How to heal and prevent depression naturally
Life can be compared to a roller coaster.
Everyone experiences emotional stress, sadness and anxiety at different stages in life which can lead to prolonged periods of depression unless you 'catch it' before it takes hold or have the tools to turn it around.
Mental wellbeing is one of the most important aspects of a joyful, fulfilling life, so it's important to pay as much attention to your emotional and mental state as your physical health...and actually, they're all intertwined.
Firstly, crazy as it might sound, depression is a 'gift'. It's not a "disease" per se, but a signal or syndrome (symptom) that requires your attention.
It's an opportunity to deal emotionally with the loss, to identify the 'patterns' that are driving your ongoing feelings of sadness and to address them naturally, rather than opting out of the journey by turning to toxic medications that tend to compound the problem.
When life throws up its inevitable periods of sadness, challenge, disappointment and loss, the sustained mental impact on you will largely depend on what you choose to focus on on a daily basis.
For every event that triggers emotional sadness or strain in your life, remember that eventually, time heals all wounds.
But you can also speed up the process by searching for the empowering meaning of why something has occurred in your life and conditioning yourself to focus on the 'positive' rather than the negative that causes you to feel depressed.
Try to identify the 'patterns' that trigger the emotional imbalance and downward spiral and do whatever it takes to break those patterns by changing your physical state or your environment e.g. go for a walk outside, catch up with a positive friend, listen to some happy music, do an activity you're passionate about, have a cold shower, swim in the ocean or fix your favourite food - anything to break the negative pattern!
Pretty soon you'll realise that life is not all bad and that whatever has occurred that causes you to feel down and depressed, can be 'uncaused' with a new set of patterns that you're in control of.
There's one final mental tool that can be useful also...
Always remember that life is not perfect. It's a journey that is not necessarily meant to be easy.
Realise that there will always be ups and downs, there's always someone worse off than you and that emotional healing and joy can come from the simplest sources that are right in front of your nose.
Dietary and Lifestyle Solutions
There's no question that today's fast-paced lifestyle has outpaced our ability to take the easiest and best care of ourselves.
Without doubt, diet and lifestyle contribute significantly to not only to your physical but your mental health as well.
Food-less foods, life-less drinks, toxic medications are all pro-inflammatory and can cause physical, emotional and mental imbalance.
Here're my tips for helping to turn depression around naturally:
- Avoid refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and white flour - they all contribute to spikes in blood sugar and insulin production causing you to 'spike', then crash and burn and are one of the biggest causes of ADHD, mental fog, anxiety, insomnia and chronic and adrenal fatigue;
- Reduce or eliminate prescription and OTC drugs - painkillers, anti-depressants and even birth control pills can all heighten mental and emotional imbalance and most psychiatric drugs can even cause downward spirals and suicidal thoughts;
- Get Active - Most people have an 'idle' lifestyle where the only movement they do is from the house, to the car, to the office and back. Walking outside in fresh air is number one for restoring emotional balance because the senses are involved. And even if you work in an office, get outside every so often into the fresh air and walk for 5 minutes. More physical exercises like circuit training, lifting weights, cycling and hiking where you work up a significant sweat are also great ways to shift your physical and emotional biochemistry and activate the nervous system, causing you to feel alive and vital;
- Get Sunshine or FIRE - The bio-photons of light entering the brain stimulate emotional molecules of happiness, joy and 'feel-good' endorphins. It's no surprise that some of the highest rates of suicide occur in northern countries where there is little sunshine throughout most of the year. One of the great antidotes for depression is 'sun gazing' whereby you gently meditate by staring into the sun as it's rising first thing in the morning for a few minutes each day. Another powerful ritual to help heal and alleviate depression is to expose at least 80% of your face and body to natural sunlight for 30-45 minutes each day whenever you can (don't coat your body in chemical sunscreen, use cold pressed coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil before exposure). If you live in an area where there's no sunshine or in the darkest part of winter, build and stare into an open F.I.R.E: Fuel Ignited Releases Energy because this also stimulates harmony in the brain;
- Eat Clean - A clean diet means a diet rich in plant-based foods. Try to go with 80% fruits, vegetables and salads if you can with plenty of good oils like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Consume plenty of nature-made salt and drink at least 2 litres of water each day. If you don't know where to begin, start with breakfast. Drink chilled water with fresh lemon when you rise, then go with fresh juice or a smoothy to start your day whenever you can. Place these ingredients into a blender for a delicious, satisfying, emotion balancing smoothy: 350 mls Coconut Water, Tbls Coconut Oil, Tbls Raw Cacao Powder, 1 Banana, 2 x Pitted Medjool Dates.
- Feed on Yellow and Orange Plant Foods - Many studies into mental health have proven that yellow foods like bananas, pineapple, oranges are all natural 'mood-foods' because they stimulate the production of serotonin, a nutritional component that helps create emotional balance;
- Go Nuts! - There's a part of the brain called the 'amygdala' which is Latin for 'almond'. This part of the brain is also responsible for the production of the emotional molecules of happiness and joy...and together with Macadamias, Pine Nuts and Walnuts, they contain the oils and nutrition that the brain thrives on to function at its highest capacity;
- Plant Fragrance - Plant essential oils can be powerful for eliminating periods of mental and emotional stress. One great essential oil for creating mental calm and relieving depression is Lavender. Place 1 drop in the palm of your hand, rub hands together, and inhale softly for up to 30 seconds or longer.
- Empower Yourself - Positive self-talk is really important and try to learn to become your own biggest fan. By hanging around positive people that lift you up, doing activities that give you happy feet, feeding your mind with inspiring information and identifying the patterns that trigger both your sad and healthy emotional states, you'll go a long way to regaining your mental health, avoiding depression altogether and being in charge of your life the way you're meant to be!