It is soon the beginning of February, the glow of the holiday seasons is long gone and we are seriously dragging our feet to move forward. Nothing is exciting, our new year’s eve’s resolutions are a fading memory in the back of our mind.
And some of us are wondering is it Depression?
If we do a little Google search, we realize that looking for ways to overcome or avoid depression is surging during those dark days.
So wether you have overcome depression in the past and you want to make sure that you are not returning to your depressed self, or you have never faced this situation before but you are wondering if you will be able to avoid the bullet for ever, this article will be of interest.
The good news, there are simple things you can do today to address this feeling of being hopeless and overcome with dark thoughts that will never end.
First of all, remember that there is always hope.
Seriously, hope is an important factor to keep in mind. And it is not just positive psychology. And here is why!
Knowing that there is always something else to do. Knowing that you always have the choice about how you feel is quite powerful to pull you from the brink. I know some of you will frown at the idea that you choose your thoughts. And I will stand by my statement. No matter what, the only person who can make you feel a certain way is YOU. Good or bad, you are in control.
So remember there is always another day. There is always something else you have not tried. There is always always a little hope.
There are some simple steps you can implement to shift your mood around.
Some you will have heard of them, and some will surprise you. But you can still control your mood. And it does not necessarily involve an anti-depressant or an anxiolytic medication.
Full disclosure: In combination with the episode of Burnout, I suffered severe medication resistant depression. It was debilitating and it took a long time to find a cocktail of medications that finally simply stabilized my mood. I am not even talking about improving it.
After months of trial and errors, a cocktail was found that seems to get a reaction in me, of course, it had a sort of side effects, for which I was either treated or I was told that it was more important to treat the depression and that those “very debilitating” symptoms were not the priority.
It soon became clear that the doctors who were treating me were guessing at the best of time, because well nobody really understand how the brain works and so the treatment for one person may not work with the next and the side effects are likely to be very diverse as well.
Once I was back on track, and getting a little better, I decided to take the matter onto my own hand, since the doctors were guessing, it could not hurt to explore other avenues. I learned everything I could learn about depression and I tried and tested many approaches to treat it naturally.
I discovered 7 alternative treatments that I could implement and that could help you stay fit and avoid depression all together.
1 – Heart and reason. It may seem simplistic but if your heart and your mind are not aligned you will find that a lot of tension will build up and create stress internally. You know that popular saying: He or she died of a broken heart. Well it is true. So what can you do? You need to rebalance your heart-mind connection. And before you get too worried, it is a very simple task.
Put your hand on your heart and pay attention to your heart. The bitting of your heart. The strength of your heart. Do this while breathing deeply for 5 minutes. Then look at any problem you are faced with today, and I guarantee that you will have a different view of a situation you may have perceived as hopeless just 5 minutes before. If you do that regularly, you will soon discover a level of resourcefulness that you had no conscious of in the past.
2- EFT and EMDR. Both use energy psychology to unblock ideas and trauma from the brain. If your mind is stuck on a negative emotion or a traumatic situation that occurred in the past, it is as if you are stuck in a loop with no hope to find a way out. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprogramming. It is a mouth full but it is so effective at treating trauma and post traumatic stress disorder that psychiatrists around the world are using this tool as a first line treatment because they know that for the first time, they have a tool that is likely to make a real difference in their patients’ life without much side effects. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques and uses the power of the Chinese meridians to softly dissolve negative emotions and replace them with more positive ones. Again the techniques is quite useful with dealing with PTSD, anxiety and depression. The ease of the method make it easy to learn for people who can then use it on their own.
3 – Day light. Don’t ignore the power of natural light. Step outside, even when it is over cast and let the light heal you. Human beings need Vitamin D and ultra violet to function, both are provided by the sun. 15 minutes in the sun, without sun glasses, sun cream on, will provide you with enough vitamin d and ultraviolet for the day. Having enough daylight will allow you to regain better circadian cycles, which in turn will insure that you have a good night sleep. It is important also to make sure you are not expose to blue light (from computer and telephone and TV) in the hours leading to your better time. Make sure your devices are on night mode and that your lights bulbs around the house have red undertone and not blue, so that your body does not get confused. Getting enough sleep is crucial for your health and your level of energy and to avoid depression.
4 – The revolution of nutrition. While until recently fat was considered the villain in the food chain and every product was either fat free or fat reduced, we are seeing a monumental change in the last few years. It is in part, because it was demonstrated that actually the studies upon which the fat was found to be bad, was actually erroneous, to the point where the FDA announced this year that fat consumption was not linked to an increase of cholesterol and cardiovascular risk. Studies after studies have demonstrated that large quantity of omega 3 have a positive impact on our mood and your cardio vascular health. It is also greatly admitted that reducing your intake of sugar (added or modified version of it, such as any version of glucose sirup) is key to keep your waist line in check but also to protect your brain from malfunctioning. Basically, eat healthy food, with a focus on increasing your good fat content (such as avocado, salmon, cold water fish, grass fed meat and so on) and reducing or eliminate any consumption of sugar and sugary products. Replace the sugar with fiber, such as green vegetables. You will see and feel the difference.
5 – Move your body. Don’t sit all day. Move and exercise. I am not talking about starting to run a marathon and hurting yourself. I am talking about getting your 10000 steps a day. I am talking about joining a gym and doing some mild exercises or starting a yoga practice at home. I am talking about fast walking around your block. Yes, moving your body and sweating is an important part of being healthy, but if you are depressed, you may find the simple idea of starting an activity daunting. So start small. Go for a walk outside around the block. Then after a few days, take a longer walk. Then when you feel comfortable being active you can join a gentle yoga class or something equally gentle. Or you can train an work to increase your heart rate everyday for short period of time (5 to 10 minutes) and then rest. Studies have shown that a burst of movements leading to an increase in heart rate will have a positive lasting effect on your overall health for over 24 hours. 5 to 10 minutes of exercise for over 24 hours energy increase. I take that
6 – Connect with people. Being part of a group is essential to feel alive and depression-free. We are social animals. We evolved living in group and tribes and until recently we lived in extended family units. Modern times have seen a dissolution of the extended family units, and we are more isolated today than we have ever been. Join group, be it a sport group, be it a hobby club, or any activities which will allow you to meet with people around a common interest and benefit from this strong connection you will build with the people around you.
7 – Be grateful. Never forget to be grateful for what you have. It may not be what you had dreamed of, but it is so important to fully appreciate what we have. Be aware of the present moment. You may only be grateful because you have a roof over your head, or because you are alive. But I promise by focusing on what is going well and right in your life, you are moving out of the tunnel vision most people suffer from. We are wired by evolution to look for the worst case scenario and then to worry about all the possible wrong things that could happen to us. It was a matter of survival. But today our survival is not in question anymore. Well most of the time. So taking the time to consciously remind ourself about what we can be grateful for right now, is a good way to interrupt our thought pattern and to change our perspective.
Depression is not a fatality wether you have suffered from a depression in the past, or wether you are facing a depressive episode now. You have options that are available to you and that can change your life for the better. The options that I have mentioned are akin to life style changes and they work.
Don’t discount them.
Joelle @ Joelle’s Practice
IF you have any questions, don’t hesitate to claim your free power session where we can discuss your personal situation and what you can do to regain your self confidence and your strength. Interested? Don’t wait. Claim your free spot today! Click here