughing releases tension and has a natural ability to heal.  

15. Cry. I don’t like crying in front of people, but whenever I have an opportunity to slink away and cry by myself, I always feel better afterwards. Crying releases pain.  

16. Read back over old emails or text messages, or listen to old voicemails. Whenever I feel dejected or bad about myself, I like to read kind emails and comments from my blog readers or listen to cute voicemails from my grandmother. Doing so reminds me that I’m loved, thought about, and appreciated.  

17. Reconnect with someone. Get back in touch with an old friend or a family member that you haven’t spoken to in awhile. Reconnecting with people almost always puts me in a good mood and fills my heart up with love.   

18. Write yourself a letter. I try to separate myself from my ego and give myself a pep talk every now and then. Cicero said, “Nobody can give you wiser advice than yourself.”  

19. Try a deep breathing exercise. There are all kinds of deep breathing exercises out there. Find one you like and do it whenever you’re feeling stressed or overly emotional.  

20. Cultivate gratitude. Practicing genuine gratitude on a daily basis has been a major source of healing in my life. When I step back and notice everything I have to be grateful for, it makes me feel like I have everything I need and that nothing is lacking. It makes me feel whole.   

21. Re-watch a funny or inspiring YouTube video. I recommend Webcam 101 for Seniors. That video cheers me up every time. There are so many funny and inspiring videos online.    

22. Bake something. Baking has always been therapeutic and entertaining for me. Plus, I can eat whatever I baked and share it with others afterward.  

23. Get out of the house. I work from home, so a large majority of my time is spent indoors, planted in front of my laptop. I have to make a point to get out every now and then, whether it’s to get some fresh air or go out to eat with a friend.    

24. Focus on what truly matters to you. Sometimes I forget what matters to me and what isn’t that important. Some things just aren’t worth getting too upset over.  

25. Take a negative comment or situation and look for something positive about it. If someone says something negative to me or I get stuck in an unpleasant situation, sometimes it helps to look at it from a different angle. Perspective is everything.  

26. Daydream. Take a mental vacation. Let your mind wander for a while.   

27. Let some natural sunlight come in. Opening all the blinds and curtains and letting natural sunlight flood your home can help elevate your mood.   

28. Take a mental health day. Sometimes we just need to take a day to clear our heads and nurture our souls. My mental health has a history of being a bit erratic, so nurturing it is a priority in my life.     

29. Let go. This is a very simple mantra of mine. I usually say it to myself multiple times each day, which has been very liberating and empowering.    

Article written by Madison Sonnier and shared from the following website: https://tinybuddha.com/blog/30-ways-to-improve-your-mood-when-youre-feeling-down/

 

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Overcoming Depression – Dine Nutritiously, Part 4

Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it Helen Keller

When depression raises its ugly head, it can be very difficult to feel hope. That is where faith comes in. It may not feel like having a particle of faith is any easier than having a morsel of hope but even just a grain of faith is an acceptable starting place.

Faith requires action. By now, you probably have no problem exercising faith in a light switch. You turn the light switch on and the light comes on. When you need to turn a light on, you don’t stand around and vacillate – wondering if the light switch is going to turn the light on. If, by chance, the light doesn’t come on, you realize that the light bulb probably needs replaced and you replace it. Overcoming depression will take some faith and hope.

However, though it may seem ominous and dark where you are at, currently, have hope that your health can and will change. There are steps that you can take that will help to “turn the lights on” in your life. You can:

  • exercise gratitude
  • use physical exercise
  • meditate
  • develop your relationship with God
  • eat nutritiously
  • and more…

Every step and tool you use will result in improvement. Just remember that in this world of instant expectations, your improvement will not be instantaneous. It will follow the law of the harvest. You must plant the seed(s) and then provide consistent nourishment and eventually you will have the harvest.

I hope you enjoy and learn from today’s article that I am sharing. Be sure to take some time for yourself this weekend to unwind and take care of yourself!

Find Hope Again: 13 Natural Remedies for Depression


 Common Causes & Symptoms of Depression

Depression is when a person experiences low mood persistently, to the point that it starts to interfere with her daily life. Struggling with depression can be extremely painful for both the person experiencing the symptoms and her loved ones.

The causes of depression are varied and include:

  • stress
  • unresolved emotional problems
  • neurotransmitter imbalance
  • hormonal imbalances
  • food allergies
  • alcoholism
  • nutrition deficiencies
  • lack of sunlight
  • toxicity from metals
  • toxic mold

Although depression can happen at any age, it often develops in adulthood. For example, it’s especially prevalent in middle-aged or older adults who are struggling with other serious medical issues, like cancer, diabetes or Parkinson’s disease. But other risk factors for depression include a family history of depression, taking certain medications that cause depressive side effects, major life changes, ongoing stress and trauma.

Depression can manifest with a variety of different symptoms including:

  • fatigue
  • persistent sadness
  • low mood
  • irritability
  • feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • low sex drive
  • changes in appetite
  • weight changes
  • feelings of helplessness
  • disinterest in hobbies or activities
  • aches and pains
  • headaches
  • digestive issues
  • thoughts of death or suicide
  • attempting suicide

Conventional Treatment of Depression

Conventional treatment for depression typically involves the use of medications and/or psychotherapy. The most widely used form of medication for depression is SSRIs, or selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, which include drugs like Celexa, Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil. Research shows that antidepressant medications do help patients with depression, but they work as symptom suppressors rather than cures. Once a patient is no longer taking the antidepressants, the symptoms will probably recur. In addition, antidepressant medications have serious side effects that can include suicidal thoughts, weight gain and personality changes. Another danger of psychotropic drugs like SSRIs is that they can cause neurotransmitter degradation, leading to changes in the brain.

In addition to medication, psychotherapy is another option. There are several forms of psychotherapy that can be helpful, including “talk therapy” or counseling, problem-solving therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. A study conducted at the Ohio State University found that when cancer patients suffering from depression were asked if they would rather use individual counseling, antidepressant medications or support groups to address their symptoms, preference for individual counseling was significantly higher than the other options. Counseling can be an effective depression treatment, along with other natural remedies for depression.


13 Natural Remedies for Depression

Diet:

1. Eat a Healthy and Well-Balanced Diet

You may be surprised to learn that your food choices can have a significant impact on your mood. It’s key to eat foods that support your neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s messengers that control your mood, energy levels, appetite and several other functions in the body. Neurotransmitters are significantly influenced by the foods you put into your body.

A 2009 study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry examined the association between dietary patterns and depression. There were 3,486 participants who fell into one of two dietary categories. The first was those who ate a whole food diet, heavily loaded by vegetables, fruits and fish. Second was those who ate processed foods. These foods included sweetened desserts, fried food, processed meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy products. After five years, the participants were assessed. Researchers found that those who stuck to the whole food dietary pattern had lower odds of depression. In contrast, high consumption of processed food was associated with an increased risk of developing depression.

Eating healing foods can be transformative. Here’s a breakdown of the whole foods that should be part of your diet to prevent and treat depression:

  • Omega-3 foods: Research shows that one of the most important components of your diet in order to prevent or treat mood disorders is omega-3 foods. Your brain lipids are actually composed of fatty acids. Of those those fatty acids, 33 percent belong to the omega-3 family. That means that you need to eat omega-3s in order for your brain to function properly. Omega-3s benefit the brain by promoting communication processes and reducing inflammation. The best omega-3 foods include wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and white fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, natto and egg yolks.
  • Fruits and Vegetables: A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases your intake of vital nutrients that support your mood. Fruits and veggies high in folate, for example, promote the brain’s metabolic processes and research shows that a folate deficiency can lead to depressive symptoms. Some of the top folate foods include spinach, asparagus, avocado, beets and broccoli. Your body also needs antioxidant foods to combat the biochemical changes that take place when you’re under stress. A study published in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry found that antioxidant therapy for 6 weeks significantly reduced both depression and anxiety scores in observed patients. Some of the top antioxidant foods include blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, cranberries and artichokes.
  • Healthy fats: Healthy fats provide important vitamins and minerals that boost energy levels and mood. Plus, eating healthy fats helps to prevent free radical damage that may be associated with depression. But it’s important to understand that not all fats are created equal. In fact, research shows that there’s a detrimental relationship between consuming trans fats (like hydrogenated oils) and depression risk.  Stick to eating healthy fats such as avocados, grass-fed butter, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and omega-3s like walnuts and flaxseeds.
  • Lean Protein: Eating protein is critical for supporting neurological function and balancing hormones. Protein foods also provide energy and boost our mood. We need to consume plenty of protein throughout the day because the amino acids allow for many of the body’s functions. When you don’t eat enough protein, you become fatigued, your immunity weakens and you experience moodiness. The best sources of protein include grass-fed beef, lentils, wild fish, organic chicken, black beans, yogurt, free-range eggs, raw cheese and bone broth protein powder.
  • Probiotic Foods: Eating probiotic foods increases energy levels, supports cognitive function and promotes mental wellness. Some of the top probiotic foods include kefir, yogurt, kombucha, miso, raw cheese and fermented vegetables. In fact, a great way to consume probiotics is to drink kombucha every day because it also contains enzymes and B vitamins that boost your energy levels and helps to detoxify your body.

2. Avoid Refined Carbohydrates and Sugars

Have you ever wondered why you crave refined carbohydrates and sugars when you’re feeling sad? If you tend to reach for the cookies or potato chips in tough moments, it’s because high carbohydrates foods trigger a release of serotonin, a natural opioid that acts in the brain similarly to the drug opium. Although these foods are improving your mood for the moment, they are also leading to weight gain, issues with sleep, candida overgrowth and low energy levels, making your depression symptoms worse.

An investigation conducted at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas found that sugar consumption rates were correlated with the annual rate of major depression. And a systematic review published by the American Public Health Association found that there is a significant relationship between unhealthy dietary patterns (such as eating a “Western diet” that’s made up of mostly processed foods) and poorer mental health in children and adolescents. Diets that are high in refined sugars are actually harmful to your brain because they promote inflammation and oxidative stress.

To reduce depressive symptoms by supporting the health of your brain and balancing your hormones, avoid eating packaged and processed foods that are made with refined carbohydrates and sugars. Stick to real, whole foods that are in their natural forms.

Supplements:

3. Fish Oil 

Omega-3 fats are critical for neurotransmitter function, an important component for emotional and physiological brain balance. Research published in CNS Neuroscience Therapeutics analyzed three studies that involved the treatment of depression with omega-3 fatty acids. One study compared the benefits of omega-3 therapy to placebo therapy, another study tested the effects of omega-3s on children with depression and the third study was an open-label trial using EPA to treat bipolar depression. Researchers found that omega-3s showed highly significant effects. For example, in the open-label study involving people with bipolar depression, patients who completed at least one month of follow-up achieved a 50 percent or greater reduction of depression symptoms. Fish oil supplements are a great way to ensure you are getting enough omega-3 fats.

4. Probiotics

Research shows that probiotic supplements can improve mental outlook, which is due to the gut-brain connection. Probiotics aid nutrient absorption and promote glycemic control, helping to avoid spikes and drops in blood sugar levels. But most importantly, studies show that there are direct lines of communication from the gut to the brain, so taking probiotics actually changes your behavior and brain chemistry, thereby improving cognitive function and reducing depressive symptoms.

A 2017 study illustrated the correlation between gut health and depression. Researchers analyzed 44 adults with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and mild to moderate anxiety or depression. Half of the group took a probiotic (specifically Bifidobacterium longum NCC3001), and the other was given a placebo. Six weeks after taking probiotics daily, 64 percent of the patients taking the probiotic reported decreased depression. Of the patients taking a placebo, only 32 percent reported decreased depression.

5. Vitamin D3

A systematic review and meta-analysis evaluating the efficacy of vitamin D supplement as a natural remedy for depression found that vitamin D supplementation was favorable in the management of depression because it changed vitamin levels in a way that’s comparable to antidepressant medications.

Vitamin D acts like a hormone in the body and effects brain function, which is why a deficiency is linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depression and seasonal affective disorder (or “winter depression”), a form of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.

6. Adaptogen Herbs 

Adaptogen herbs are a class of healing plants that improves stress hormones and relax the nervous system. They help to balance and protect the body by reducing cortisol levels when your under any type of stress.

Two adaptogens that work as natural remedies for depression include rhodiola and ashwagandha. Rhodiola works by increasing the sensitivity of your neurons, including two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters help to increase focus and memory, and improve mood. Ashwagandha works to combat the effects of stress, reduce anxiety and depression and balance hormones. But the best part about these natural remedies for depression is that there are no adverse side effects, as opposed to most antidepressant medications.

7. B-Complex 

B vitamins are involved in neurotransmitter function and research shows that low levels of both folate and vitamin B12 levels, in particular, are linked to depressive symptoms. This is especially true for patients who have been treated with lithium and those with alcoholism.

Vitamin B12 supports the neurological system and boosts energy levels, and folate supports nutrient absorption, helps to reduce irritability and fights fatigue. Taking a B-complex vitamin will help to produce serotonin naturally and relieve depressant symptoms, without the need for medications or toxic sugary foods.

8. St. John’s Wort

Several studies show that St. John’s wort can help to fight mild to moderate depression and anxiety. St. John’s wort works as a natural remedy for depression that can be compared to the efficacy of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a common type of antidepressant that’s prescribed today. Plus, research shows that St. John’s wort has fewer side effects than standard antidepressants.

Although researchers aren’t exactly sure how St. John’s wort works to fight depression, it’s believed that it may be associated with the herb’s ability to make more serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine available in the brain. This is important because these three neurotransmitters help to boost mood and improve the symptoms of depression. Also, if you choose to use St. John’s wort as a natural remedy for depression, do it only under the guidance of your health care provider.

Essential Oils:

9. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil helps to relieve stress, promote a feeling of peace and improve sleep. It actually has a long history of medicinal use for mood disorders because it has sedative and calming properties. Studies show that lavender oil also has neuroprotective effects. It enhances dopamine receptors and works as an antioxidant.

To use lavender oil as a natural remedy for depression, add 5–10 drops to warm bath water, diffuse 5–10 drops in your bedroom at night to promote sleep, and apply 2–3 drops topically to the temples, chest and wrists in the morning.

10. Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile essential oil works as a mild sedative that naturally calms nerves and promotes relaxation. Research shows that Roman chamomile oil can be used alone or in combination with lavender oil to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety.

To use Roman chamomile as one of your natural remedies for depression, inhale the vapors directly from the bottle a few times a day, apply 2–3 drops topically to your wrists and back of neck, or diffuse 5–7 drops at home or at your workplace.

Lifestyle:

11. Build Relationships and Get Support

Because depression is most commonly caused by emotional issues, it can become worse due to lack of positive relationships, low self confidence and lack of purpose. Find a strong community of friends that can support and encourage you, and focus on your spirituality and relationship with God. It’s also helpful to seek counseling with a professional so that you can manage stress and strategize about your treatment methods and goals.

A 2013 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that the “quality of social relationships is a major risk factor for major depression.” Risk of depression was greatest among those with poor overall relationship quality, a lack of social support and social strains. Researchers found that these relationship statuses more than doubled the risk of depression. It seems that personal relationships may be one of the most important natural remedies for depression.

12. Exercise 

Exercise gives you a boost of energy, helps you to sleep better and builds confidence. These benefits of exercise will improve depressive symptoms and promote feelings of happiness and self-worth. A 2012 systematic review found that exercise can help to reduce the symptoms of depression, especially when its done in combination with psychological therapies.

Aim to exercise three to five days a week for 20 minutes or more. You can try any type of exercise that you like, such as yoga, pilates, running, barre, burst training and calisthenics. Even taking a walk outside will boost your happy hormones and energy levels. Of the natural remedies for depression, this is one that offers some of the most variety of options to choose from.

13. Spend Time Outdoors

Research shows that improving your vitamin D levels can help to reduce the symptoms of depression. In fact, the relationship between depression and vitamin D deficiency from a lack of sun exposure was first noted over two thousand years ago, according to researchers at the University of South Australia. Aim for spending 10–20 minutes in the sun daily.


Precautions

If you are suffering from depression and want to use these natural remedies for depression to improve your symptoms, do it under the care and guidance of your health care provider or counselor. Don’t be afraid to ask for support, as it’s so important to get help when you need it. But, if you notice any adverse reactions to these natural treatments for depression, or your symptoms become worse, discontinue the use of that remedy and see your health care provider. Also, it may take three to four weeks to see improvements with some of these natural remedies for depression.


Final Thoughts on Natural Remedies for Depression

  • Depression is one of the main causes of disability in developed, as well as low and medium income countries, with around 150 million people suffering from depression worldwide.
  • But, antidepressant medications come with a slew of side effects and people don’t know where to turn to find a treatment that won’t bring on more health problems.
  • However, luckily there are natural remedies for depression like dietary changes, using essential oils for depression, supplementing with vitamin D3 and B vitamins, and making lifestyle changes. Seeking counseling and community support has also proven to be beneficial for people who are suffering from depressive symptoms.

Today’s article has been shared from the following website: https://draxe.com/natural-remedies-depression/

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Overcoming Depression – Dine Nutritiously, Part 2

Our bodies are our gardens - Our wills are our gardeners    William ShakespeareI was talking to a friend yesterday. She was telling me about her husband. Within the last year or so he has discovered that he is gluten intolerant. She told me that once he quit eating gluten, his health improved so much that he was astonished. Her comment to me was that he had not realized how lousy he had felt until he felt better.

I am not anti-gluten. However, I am pro-health. I have the viewpoint of both a Christian and a near-death experiencer. Combined, my viewpoint is that no man-made food will ever even come close to the foods that our Creator has created for us to consume.

Too many think that if it tastes good and satisfies their hunger cravings, it is good. We need minerals, vitamins, fiber, and all kinds of nutrients and components that are naturally contained in fruits, vegetables, & whole grains. I would venture to guess that we need things in those foods that science hasn’t even discovered yet.

For those who are seeking to overcome their depression, food,in its most natural form, is a powerful friend. However, although you can expect quick improvement, don’t expect overnight miracles. If you have been eating poorly for the bulk of your life, you are not going to be bouncing with energy tomorrow after eating just one raw carrot today.

Try to eat a large variety of fruits, vegetables and natural grains. Meat is okay – just try not to make it the main component of your meals. Stick with natural sugars. Basically, the closer a food is to its harvested form, the better.

Remember that as I have been talking about overcoming depression, that I have shared that the process of overcoming depression will include many steps and essential behavior changes. Eating healthy is definitely one of them! If you are suffering from depression, I hope that you will continue to make those changes that will bring you better emotional health! You CAN do it! Be patient, it is a step by step process. Be sure to read today’s article!:

Diet and Depression: Foods and Nutrients for Recovery

Depression is a prevalent mental health illness throughout the world, causing negative thoughts and behaviors in those who experience it.

Many people with depression seek natural treatments for their symptoms, in one form or another. While there is no specific diet to treat depression, what a person consumes may play a role in managing its symptoms.

What’s the link between diet and depression?

A diet lacking in essential nutrients can increase the risk of depression. Eating a varied and healthy diet can help to treat depression.

Links between diet and depression were misunderstood until recently. Many factors contribute to depression symptoms, and there are dietary considerations for each of them.

A recent study posted to BMC Medicinedemonstrated that a group of people with moderate to severe depression improved their mood and signs of depression by eating a more healthful diet.

The study was the first to prove that diet alone could reduce depression symptoms. The dieters followed a specific program for 12 weeks that included one-on-one counseling with a dietitian. The treatment diet encouraged eating whole foods while discouraging things such as refined foods, sweets, and fried food.

Dieters showed greatly reduced symptoms when compared to other groups. In addition, more than 32 percent of participants experienced remission, so were no longer considered depressed.

Important foods and nutrients for depression

The following foods and nutrients may play a role in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Selenium

Selenium can be a part of reducing symptoms of depression in many people. Low selenium levels have been linked to poor moods.

Selenium can be found in supplement form or a variety of foods, including whole grains, Brazil nuts, and some seafood. Organ meats, such as liver, are also high in selenium.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D deficiency is associated with many mood disorders, including depression. It is important to get enough vitamin D to help in the fight against depression.

This vitamin is obtained easily through full body exposure to the sun, and there are also many high-quality supplements on the market that contain vitamin D.

Food sources of vitamin D include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Nuts and seeds are sources of omega fats, which can help treat mood disorders and improve cognitive function.

In a study posted to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, researchers observed that populations that do not eat enough omega-3 fatty acids might have higher rates of depressive disorders.

Good sources of omega-3s may include:

  • cold water fish, such as salmon, sardines, tuna, and mackerel
  • flaxseed, flaxseed oil, and chia seeds
  • nuts, such as walnuts and almonds

The quality of these foods can affect the levels of omega-3s they contain.

Eating omega-3 fatty acids may increase the level of healthful fats available to the brain, preserve the myelin sheath that protects nerve cells, and keep the brain working at the highest level. In turn, this can reduce the risk of mood disorders and brain diseases occurring.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants have become popular as they fight free radicals. Free radicals are damaged molecules that can build up in different cells in the body and cause problems, such as inflammation, premature aging, and cell death.

The brain may be more prone to this type of damage than other areas of the body. As a result, it needs a good way to get rid of these free radicals and avoid problems. Foods rich in antioxidants are believed to help reduce or reverse the damage caused by free radicals.

Everyday antioxidants found in a variety of whole foods include:

  • vitamin E
  • vitamin C
  • vitamin A (beta-carotene)

These nutrients may help reduce stress-related symptoms of psychiatric disorders.

B vitamins

Some B vitamins are also key in mood disorders such as depression. Vitamin B12 and folate, or vitamin B9, have both been linked to a reduced risk of mood disorders.

Sources of B vitamins include:

  • eggs
  • meat
  • poultry
  • fish
  • oysters
  • milk
  • whole grains

Fortified cereals may also contain vitamins B12 and folate. Other foods that have folate in them include:

  • dark leafy vegetables
  • fruit and fruit juices
  • nuts
  • beans
  • whole grains
  • dairy products
  • meat and poultry
  • seafood
  • eggs

Eating a varied diet is an easy way to ensure there is enough folate in the diet.

Zinc

Zinc helps the body perceive taste, boosts the immune system, and may also influence depression. Zinc levels may be lower in people with clinical depression, and zinc supplementation may also improve the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Zinc is found in supplements. Foods, including whole grains, oysters, beans, and nuts, are also good sources of zinc.

Protein-rich foods

High-quality proteins are the building blocks of life. Getting adequate protein is essential for everyone, but some forms of protein, in particular, may be more helpful for people with depression.

Foods such as tuna, turkey, and chickpeas have good levels of tryptophan, which is needed to form serotonin.

Serotonin deficiency was once thought to be a major cause of depression. We now know that the link between serotonin and depression is very complex, but it does seem to influence depression in many people. Including foods rich in tryptophan in a diet may help relieve symptoms.

 

Foods to avoid

Just as certain foods and nutrients may be of benefit to people with depression, there are also some that should be avoided.

Caffeine

For people with depression that is linked to anxiety, it may be important to avoid caffeine. Caffeine can make it difficult to sleep and may trigger symptoms of anxiety in many people.

Caffeine also affects the system for hours after it is consumed. It is best for people with depression to avoid caffeine if possible, or reduce consumption and stop consuming it after noon.

Alcohol

Though occasional alcohol drinking is seen as an acceptable distraction, it may make depression symptoms worse.

Excessive alcohol consumption may increase the risk of panic attacks or depressed episodes. Alcohol also alters a person’s mood and may turn into a habit, which could influence depression symptoms.

Refined foods

High-calorie foods with few nutrients in them may also influence depression symptoms. Foods high in sugar and refined carbs can promote a crash, as the energy from them is depleted. This can make a person feel mood swings or energy swings.

Nutrient-dense whole foods are a much better approach to balancing mood and energy levels.

Processed oils

Highly processed or refined oils, such as safflower and corn oil, are very high in omega-6 fatty acids. Having too many omega-6s in the diet can cause an imbalance in the body that may promote inflammation in the brain and influence depression symptoms.

Other factors that play a role in depression

Regular physical activity and spending time outdoors are proven ways to help improve the symptoms of depression.

There are other factors that link to both diet and depression and play a role in this mental healthillness.

Emerging research has shown gut bacteria to play an integral role in major mood disorders, including depression and bipolar disease. A 2016 meta-analysis reported that probiotics, in both supplement form and in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir, resulted in significant reductions in depression.

More research is needed to identify the therapeutic value of specific strains, but so far Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium show potential.

Obese people may be more likely to be depressed, and depressed people are more likely to become obese. This may be due to hormone changes and immune system imbalances that come with depression.

Spending time outdoors and at least 150 minutes of physical activity weekly have been shown to improve mood and depressive symptoms.

Some people with depression also have substance abuse problems. Alcohol or other drugs can interfere with sleep patterns, decrease motivation, and alter a person’s mood.

Sleep may also play a role in depression. The body’s natural sleep cycle creates mood-altering chemicals to match the time of day. Altering this natural cycle may affect how well the body can use these chemicals.

Most adults respond well when they get 7 to 8 hours of sleep, though the number varies from person to person. It may also help to reduce exposure to blue light, during the hours leading up to sleep. Blue light is emitted by electronic devices and low-energy light bulbs.

 

Outlook and when to get help

Changing the diet to relieve the symptoms of depression is a promising step in treatment. It should not be seen as the only step needed, however. Working directly with a doctor before changing anything in a treatment plan should always be the priority.

There are also many support groups to help people move to a healthful diet and to keep people’s morale high, as they fight depression.

Today’s article was written by Jon Johnson and is shared from the following website: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318428.php

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 5

You Find What You Look For

I took last Friday off to spend some much needed time with my family prior to my son’s wedding on Saturday. Thank you for understanding!

Because of that family time, I am finishing my attitude of gratitude series today.

The quote I used on today’s meme tells it all: You Find What You Look For.

What a profound statement! I remember so vividly the night that I had my near-death experience. It was proceeded by a phone call from a bill collector. My severe depression and 24/7 migraines had created chaos of our business and finances. I was not able to keep up and several large clients filing bankruptcy had had a profound effect on our bank account.

I tried to explain to the bill collector that I was suffering from severe depression and 24/7 migraines in hopes that she would be more willing to work with me. Instead, she said, in the snidest tone of voice she could find, “You are depressed and sick because you want to be depressed and sick.”

That conversation was the last straw for my depressed mind that horrible, horrible day so many years ago. Thank goodness for the Divine Intervention that followed that night!

I have learned many things since that day. I have walked a path of healing and I have searched and studied hard. I am no longer depressed and I no longer have 24/7 headaches. I now have the health of someone much younger than my actual age. Nothing about my current situation is an accident. It came as a result of learning and following God’s guidance step by step.

Though I did not consciously choose depression or my headaches, I did have to learn a different mindset to overcome my depression. I had to deliberately look for light and goodness. I had to consciously recognize and acknowledge all that I had to be grateful for. And, I had to commit to using those new found skills for the rest of my life. The result? My life and health is better than it ever has been!

Thus far, we have talked about Depending on God, Delving into the Depths of Your Soul (Getting to truly know yourself), and having an Attitude of Gratitude. Those are the first three steps for overcoming depression.

There are no quick fixes. The law of the harvest is as applicable today as it ever has been. The rest of this week, we will share how the use of exercise can help overcome depression. Be sure to stay tuned! I hope you will enjoy today’s article on using gratitude to overcome depression:

Gratitude – A Cure for Depression?

This Is No Fun

Depression is no fun… none at all, I hated it. Obsession isn’t any fun either… all that relentless going over what happened, who said what, who did what, and how unfair it all was.

After a major life crisis I spent the next year, though it felt a whole lot longer, pretty much laying around on the couch bemoaning my life and feeling hopeless, pointless, angry, depressed, bitter and also quite a bit righteous. After all, I was the victim wasn’t I?

There’s A Train in My Brain

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It felt like I had a train in my brain going around and around carrying a relentless pattern of sad, mad, thoughts. I could not turn those thoughts off, could hardly sleep, and found it hard to think about anything else. The train was full of pain and every time it went around I hurt.

When I looked into the future and imagined living with that train long term it made me feel like jumping off a tall building. Fortunately I didn’t even have the energy to climb to the top of one.

Eventually I got desperate enough to go out and look for a way to change things that did not involve tall buildings.

So That’s How My Brain Works

I happened upon a course that taught me about how my brain works, what neural pathways are, and how flexible and changeable the brain is. During the course I had a profoundly life changing epiphany:

“You find what you look for.”

Those six little words changed the way I live my life.

Backtrack

To backtrack a little: I best explain that even during the worst of my depression/obsession I had been very, very, familiar with gratitude as an concept – I loved it.

I had a gratitude journal (mostly empty) and two of my daughters, Georgia & Hailey, had popular online gratitude projects. Unbelievably, given my mental state, Hailey and I had even written a short comedy film script about gratitude. Still, my gratitude journal sat lonely by my bed while I waited, not very hopefully, for something good to happen, something worth being grateful for.

Why Gratitude Works

While the course was not really about gratitude, the science that was presented in the course opened my eyes as to why and how gratitude could work to alleviate depression and why it had not worked for me so far. I began to understand that it isn’t, as I had thought, being happy that makes us grateful; it is deciding to be grateful that makes us happy (Thanks for that wisdom Dr David!).

I began to see that the intentional practice of gratitude, even when you don’t feel like it, has the power to change entrenched negative thinking and rewire the brain.

Very tentatively, and with some difficulty at first, I began to practice gratitude. In a surprisingly short period of time that relentless train in my head was mostly derailed and my depression faded off into the distance.

There are many reasons that gratitude worked for me, here are just a few:

Other Orientation

Brain rules Dr. John Madina

Gratitude practice forced me to start thinking about other people and the way they contributed to my life. I had less time to wallow, gazing at my navel and more time to notice how many kindnesses I was regularly shown. I’d been so self focused that I just took them for granted and didn’t even notice them.

Dr John Medina, author of the NY Times Bestseller ‘Brain Rules’ spoke, during an interview film for our (still in production) documentary Goodness Gracious Me!, about how effective ‘other orientation’ is for getting out of depression.

Lots of Good Chemicals

I found gratitude practice reduced my stress levels almost immediately. There is so much science backing this up – research shows that gratitude practice reduces the stress hormone cortisol and dramatically increases the feel good hormone DHEA. There is nothing like an all natural ‘happy chemical’ cocktail to make you feel better. You might enjoy this page on the Science behind gratitude.

New Tracks

It turned out I did have a train in my brain going around and around on tracks I had laid for it: neural pathways! These little guys are the highways for information travelling through our nervous system and they are built by our own thoughts. It works, very simplistically put, like this: Thoughts create neural pathways and the more thoughts on a subject the stronger that neural pathway becomes. Our brains have to automate most of our thinking just to get through the day so the strongest neural pathways are the default thinking. My nasty, sad, self pitying and angry thoughts had created a super highway and it was no wonder I couldn’t think about much else.

As I began to deliberately think grateful, thankful, good thoughts the more my brain began to think positively and the less traction the old super highway depression pathway had. In time I found it more natural to default to a positive take on things that happened.

Different Picture

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When I said I had had an epiphany around the six little words “You find what you look for.” I meant it.

Just simply deciding each day to look for the good in my life, and express gratitude for it, has meant that my life has become filled with good. The more I look for good things in my life the more my brain becomes alert to good things, scans for good things, and finds good things.

It is hard to be depressed when there is so much good around. Previously my brain was wired to scan for bad, and it was exceptionally good at finding it.

Named My Own Game

Once I understood how my own thoughts could play a part in depression I realized that I was often making the choice to replay certain things for a variety of self-serving reasons.

Firstly I had developed a victim mentality – starring in a victim role comes easily to me and I have learned to become more aware of it, avoiding it as often as possible. Bad stuff happens to everyone and it is my choice if I let myself play the victim.

Gratitude teaches me that I am not a victim but the undeserving recipient of so much beauty and grace.

Gratitude is an instantly rewarding practice that gave me positive emotions that transitioned me to a place where I was stronger emotionally and able to be a little more self controlled.

Another game I was playing was the sympathy game – if you are depressed people treat you kindly and give you sympathy – yay! Gratitude is teaching me to give empathy to others and stop making myself the center of my own, and everyone else’s, attention. I also began to glimpse how draining on everyone my misery was – not a pretty sight.

I also secretly enjoyed knowing that I did not have to be strong and self controlled if I was rolling in my own misery. Everyone understands that when you are miserable it’s hard to be strong and so there is tolerance for much self indulgent behaviour. Gratitude is an instantly rewarding practice that gave me positive emotions that transitioned me to a place where I was stronger emotionally and able to be a little more self controlled.

My own experience tells me that gratitude is a powerful antidote to depression, many people I talk to feel the same way.

mountains joy awe

Feeling grateful brings emotions of awe, wonder, happiness and joy, to name a few, and those emotions shove depression aside.

As I have researched the subject of gratitude I have come across loads of scientific studies that back up my own experience regarding depression. I have looked a little at depression research too and more and more there is an understanding that our own thoughts have a huge role in this affliction.

Certainly the widespread acceptance that depression is just a chemical imbalance or a random disease is under review among many scientists and psychologists at the moment.

Kill Depression With Kindness

Which brings me to my other depression killing tip: Random acts of kindness – if all else fails for me, and I find myself getting a little down, I just go out and do secret acts of kindness for strangers and friends. Works every time!

This article was written by Toni Powell and is shared from the following website: http://gratefulness.org/grateful_living/gratitude-cure-depression/


smiling woman Toni Powell

Toni Powell is a recovering worrywart, author, storyteller and award-winning filmmaker. She spends most of her time teaching people about the life-changing power of gratitude through very funny workplace seminars, professional development for teachers, public How To Have a Happy Life workshops and videos like the surprising, hilarious and helpful video, The Yellow Car.

 

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Overcoming Depression – Creating an Attitude of Gratitude Part 3

There’s no happier person than a truly Thankful, content person Joyce Meyer

This week, in an effort to help others overcome depression, I am focusing on gratitude. There are several steps for overcoming depression and gratitude is an essential step.

Just think how happy you would be if your sole intent was to find the negative in everything you encounter. (Not Very right?) Yet, that is what some do – not intentionally but from thought patterns that they have developed over time.

Is there a co-worker who drives you crazy? Are you constantly fussing about your children’s cleanliness habits or lack of? What about those inconsiderate ways of your spouse or family member? Are you concerned that you are always getting the fuzzy end of the lollipop? Has some incredible trauma been a part of your life?

During my near-death experience, I saw the reverence, love, and honor that everyone had for each other in heaven. Other than God, no one was perfect but everyone radiated an air of love and goodwill. Everyone celebrated the good in each other and genuinely supported each other. I believe there is a lesson there. I walked away from my near-death experience with a greater understanding of what make heaven heaven.

We are on earth now, having a mortal experience. There is an important purpose for mortality. We have come to learn, grow, and improve. We have come to develop faith. We are no longer surrounded and enveloped by God’s love, as we were in heaven, but we can choose to love, honor, and reverence each other on earth as well. It is not easy work but it is work that our lives will be blessed for.

If you would like to overcome depression or just improve your life, you must develop an attitude of gratitude! Our thoughts and emotions are powerful things. So powerful, they can help heal us or help make us ill. There is a book, published in 1995, that speaks powerfully to the power of thoughts and emotions, etc. making us ill. It is called the 22 Non-Negotiable Laws of Wellness by Greg Anderson. It is a wonderful book! Whether you are suffering from depression or any other illness, it is worth your time and effort to read! Greg Anderson was diagnosed with terminal cancer (a second time) and then studied the patterns and changes made by individuals who had survived terminal illnesses. As you might have guessed, he adopted those changes himself and has lived to teach others about how to heal and overcome illness (even terminal ones).

I hope you will take the time to read Greg Anderson’s book! I also hope that you will work to increase your gratitude! Today’s article shares more information on how to have an attitude of gratitude! I hope you enjoy!:

How to Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is that time of year when giving thanks is top of mind. The holiday season, and Thanksgiving in particular, causes us to think about all of the special things in our lives and express gratitude for them. This is a favorite time of year for many, in large part because we are surrounded by loved ones and visibly reminded of all that we have to be grateful for.

If you’re like me, you wish this feeling could last all year long. Just imagine feeling proud, thankful, and joyful on an ongoing basis, not only during the holiday season.

A major step in that direction is developing an “Attitude of Gratitude,” according to New York Times best-selling author Lewis Howes. Howes writes extensively about cultivating a grateful mindset in his highly-inspirational new book, The School of Greatness. As Howes simply says, “Life is better if you develop an attitude of gratitude.”

But what exactly does that mean and how do we do it?

An attitude of gratitude means making it a habit to express thankfulness and appreciation in all parts of your life, on a regular basis, for both the big and small things alike. As Howes puts it, “If you concentrate on what you have, you’ll always have more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you’ll never have enough.”

Here is a menu of tactics (just pick a few!) he endorses to help develop this mindset:

  • Wake up every day and express to yourself what you are grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with at the end of the day the 3 things you are most grateful for
  • Tell whoever you are with right now (significant other, friend, family member, etc.) the 3 things that you are most grateful for in this moment
  • Start a gratitude journal – Express gratitude in this journal every night by noting the things that you are grateful for, proud of, and excited about
  • Acknowledge yourself for what you have done and accomplished in the last day/week/month/year. Instead of comparing yourself to others, give yourself credit for the big and small things you have been doing!
  • Acknowledge other people and thank them for inspiring/helping/supporting you – oftentimes people wait their whole lives to be acknowledged (and yet it happens far too infrequently)!

If the gratitude process is hard to get started, begin by asking yourself, “What could I be grateful for?”, and see if the ideas start to flow. This is a mindset habit that is recommended by Tony Robbins in his book, Awaken the Giant Within.

Every day won’t be perfect, but focusing on what we are grateful for tends to wash away feelings of anger and negativity.

And in addition to improving mood, recent studies show that feeling and expressing gratitude leads to better physical health as well. Paul Mills, a Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, conducted studies that looked at the role of gratitude on heart health.

Among other things, he found that participants who kept a journal most days of the week, writing about 2-3 things they were grateful for (everything from appreciating their children to travel and good food), had reduced levels of inflammation and improved heart rhythm compared to people who did not write in a journal. And the journal-keepers also showed a decreased risk of heart disease after only 2 months of this new routine!

So try adopting some of the above tactics, even just one or two, in order to develop an overall grateful mindset. It takes a bit of work, but having an attitude of gratitude is one of the most impactful habits for a fulfilling and healthy life.

Today’s article was written by Andrew Merle and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-merle/how-to-have-an-attitude-of-gratitude_b_8644102.html

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