Wednesday July 24, 2019
Did you know? Depression impacts approximately 120 million people worldwide.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality found that in 2010, 16% of adults aged 45 to 64 consume at least one antidepressant. That is a 91% increase since 2000!
Wondering if you’re depressed?
Everyone experiences bad days (sometimes weeks) periodically. So how can you differentiate between going through a hard time and being depressed?
The National Institute of Mental Health compiled a list of possible symptoms:
- Persistently sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms
Factors that contribute to depression:
- Consistent lack of sleep
- Lack of exercise
- Hormone imbalances
- Prolonged stress
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Environmental toxicity
Did you know? It’s estimated that 1 in 10 adults consume a prescription antidepressant.
The Lowdown on Antidepressants
Antidepressants can have negative side effects (which can range from headache, agitation, and nausea to sexual dysfunction, dry mouth, and bladder problems) and often work for less than 50% of those who take them.
Lisa Strohman, J.D., Ph.D., clinical psychologist and founder of Technology Wellness Center in Scottsdale, Arizona stated: “If the person is not having an issue with a chemical imbalance, then adding an antidepressant may not make much of a difference in their overall functioning. While antidepressant drugs can help improve mood, they cannot solve problems in people’s lives.”
Need to turn your life around? Check out these simple suggestions below:
Activities to help maintain a positive mood
Take Up a Hobby
It may sound too good to be true, but taking up a hobby can act as a natural antidepressant.
Did you know? Over 80% of knitters with depression felt happier while knitting.
Not into knitting? Try coloring, reading, singing, cooking, diving, surfing or take a class. Being engaged in a leisure activity you enjoy focuses the mind similarly to meditation and can releases dopamine. Love to dive? Click here!
Have you ever noticed the physical response after enjoying a good laugh? Studies show that laughter fights the onset of depression by reducing stress hormones. Reading a funny book, watching a favorite sitcom, or listening to a comedian may actually be your prescription to happiness. Click here for why laughter is beneficial
Nearly 80 million households in the U.S. own a cat or a dog. A 2012 study found that spending time with your pet can reduce stress and improve mood. The reason behind this is believed to be the increase release of oxytocin (hormone released during hugging, touching etc that improves mood).
Dr. Mikal-Flynn recommends pet therapy. “Get a cat or dog. Petting them affects your brain chemistry. I always say, ‘The best pharmacy you have is between your ears.’ You just need to know how to access…...your brain.” Click here for tips to care for your pets
Exercise, Outdoors If Possible
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain delivering more oxygen and nutrients while removing toxins and metabolic waste. Exercise also stimulates new brain cell formation, regulates the same neurotransmitters targeted by antidepressants, and will help to reset your circadian rhythm for better sleep. Who knew?
Did you know? A study at Duke University found that 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week was as effective as antidepressant medication. Click here to get more active!
Spend time in the sun
Sunshine has been proven to ease depression and protect brain function. A 2009 study in the journal Environmental Health (16,800 participants aged 45-plus) stated sunlight exposure regulated serotonin and melatonin. Participants enjoyed improved sleep and cognitive function.
Another study conducted in 2011 (80,000 post-menopausal women) discovered participants who ate foods with more vitamin D (your body produces vitamin D naturally in response to sun exposure) enjoyed a 20 percent lower risk of depression symptoms. Click here for other natural ways to boost your mood
Foods to help maintain a positive mood
Kava is known for its sedative and anesthetic properties by increasing GABA levels (also referred as nature’s valium) in the brain. Unlike hormone replacement therapy, kava will not disrupt estrogen levels making kava a great alternative for menopausal women.
Did you know? Areas of the South Pacific, including Hawaii, use kava for stress release, mood elevation, and other calming effects. Click here for more on GABA
Curcumin is the main active component in turmeric. Turmeric can be as effective as Prozac for some individuals by naturally increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate), can help increase your resilience to stress. EGCG works by normalizing GABA levels inside the brain. (There’s that word again!) The best form of EGCG is drinking green tea and consuming not a supplement.
Did you know? Drinking green tea daily can reduce the risk of depression by 44%.
Sweet potatoes contain high levels of:
- L-tryptophan (amino acid directly related to depression and anxiety prevention)
- Vitamin B6 (natural antidepressant)
- Magnesium and potassium (can help reduce cortisol and high blood pressure levels related to stress)
Raw noni fruit has been shown to reduce sad and anxious feelings. Noni also helps you relax, calms emotions, may soothe away tension, relieves restlessness and may eliminate irritability.
Did you know? On our family certified organic farm we grow, pick and process all of our noni at low heat and not fermented to maintain the full potency of the raw pulp.