Begin and End with Gratitude

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance Eckhart Tolle

HOW GRATITUDE CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE

“If the only prayer you say in your life is ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.” – Meister Eckhart

Gratitude means thankfulness, counting your blessings, noticing simple pleasures, and acknowledging everything that you receive. It means learning to live your life as if everything were a miracle, and being aware on a continuous basis of how much you’ve been given. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. In addition, behavioral and psychological research has shown the surprising life improvements that can stem from the practice of gratitude. Giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, it strengthens relationships, it improves health, and it reduces stress.

RESEARCH SHOWS GRATITUDE HEIGHTENS QUALITY OF LIFE

Two psychologists, Michael McCollough of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and Robert Emmons of the University of California at Davis, wrote an article about an experiment they conducted on gratitude and its impact on well-being. The study split several hundred people into three different groups and all of the participants were asked to keep daily diaries. The first group kept a diary of the events that occurred during the day without being told specifically to write about either good or bad things; the second group was told to record their unpleasant experiences; and the last group was instructed to make a daily list of things for which they were grateful. The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism, and energy. In addition, those in the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, were more likely to help others, exercised more regularly, and made greater progress toward achieving personal goals.

Dr. Emmons – who has been studying gratitude for almost ten years and is considered by many to be the world’s leading authority on gratitude – is author of the book, “Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier”. The information in this book is based on research involving thousands of people conducted by a number of different researchers around the world. One of the things these studies show is that practicing gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25%. This is significant, among other things, because just as there’s a certain weight that feels natural to your body and which your body strives to maintain, your basic level of happiness is set at a predetermined point. If something bad happens to you during the day, your happiness can drop momentarily, but then it returns to its natural set-point. Likewise, if something positive happens to you, your level of happiness rises, and then it returns once again to your “happiness set-point”. A practice of gratitude raises your “happiness set-point” so you can remain at a higher level of happiness regardless of outside circumstances.

In addition, Dr. Emmons’ research shows that those who practice gratitude tend to be more creative, bounce back more quickly from adversity, have a stronger immune system, and have stronger social relationships than those who don’t practice gratitude. He further points out that “To say we feel grateful is not to say that everything in our lives is necessarily great. It just means we are aware of our blessings.”

NOTICE AND APPRECIATE EACH DAY’S GIFTS

People tend to take for granted the good that is already present in their lives. There’s a gratitude exercise that instructs that you should imagine losing some of the things that you take for granted, such as your home, your ability to see or hear, your ability to walk, or anything that currently gives you comfort. Then imagine getting each of these things back, one by one, and consider how grateful you would be for each and every one. In addition, you need to start finding joy in the small things instead of holding out for big achievements—such as getting the promotion, having a comfortable nest egg saved up, getting married, having the baby, and so on–before allowing yourself to feel gratitude and joy.

Another way to use giving thanks to appreciate life more fully is to use gratitude to help you put things in their proper perspective. When things don’t go your way, remember that every difficulty carries within it the seeds of an equal or greater benefit. In the face of adversity ask yourself: “What’s good about this?”, “What can I learn from this?”, and “How can I benefit from this?”

THERE ARE MANY WAYS TO PRACTICE GRATITUDE

A common method to develop the practice of gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal, a concept that was made famous by Sarah Ban Breathnach’s book “Simple Abundance Journal of Gratitude”. This exercise basically consists of writing down every day a list of three to ten things for which you are grateful; you can do this first thing in the morning or before going to bed at night. Another exercise you can try is to write a gratitude letter to a person who has exerted a positive influence in your life but whom you have not properly thanked. Some experts suggest that you set up a meeting with this person and read the letter to them face to face.

Last year millions of people took the challenge proposed by Will Bowen, a Kansas City minister, to go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping. To help condition the participants to stop complaining, they each wore a purple No-Complaint wristband. Several authors in the self-improvement genre have suggested that people do something similar to help condition themselves to be constantly aware of the things in life that they’re grateful for.

A variation of the wristband concept is to create a gratitude charm bracelet, with either one meaningful charm or different charms representing the things you’re most grateful for. For example, you could have a charm shaped like a heart to symbolize your significant other, figurines to represent different family members, an apple to represent health, a dollar sign to symbolize abundance, a charm that represents your current profession or a future career, and maybe a charm that makes you laugh to represent humor and joy.

CONCLUSION

Once you become oriented toward looking for things to be grateful for, you will find that you begin to appreciate simple pleasures and things that you previously took for granted. Gratitude should not be just a reaction to getting what you want, but an all-the-time gratitude, the kind where you notice the little things and where you constantly look for the good even in unpleasant situations. Today, start bringing gratitude to your experiences, instead of waiting for a positive experience in order to feel grateful; in this way, you’ll be on your way toward becoming a master of gratitude.

Today’s article was written by Marelisa Fabrega and is shared from the following website: https://possibilitychange.com/gratitude/

 

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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 4

Gratitude and Attitude are not Challenges; they are Choices Robert BraatheI hope that you have been spending this week like me: concentrating on all that we have to be grateful for.

So many of us want sunshine in our lives and feel that if life is not without it’s storms, then we have been dealt an unfair blow. The truth of the matter is that how we view our world is our choice.

I am reminded of the story in which two new families moved into a small town. The father of the first family asked a long-time member of the community by the name of Bill what kind of town their community was. Bill asked, “What kind of town did you just move from?” The father replied, “It was horrible. No one was kind or courteous. Everyone gossiped and we never felt welcome.” To his dismay, Bill told the father, “Oh, I think you will find this town just about the same.” Then, the father of the second new family approached Bill. He asked Bill the same question. Once again, Bill asked the father, “What kind of town did you just move from?” The second father responded, “Oh, the town we just moved from was wonderful! We loved it there! We made many friends! Everyone was wonderful and friendly!” Bill responded, “Well that’s wonderful! I know you are going to love living here as well!”

The moral of the story was that each father was going to get what they expected. We often are no different. Our expectations (attitude) most often dictate the outcome.

If we want the most amazing outcome possible for our lives, we must practice gratitude – not just as an occasional meandering into the area but as a deliberate way of life.

I love the article I share with you today! I hope you will enjoy and keep practicing that Attitude of Gratitude!:

5 Simple Ways to Develop an “Attitude of Gratitude”

by David A. Christensen

Our attitude is defined by the way we think and feel about life. It all begins with the way we see the world—which triggers a reaction, response, or behavior. Developing an “attitude of gratitude,” or seeing the world in such a way that spawns a thankful heart, produces many positive results.

Studies in what has become known as the “science of gratitude,” show that being grateful helps us feel more alive, promotes better sleep, fortifies our immune system, and even influences our looks. In short, grateful people are friendlier, healthier, happier, and even more attractive.

If you’re having trouble developing this habit in your life, then here are five suggestions to help you master an attitude of gratitude:

Develop the habit of “looking up.”

We live in a world where we look downward while we text on phones, check our email, view iPads, or even when we walk. Much of the news is centered on looking at the downside of life and what’s wrong on this planet. How much better would life be if we remember from time to time to look up, look outward, and look heavenward?

Years ago—before email, text, and Facebook connections—we moved our young family from Arizona to Michigan. My ninth-grader had to leave a lot of her friends, which created quite a bit of stress. When she came home each day from school, she would look down at the table or the desk for snail mail from her friends. I decided this might make a good teaching moment for her.

Since my wife and I were the ones who normally picked up the mail, we placed the letters and cards in high places in our home—a hanging light fixture, a high fireplace mantel, the top of a picture frame on the wall. This helped teach our daughter to “look up”—that’s where we find happy things. Looking heavenward can bring happiness. Heavenly Father wants us to notice His blessings by looking to Him. At our house, “looking up” stuck! It’s helped us be more thankful.

Start a gratitude journal or a tender mercy board in your home.

Anything that helps us to put our busy lives on pause—long and often enough to count and chronicle our blessings—will go a long way in developing an attitude of gratitude. On a daily basis, find a way to pause and take in these blessings.

Writing and remembering blessings every day will make you more aware of His hand in your life. Maybe even try switching up your individual or family prayers, at least for a while. The morning prayer could be focused on asking for blessings that you or the family needs and the evening prayer could be centered on giving thanks.

Have you ever tried to offer a prayer of 100% gratitude? Not asking for anything? It surely makes you think about your long list of blessings, which can often seem overwhelming.

Make a list of all the people you are grateful for.

Take some time and make a list of all the people in your life that have changed your life for the better. As you make the list, write a few notes by their name stating why they are special to you and what they did that qualifies them to be on your list.

Go back as far as you can remember—teachers, friends, advisors, grandparents, parents, siblings, and anyone who touched your life for good. Make it an open list that can grow as you remember more experiences or meet new people.

Make a list of all the enriching experiences in your life.

Let your mind wander from your earliest recollections to what happened in recent days. What experiences, both hard and joyful, have blessed your life? Make a list and add a description of what the experience taught you and how you’ve become a better person for having lived it.

Be sure to include the adversities that made you stronger. Remember those special experiences which magnified your testimony or lifted your self-esteem. These experiences enlighten our view and generate gratitude in our lives.

Make a list of people you need to forgive.

Every major religion teaches about the renewing power of forgiving and letting go. The wellspring of gratitude is sometimes dammed in our minds when we cling to unkind feelings for others.

Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive? It could even be something so simple as a sarcastic comment or unintentional slip of someone’s tongue. Let go of those unkind feelings and see what happens to your heart. We become more grateful for those around us when we do as the Savior does. He forgives us and expects us to do the same. Love for life and thankfulness expands in our hearts as we forgive and let go.


5 Simple Ways to Develop an

If you need more help developing a grateful heart, check out more ideas in David A. Christensen’s book, A Thankful Heart: 31 Teachings to Recognize Blessings in Your Life.

Today’s article is shared from the following website: http://www.ldsliving.com/5-Simple-Ways-to-Develop-an-Attitude-of-Gratitude/s/80062

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