Nutrition and Mind-Body
Integration for Effective Treatment of Depression
Establish a regular health maintenance program
It's not enough to get rid of what we no longer need - to activate the large intestine element of Chinese acupuncture, letting go of the need to stay the way we are.
In my own practice, one of the main hurdles individuals face is giving themselves permission to take the time to take care of themselves - to take an afternoon off to lower their stress level, to take an hour for lunch, to take an hour every other day for exercise. I believe embracing mental health, learning to activate the lung partner, the self-worth aspect of the metal element in Chinese acupuncture, is of equal importance in overcoming depression.
As part of this regular health maintenance, I recommend the following elements:
This is one of the simplest biofeedback, self-help tools available.
First, numerous studies suggest that people who keep diaries manage to heal themselves on more than just psychological levels. Second, I encourage my clients to think of themselves as athletes. If you were a professional athlete, you would know whether you ran better in Nikes or Reeboks, whether your best times came after you ate steak and eggs for breakfast or granola.
I am always asking my clients, "What are you doing right?" Keeping a diary helps us to reinforce the behaviors that make us feel better, helps us tune in to what makes us feel bad, and encourages us to tune in to the higher intelligence of the body.
We are almost like plants - we need at least 20 minutes of sunlight every day just to make our hormones, and medical research suggests some people need as much as two hours a day of sunlight to avoid seasonal affective disorder. Here in Atlanta, we live at such a latitude that we can receive healing light all year round.
Negative ions that we breathe outdoors are known to lift the mood.
One of my favorite poems is by Wordsworth: "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers/little in nature we see that is ours."
Yogis, of course, have the emotions down to a science.
In anxiety, our breathing is reversed. In a state of joy, we are breathing in a deep circular pattern, our heart comes into coherence, and we begin to produce alpha brain waves, alleviating pain, accessing our own natural tranquilizers and antidepressants.
Yoga kriyas for breathing have been documented to help overcome depression.
In the one-sided state of depression, there is very little electrical activity in the brain.
The Clarus company makes necklaces that accomplish this.
You may be spending hours in front of computer screens,
drive automobiles that upset not only your electrical fields but also the electrical activity in
Helping to restore the electrical field may go a long way to restoring energy levels and improving mood.
When our cortisol level is high and we get depressed, that should be a very simple biofeedback signal that we are better off stopping and reevaluating our choices.
Rest allows us to restore the adrenals.
Rest allows the cortisol levels to return to normal.
Long-term stress and long-term cortisol will literally alter a person's hormonal profile.
In order to activate the right posterior parietal lobe, we have to be able to see in three dimensions. When we feel joyful, we are accessing this part of the brain.
Many people spend hours in front of two-dimensional computer monitors and TV screens, and then top off a 12-hour work day by trying to read themselves to sleep - all two-dimensional visual activities.
I teach an entire three-day course in natural vision improvement, which is all about activating the muscles of the eyes, and learning to see beyond two dimensions to activate our full use of senses, engaging more of brains, and feeling joyful.
When you go outside and take a walk, you increase the electrical activity in your brain, you breathe negative ions and see in three dimensions. With time alone, engaging the whole brain, you have an opportunity to process. Sometimes the solutions are that simple.
I practice two forms of kinesiology - Brain Gym and Touch for Health. If I start feeling bad, I can immediately check myself for what is switched off - virtually any time, anywhere. Study these tools so that you can not only figure out what's wrong, but figure out how to rebalance yourselves. This is about self-empowerment. The old way of treating depression took low-energy people and made them:
A) Ashamed of themselves by giving them psychiatric labels, thereby giving them more baggage to overcome, and
B) Highly dependent on not only medications but also on outside practitioners.
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