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: Decide to Exercise Part 4

The Doctor of the Future will give no medicine, but instead will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease Thomas Edison

Have you started exercising to boost your mental health yet?!!! I hope you have! I hope that you are already feeling the positive benefits of exercise in your life!

Sometimes it takes some creativity to figure out how to work exercise into your schedule or even how to find an exercise that you can/will keep with. I love my elliptical machine – but I love it because it becomes my “time out”. While I exercise, I watch a show that I like or listen to something inspiring. It becomes pleasure time for me. The best part of my pleasure time it that I feel better, move better and am better because of it!

There are so many benefits of exercise! If you are suffering from depression, I hope that you will make creating time for exercise a priority! You will be glad you did! Be sure to read today’s article to get beefed up on several of the many benefits of exercise! Have a wonderful weekend!

Today’s Article: 13 Mental Health Benefits Of Exercise

Many people hit the gym or pound the pavement to improve cardiovascular health, build muscle, and of course, get a rockin’ body, but working out has above-the-neck benefits, too. For the past decade or so, scientists have pondered how exercising can boost brain function. Regardless of age or fitness level (yup, this includes everyone from mall-walkers to marathoners), studies show that making time for exercise provides some serious mental benefits. Get inspired to exercise by reading up on these unexpected ways that working out can benefit mental health, relationships and lead to a healthier and happier life overall.

1. Reduce Stress
Rough day at the office? Take a walk or head to the gym for a quick workout. One of the most common mental benefits of exercise is stress relief. Working up a sweat can help manage physical and mental stress. Exercise also increases concentrations of norepinephrine, a chemical that can moderate the brain’s response to stress. So go ahead and get sweaty — working out can reduce stress and boost the body’s ability to deal with existing mental tension. Win-win!

2. Boost Happy Chemicals
Slogging through a few miles on the ‘mill can be tough, but it’s worth the effort! Exercise releases endorphins, which create feelings of happiness and euphoria. Studies have shown that exercise can even alleviate symptoms among the clinically depressed. For this reason, docs recommend that people suffering from depression or anxiety (or those who are just feeling blue) pencil in plenty of gym time. In some cases, exercise can be just as effective as antidepressant pills in treating depression. Don’t worry if you’re not exactly the gym rat type — getting a happy buzz from working out for just 30 minutes a few times a week can instantly boost overall mood.

3. Improve Self-Confidence
Hop on the treadmill to look (and more importantly, feel) like a million bucks. On a very basic level, physical fitness can boost self-esteem and improve positive self-image. Regardless of weight, size, gender or age, exercise can quickly elevate a person’s perception of his or her attractiveness, that is, self-worth. How’s that for feeling the (self) love?

4. Enjoy The Great Outdoors
For an extra boost of self-love, take that workout outside. Exercising in the great outdoors can increase self-esteem even more. Find an outdoor workout that fits your style, whether it’s rock-climbing, hiking, renting a canoe or just taking a jog in the park. Plus, all that Vitamin D acquired from soaking up the sun (while wearing sunscreen, of course!) can lessen the likelihood of experiencing depressive symptoms. Why book a spa day when a little fresh air and sunshine (and exercise) can work wonders for self-confidence and happiness?

5. Prevent Cognitive Decline
It’s unpleasant, but it’s true — as we get older, our brains get a little… hazy. As aging and degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s kill off brain cells, the noggin actually shrinks, losing many important brain functions in the process. While exercise and a healthy diet can’t “cure” Alzheimer’s, they can help shore up the brain against cognitive decline that begins after age 45 Working out, especially between age 25 and 45, boosts the chemicals in the brain that support and prevent degeneration of the hippocampus, an important part of the brain for memory and learning.

6. Alleviate Anxiety
Quick Q&A: Which is better at relieving anxiety — a warm bubble bath or a 20-minute jog? You might be surprised at the answer. The warm and fuzzy chemicals that are released during and after exercise can help people with anxiety disorders calm down. Hopping on the track or treadmill for some moderate-to-high intensity aerobic exercise (intervals, anyone?) can reduce anxiety sensitivity. And we thought intervals were just a good way to burn calories!

7. Boost Brainpower
Those buff lab rats might be smarter than we think. Various studies on mice and men have shown that cardiovascular exercise can create new brain cells (aka neurogenesis) and improve overall brain performance. Ready to apply for a Nobel Prize? Studies suggest that a tough workout increases levels of a brain-derived protein (known as BDNF) in the body, believed to help with decision making, higher thinking and learning. Smarty (spandex) pants, indeed.

8. Sharpen Memory
Get ready to win big at Go Fish. Regular physical activity boosts memory and ability to learn new things. Getting sweaty increases production of cells in hippocampusresponsible for memory and learning. For this reason, research has linked children’s brain development with level of physical fitness (take that, recess haters!). But exercise-based brainpower isn’t just for kids. Even if it’s not as fun as a game of Red Rover, working out can boost memory among grown-ups, too. A study showed that running sprints improved vocabulary retention among healthy adults.

9. Help Control Addiction
The brain releases dopamine, the “reward chemical” in response to any form of pleasure, be that exercise, sex, drugs, alcohol or food. Unfortunately, some people become addicted to dopamine and dependent on the substances that produce it, like drugs or alcohol (and more rarely, food and sex). On the bright side, exercise can help in addiction recovery. Short exercise sessions can also effectively distract drug or alcohol addicts, making them de-prioritize cravings (at least in the short term). Working out when on the wagon has other benefits, too. Alcohol abuse disrupts many body processes, including circadian rhythms. As a result, alcoholics find they can’t fall asleep (or stay asleep) without drinking. Exercise can help reboot the body clock, helping people hit the hay at the right time.

10. Increase Relaxation
Ever hit the hay after a long run or weight session at the gym? For some, a moderate workout can be the equivalent of a sleeping pill, even for people with insomnia. Moving around five to six hours before bedtime raises the body’s core temperature. When the body temp drops back to normal a few hours later, it signals the body that it’s time to sleep.

11. Get More Done
Feeling uninspired in the cubicle? The solution might be just a short walk or jog away. Research shows that workers who take time for exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy than their more sedentary peers. While busy schedules can make it tough to squeeze in a gym session in the middle of the day, some experts believe that midday is the ideal time for a workout due to the body’s circadian rhythms.

12. Tap Into Creativity
Most people end a tough workout with a hot shower, but maybe we should be breaking out the colored pencils instead. A heart-pumping gym session can boost creativity for up to two hours afterwards. Supercharge post-workout inspiration by exercising outdoors and interacting with nature (see benefit #4). Next time you need a burst of creative thinking, hit the trails for a long walk or run to refresh the body and the brain at the same time.

13. Inspire Others
Whether it’s a pick-up game of soccer, a group class at the gym, or just a run with a friend, exercise rarely happens in a bubble. And that’s good news for all of us. Studies show that most people perform better on aerobic tests when paired up with a workout buddy. Pin it to inspiration or good old-fashioned competition, nobody wants to let the other person down. In fact, being part of a team is so powerful that it can actually raise athletes’ tolerances for pain. Even fitness beginners can inspire each other to push harder during a sweat session, so find a workout buddy and get moving!

Working out can have positive effects far beyond the gym (and beach season). Gaining self-confidence, getting out of a funk, and even thinking smarter are some of the motivations to take time for exercise on a regular basis.

Today’s article was written by Sophia Breene and is shared from the following website: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/27/mental-health-benefits-exercise_n_2956099.html

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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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Make a Difference by Doing Small Things

Ordinary people who consistently and diligently do simple things will produce extraordinary results David A. Bednar

I exercise 30 minutes a day every day but Sunday. It is my sanity time – regardless of what else is going on in my world. I could never explain adequately to you what that time means to me. I’m pretty sure that I don’t even completely understand myself.

I am LDS. (Most people would better recognize me if I called myself a Mormon.)

So many years ago that I can no longer remember, I made a promise to God that I would read at least one chapter of the Book of Mormon a day. I suspect it was sometime during the early days of my headaches. I have been headache free about 10 years now and I had migraine headaches 24/7 for about 15 years – so the math would say that was a long time ago.

I can remember missing one day of reading the Book of Mormon in all of that time. I remember the day well. I was so sick that I could not lift my head. (I think God understood)

By now, both my exercise and scripture reading habit is deeply engrained. I don’t need to go into the specifics but suffice it to say that I plunged into both habits with a certain outcome in mind. Now, these many years later, the reason I cling to those habits has changed. I began exercising for strength and weight loss. I now exercise for sanity. I began my scripture reading for sanity and to receive certain blessings from God. I now read my scriptures for strength and I no longer remember the promise I sought from God.

Both of my daily habits reap amazing benefits for me and I cannot imagine living without either of them. Both habits have blessed my life spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I recently read the following scripture from the Book of Mormon:

1 Nephi 3:7 And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.

In this story, Nephi and his brothers have been assigned a difficult task. Nephi is also facing great opposition from his brothers. Because he has made a habit of seeking the Lord, he understands that the Lord will provide a way for the task to be accomplished.

Because the task that Nephi and his brothers set out to accomplish takes longer than anticipated, Nephi’s mother begins to complain to her husband and becomes convinced that her sons have been killed. She blames her husband and his visions for the loss she believes she has suffered.

However, the sons eventually return and in this verse, this is what she has to say:

1 Nephi 5:8 And she spake, saying: Now I know of a surety that the Lord hath commanded my husband to flee into the wilderness; yea, and I also know of a surety that the Lord hath protected my sons, and delivered them out of the hands of Laban, and given them power whereby they could accomplish the thing which the Lord hath commanded them. And after this manner of language did she speak.

What point does all of this have for you?

The good things that we make a habit of make a difference. In and of themselves, they may seem insignificant. However, as they are practiced, day in and day out, their positive influence in our lives often makes all the difference.

We live in a face-paced world that often tried to convince us that little things don’t matter and that everything has to be accomplished ASAP.

During my near-death experience, I learned that the Lord does not operate at a microwaveable pace. Instead, He knows what He wants to see materialize in the grand scheme of things and He is more interested in the step by step positive progression we make than in how quick we get there. He is interested in transforming each of us into a masterpeice – He is not interested in the “quick fix”.

Nephi’s habit of daily seeking the Lord transforms him into an individual that I think any of us would be proud to emulate. His willingness to exercise faith in the Lord is noteworthy.

For me, his story reminds me of the importance of being consistent in what may seem the small things of life. A morning prayer, a verse of scripture read, the habit of sharing a simple complement; in time, they all compound into something more grand and glorious than we might have anticipated.

Today, I share an inspirational article that echoes my point. I hope you will enjoy!:

Consistency: The Forgotten Skill That Makes All The Difference

Let’s say you were given a choice right now.

You could either have 3 million wired to your bank account this very second or you could get a single penny that doubles in value every day for the next 31 days.

Which one would you choose?

Perhaps you’ve heard of this scenario before. In that case you know you should go for the penny because that option will generate greater wealth.

Still, it’s intuitively hard to believe the penny will result in more money in the end. Why?

Because it takes so much longer to see the payoff.

The Compounding Penny

Let’s say you decide to choose the 3 million and a friend of yours gets the penny. On day five, your friend will have sixteen cents. Not much compared to your three million.

On day number ten your friend is up to $5,12.

After 20 days the penny has increased to $5,243.

It’s not until now the magic of the invisible compound effect starts to show.

On day 31, the small mathematical growth improvement has turned the penny into no less than $10,737,418.24 – more than three times your 3 million.

The compounding penny is a great example of why consistency over time is so important.

On day 29 you were still ahead of your friend who at that point had about $2,7 million. It isn’t until day 30 that she finally pulls ahead, with $5,3 million.

Very few things are as impressive as the magic of compounding pennies. And what’s more, this force is equally powerful in every area of your life (1).

The Myth of the Quick Fix

Now, lets pretend your friend regretted her decision early on and threw the money away in frustration? $5,12 after 10 days doesn’t seem like much when you compare it to the 3 million, after all.

Now she wouldn’t have gotten to experience the awesome effect of the compounding penny and she would’ve missed out on the maginificent results that were just within her reach.

And yet this is exactly how most of us spend our time. We invest in the gym membership but quit after a month. We buy the guitar and let it collect dust. We switch to a healthy diet for a week. We put away 10 percent of our salary into a savings account… one time. The list goes on and on.

We’ve become so accustomed to immediate results and instant gratification that we’ve come to believe our personal transformation should happen instantaneously, the minute we decide we want it to happen.

Everywhere we look there’s promises of getting rich quick, lotteries that’ll make you an overnight millionaire, fad diets and training programs that’ll transform your appearance in a few weeks.

Fast food, one-hour glasses, thirty-minute photo processing, overnight mail, microwaved food, instant hot water, emails and text messages that are delivered anywhere in the world on seconds notice. These are all things that have made us come to expect instant results to the point that when we don’t get them we get discouraged and quit.

The truth is lasting change doesn’t happen quickly. But if you let the magic of compounding efforts do their thing, over time you can have some truly amazing results in any area of your life. This requires a skill we seem to have forgotten…

The Power of Relentless Consistency

For the most part, the results we’re looking for won’t come quickly. But they don’t take that long either. In my experience, it takes just a little bit longer than we’re comfortable going for.

  • Exercising for one hour three times a week for month will show very little, if any, results.
  • Reading one book in January won’t make much of an impact on your personal growth.
  • Meditating for 10 minutes for a couple of weeks won’t show much of an affect on your mind.

But what if you decided to drop the quick fix mentality and commit for the long haul? What if, instead of obsessing over (and very likely getting discouraged by) the short-term results, you chose to focus on the small steps you need to take each day to get where you want to be?

What if you turned your obsession to the simply daily disciplines that you know will make all the difference, and leave the results to take care of themselves? What if you decided to make a permanent change and stick to it for life?

Ironically, by shifting your focus away from the results you’d see plenty of them. Within a year:

  • You would have 150+ hours of exercise under your belt. More than enough to have a huge impact on your health and appearance.
  • You would have read 10+ books. This means tons of new insights, ideas and concepts to enrich your life.
  • You would have 60+ hours of meditation experience. This translates (among many other benefits) into improved focus, creativity, compassion, memory, less stress and anxiety.

But these estimations aren’t accurate. You see, the effects of positive change tend to compound just like the penny did, and spill over into other areas. Once you get into exercising and start feeling good at it, you’ll want to do it more. And then you’ll naturally become motivated to change your diet. And your sleeping habits.

You’ll get the energy and inspiration to read more books. You’ll learn to read faster and get quicker at understanding the concepts and ideas. Then the ideas from the books you’re reading start spilling over to every area of your life. Soon this ripple effect will showing all kinds of results you weren’t even planning for. And the more consistent you are, the more rapid your personal growth will become.

How to Develop World-Class Consistency

1. Let go of your need for short-term results. The first step to develop game-changing consistency in everything you do is to realize that true, sustainable change doesn’t work the same way that your microwave does.

If you want to transform your health, physical appearance, finances, relationships or some other area of your life you need to ignore the mainstream advice for getting rich quick and building rock hard abs in three weeks. You cannot change your situation overnight, but you can change the direction you’re heading in. And that’s enough.

  • Take a look at you long-term goals. What small action do you need to do every day to get you there? Remember, ”small” is the key word here. A five minute walk. Veggies on your dinner plate. 2 pages in a book. 1 minute of meditating. Start so small that it’s impossible for you to say no and let the magic of the compound effect start working for you.

2. Commit to your habits, not your goals. Goals can give you a burning motivation… and they can get you completely stuck. The problem with focusing too much on your goals is that they remind you of how far you have yet to go which can lead to overwhelm and in worst case complete stagnation.

If you have 40 pounds to loose, and your scale keeps showing nothing but status quo or minuscule improvements it can be disheartening. But if you decide to measure only how many healthy behaviours you manage to pull off every day, suddenly you’re completely in control of the outcome. As you keep sticking to your daily habits, the more you’ll get addicted to them, and you’ll start to build some serious momentum.

  • Start tracking your habits. Create a list of your habits and check them off every time you complete them. Be proud of your small wins and you’ll soon start building some great momentum. Apps like coach.me is great for this.

3. Review your progress. No matter how good your intentions are you will slip up from time to time, especially when you’re just starting a new habit. That’s why it’s crucial to go back and review your progress continuously. Schedule fifteen minutes once a week to:

  • Celebrate what you did well. If you’ve pulled off a great streak in your habit formations, acknowledge it! Reinforce your habits by patting yourself on the back and being proud of what you’ve accomplished. Also examine what went wrong. If a habit for some reason didn’t get done, have a close look at the reasons why and then adjust your game plan accordingly. Perhaps you fell victim for the planning fallacy and need to reschedule. Maybe you keep forgetting your habits and need to attach them to implementation intentions. Perhaps you need to change your environment a bit to promote your habit. Maybe you need to raise the stakes. Feel free to shoot me a message if you get stuck.

Fall in Love With the Process

In the gym, people tend to be most impressed with the people who are the most fit. Not me. I’m most impressed with the people who are out of shape and still keep showing up.

Why? Because those fit people already got this stuff down. At least when it comes to their exercise. They’ve fallen in love with process. And when you’re in love with the process is no longer hard work to show up at the gym. It’s just something you do. It’s part of your lifestyle and your identity. You don’t need to muster up a bunch of willpower to go to the gym. You just go because that’s what you do and you’d feel worse if you didn’t.

The out of shape person doesn’t have this luxury. He or she is in the thick of it, working hard to getting the habit working, fighting to form a new identity of an active person. To me, that’s way more impressive.

The good news is anyone can fall in love with the process. Every expert was once an amateur and every master was first a beginner. What separates them from the crowd is their relentless consistency in showing up and doing the work.

Drop your need for immediate results, focus on your daily habits and keep adjusting as you go. The results are always within reach, just slightly beyond where most people are willing to go.

“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap,
but by the seeds that you plant.”

Robert Louis Stevenson

Sources

1. The story about the compounding penny is borrowed from Darren Hardy’s awesome book The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success

Today’s inspiring articles was written by Patrik and is shared from the following website: http://www.selfication.com/mindset/consistency/

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