Do you feel that you are depressed and you like to get some suggestions about how to change that state?
Has it been suggested that you take some anti-depression medication and you are pondering your options?
Then this is for you!
Quite often, people ask me quite how to “fight” depression because they don’t want to take medication for it.
Because really, there is nothing wrong with them.
I am not a doctor, I don’t treat depression per say. I am a Burnout specialist, BUT with burnout comes Depression quite often.
And when I burned out, I became clinically depressed. And I took the meds with all the side effects associated with it. I felt even more depressed because of it, if I am honest.
Today, I help people find the tools that will help them get over the Burnout and that includes Depression.
If what I propose helps them get better, that’s great but it is not the primary aim.
I do not suggest EVER that you should stop your medication all together and I suggest that you consult a healthcare professional for your medical issues.
That being said,
Here are my 7 “tricks” that I have used to help myself get better.
All those suggestions are largely inspired by the book by Dr David Servan-Shreiber,
“The instinct to heal. Curing depression, anxiety and stress without drugs or speech therapy”.
Dr Servan-Shreiber was a professor in clinical psychology at the university of Pensilvania. He clearly believed in the link between body and mind. His idea was that our body has the power to heal itself, yet because of our life style and our nutrition choice that healing power stops working properly which in turn leads to dis-ease. The mind is part of the body and if we treat our body well, our mind will heal as well as any other part of our body.
- Heart coherence –
Being happy and feeling happy is so important, yet, when one feels depressed or overwhelmed, it is such a difficult task to even imagine that one could be happy one day. However, everybody can remember one time when we had been happy, even a little. The trick is to remember this small event with all our senses:
What happened, who was there? What could you hear, what could you see, what could you feel…
The mind does not differentiate between something we are presently experiencing and a memory. So the more real you make the memory in your mind, the more likely your brain is to “believe” that you are happy right now.
When you are happy, your biochemistry changes and you are producing endorphins which are the “happy” hormones.
So play pretend for a while every day. You are giving yourself a little happiness boost and you are helping yourself.
- Essential fatty acid and nutrition.
Nutrition is such an important aspect, I could write a book about it.
I would recommend that you get tested for any form of allergies. There are strong clinical evidences to show there is a link between the mind and the gut. So if you are ingesting food that are irritating your gut, it will in turn irritate your mind.
Think of it as computer. When you have too many programs running at the same time on your computer, it is likely to slow down. Well, if your brain has to constantly handling allergic reactions, it will have less “memory space to run” your brain program, which in turn will become slowler and less happy.
The second aspect is push the fatty acid (omega 3 and 6) through fish and other plant base sources (Avocado for example). You will quickly see a marked improvement.
A QUICK Reminder: When you eliminate certain allergens from your diet, it is possible that you will get worse before you get better.
Now, yes I do believe that exercise is important. But remember that you are recovering and you are likely being extremely tired and run down. So, attempting to go back to your level prior to being burned out and tired won’t help one bit. So don’t go and start running a marathon on your first day, hurt yourself and stop never to start again.
Start slowly and progress!
A couple of block of walking to start with. Maybe a little fast walk will be sufficient. The goals is not to get you overtired, the goal is to stimulate your lymphatic system. So, even jumping on the balls of your feet for a couple of minutes everyday would be sufficient to start with.
Slow and steady!
I started with 5 minutes walks, every day and I increased from there. I was patient with myself. I was recovering from a total burn out I did not need to run myself to the ground again.
- Sun exposure.
Vitamin D is so crucial for our mood. You know how you always feel recharged and ready to take on the world after a holiday in the sun.
Well, guess what? You replenished your Vitamin D stock and so you feel great.
After a couple of months, your vitamin D stock is low again and you start feeling like you need a vacation again.
Vitamin D is so important for our mood health.
The good news is 15-20 minutes outside (without any sun protection!) on a sunny day is sufficient. Of course in the winter and you live in say London, UK, then it can be complicated. I use supplement in the winter.
OK, I tried acupuncture and if you find a good practitioner it is a very helpful technique, but … all practitioners, like in any professions, are not created equal. And quite honestly, the idea of having needles sticking out of me, did not make me feel good, which in turn defeat the purpose. Later, I did discover EFT (which uses the Chinese meridian energy theory also used in acupuncture.) So, I am still using Acupuncture, without the needle and focusing on the energy of the emotion. I unblock the energy created by unresolved negative emotions. Once the block is removed, the energy can flow and the emotion can be resolved.
Taking here the risk of being accused of being corny, LOVE is the most powerful emotion.
We are usually our most cruel critics. We are constantly bullying ourselves and we are not supporting ourselves.
I have learned to love myself and also to let others love me. In return, I have learned to love unconditionally.
This feeling of love has again a very powerful biochemistry that will impact our body for a long time after we have felt that emotion.
Human contact is a way to feel connected and loved. I am not talking about the Facebook connection, more the real connection when you can see somebody and you can hold their hand, and you know that they have your best interest at heart and you have theirs.
You always have that in you, and you can have it volunteering and helping others if you don’t have close by family. Giving time (or money) to help others outside of ourselves makes us stronger and leaves us with a feeling of fulfilment that is rarely equalled.
When you are experiencing this feeling, you are not depressed anymore. And you can then go on with your day for yet another day.
When you meditate, when you accept fully that you are only in control of your own internal emotion, and that you have no control over the outer world what so ever, you can then let go.
And find peace.
Again the point is not stay in the moment for EVER, especially at the beginning.
I can only stay in that meditation space for 15 minutes and it is after over 5 years of practice. But with time and some efforts, I know that I can let go for 15 minutes. And it’s just enough for me to relax completely and again change my biochemistry, which will have a lasting effect for my experience during the day.
There are many other techniques that you can use on a daily basis, those are my favorites.