Monday, November 7, 2011
Fighting Depression Without Drugs - Techniques and Supplements For a Healthier Mind and Body
If you have been feeling lonely or depressed lately, then happiness might be the one thing you really want. According to Dr. James S. Gordon in his book Unstuck: Your Guide to the Seven-Stage Journey out of Depression, "depression is a sign that our lives are out of balance." Dr. Gordon is the clinical director of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C. If you want your spirit back online, Dr. Gordon recommends a systemic approach utilizing several different healing techniques which include meditation, acupuncture, dancing, and therapy. If you suffer from more severe depression, it is suggested that you see a psychotherapist, medical doctor, or a naturopath. Otherwise, try one of our recommended exercises to battle depression: 1. Confront negative emotions. Feelings such as guilt, resentment, or pride can promote more depression and prevent you from achieving happiness. Confront your negative emotions face-to-face by writing down an imaginary conversation between you and any of your emotions. Write as much as you can in ten minutes and make no attempts to censor yourself. Then ask the emotion why it exists and what it hopes to gain. Accept any answers that come to you. You might gain an intimate knowledge regarding those issues. 2. Take a brisk walk. Getting up off your buns and taking a walk can help relieve depression. Walking can help you recognize the personal changes that need to be done in your life. Do not make it hard on yourself. Start with a 10-minute melancholy stroll by yourself or with a walking buddy, and see where it takes you on the physical and emotional level. 3. Find a support group. Make it a point to join a mind-body group which can provide support for people with depression. Choose a group that is led by an expert psychologist, naturopath, or social worker. 4. Maintain yourself in present time consciousness. According to Dr. Gordon, happiness comes when you find yourself in present-time consciousness, an awareness of what is going on right now. Let go of what happened to you in the past and enjoy everything the present time has to give you. 5. Punch out unhappiness. You can do this by kneeling in front of a few thick, fluffy pillows or standing in front of a boxing bag. Inhale deeply, think about what is preventing you from achieving happiness, and punch away for the next 5 minutes. When you are done, write about your experience. What thoughts popped up in your head during the 5 minutes you were doing this exercise? Do this daily for a few weeks or months or as much as you need. 6. Start dancing. You can burn off negative tension and elevate your mood with the following exercise. Create a CD or playlist of upbeat songs you love. Then close your eyes, and start dancing upon hearing the first note. Do this for five minutes even if you feel uncomfortable or silly. When you are done, relax for a minute or two and then start dancing vigorously for the next five minutes or so. 7. Release yourself of any grudges you carry against those who wronged you. When we forgive others, only then can we forgive ourselves, according to Gordon. Maintaining a grudge can promote further depression. Scientific studies show that forgiveness improves the health of the heart and elevates your mood. Here is how to do it. Sit comfortably, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Then say, "I forgive you for what you have done to me." In addition to practicing any of these seven techniques, you might want to consider taking nutritional supplements such as multivitamins, omega 3 fatty acids, and tryptophan. Look for multivitamins that have a high B vitamin content. You also want to target multivitamins that have depression-relieving minerals such as chromium, selenium, and magnesium. At doses of up to 3,000 mg daily, omega 3 fatty acids found in fish oil or flax seeds can help boost the function of all neurons (nerve cells) including your brain cells. Tryptophan can boost the amount of neurotransmitters in more severe cases of depression. This molecule can elevate the same positive brain chemical as antidepressant drugs except it has fewer side effects. Tryptophan should be used under the guidance of a naturopath, nutritionist, or physician. By practicing any of these seven techniques and utilizing nutritional supplements to battle depression, you will be on your way to achieving a healthier mind and body.