3 Steps in the Natural Treatment of Depression

Although we do not like to talk about it, depression is a major problem in America. According to statistics, one out every ten of us will suffer from depression at some point in our lives. 16 million people (that's 6.9% of the population) had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. And each year, the number of people being diagnosed with this disease increases by 20%. With numbers like this, it is safe to say that depression is a disease that affects almost all of us in some way, whether that is personally or within our circle of family and friends.

One of the worst things about depression is that the very symptoms of the disease (fatigue, feelings of hopelessness, tension for isolation) make it difficult for the sufferer to seek help and look for alternative options. Think of this in comparison to something like cancer, where it is very common for the newly diagnosed patient to seek multiple medical opinions and scour the internet for natural cures. There is something about cancer and diseases like it that provoke a fighter's mentality. But unfortunately by its very nature, depression typically takes the fight completely out of the individual.

The good news in all of this is that there are natural and effective treatment alternatives for people suffering from depression. Although it is given one broad name, the truth is that there are many different causes, presentations, and symptoms of depression. Therefore, what works to help one person may be completely ineffective for someone else. But when you take the time to get the entire story, treat the whole person, and work together to implement new life skills, the results can be quite remarkable. Below I have outlined the 3 most important steps in the natural treatment of this growing disease.

Rule out or treat physical causes:

In order to have an effective treatment, it is very important to either rule out or treat any possible physical causes that may be contributing to a patient's depression. There are MANY physical conditions that can cause depression, some of which are acknowledged by traditional medicine and some of which are not. I would like to talk about a couple of them in more detail:

Nutritional deficiencies: Low levels of many different vitamins and minerals as well as essential fatty acids (omega 3's) are associated with depression. It is particularly important to check for low vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid in depressed patients. These three vitamins are commonly depleted by stress as well as by the use of oral contraption. Unfortunately, traditional labwork is not the most accurate way to test vitamin levels. This is because these labs only look at the serum level of nutrients, which is the amount of nutrients floating around in your bloodstream at the specific time of the blood draw. A more accurate way to test for nutritional deficiencies is to test the level of nutrients that are actually inside your blood cells. This type of testing shows exactly how much of each vitamin the body has actually absorbed and is able to use.

Additionally, due to a genetic deficiency known as the MTHFR genetic defect, some people are unable to convert the folic acid they ingest into the active and usable form known as L-methylfolate. While this defect can lead to a host of different metabolic problems, it is particularly important in depression. This is due to low folic acid results in the body from producing adequate levels of serotonin, epinephrine, and dopamine. Spectracell Laboratories is a great laboratory that accurately tests for nutrient deficiencies and MTHFR genetic defects through the blood. The information gleamed from these tests allows physicians to prescribe highly accurate and specific nutritional therapies that can have a substantial effect on patients' health.

Adrenal Imbalance: Both elevated and depressed levels of adrenal hormones, particularly cortisol, can cause symptoms of depression. If cortisol levels are too high, this can inhibit the body's ability to convert tryptophan to serotonin. On top of the significant mood changes that serotonin deficiency can cause, serotonin is a direct precursor to melatonin, a hormone that is vitally important to sleep. Excess cortisol also inhibits thyroid hormone production and can lead to hypothyroidism, another condition that can cause symptoms of depression. Low levels of cortisol are also associated with mood changes, depression, and fatigue. The most accurate way to test adrenal hormones is through the saliva. Salivary testing measures the biologically active component of these hormones, and, because it can be done at home, it allows for precise measurement of hormones at different times of the day and / or month. This gives the physician a complete picture of how much hormone the body is actually able to utilize and how that hormone level fluctuates based on bodily rhythms.

Hypothyroidism: The most common symptoms of hypothyroidism-fatigue, sadness, brain fog, difficulty thinking, and inability to lose weight-are some of the very same symptoms of depression. For this reason, it is very important for anyone who is experiencing these symptoms should have their thyroid checked before starting any sort of anti-depressant medication. It is important that the doctor runs a full thyroid panel (TSH, Free T3, Free T4, thyroid antibodies) and not just TSH, because many cases of hypothyroidism can be missed otherwise.

There are too many metabolic causes of depression to go into detail about each one, but here is a listing of other important conditions to rule out and / or treat if necessary if you are suffering from depression:

Hyperthyroidism
Pituitary, parathyroid, or sex hormone imbalance
Autoimmune disease
Fibromyalgia
Chronic fatigue syndrome
Environmental toxicities
Food allergies
Chronic infections
Medication side-effects
Hypoglycemia
PMS
Lifestyle choices: lack of exercise, sunshine, and / or sleep
Obesity
Other diseases: heart and lung diseases, neurological disorders, anemia, etc.

Homeopathic Treatment

Homeopathic medicine is often very helpful in treating depression and anxiety. Homeopathy is a very safe and gentle system of medicine that can have very deep healing effects when used correctly. Because it works differently than traditional medicines and supplements, it can be challenging to explain exactly how the remedies work.

Dana Ullman summarized homeopathy beautifully in his Huffington Post article on the homeopathic treatment of depression. He stated that, “the promise behind homeopathy is that symptoms of illness are not just something” wrong “with the person but are actually efforts of their bodymind to fight infection and / or to adapt to stress. to inhibit or suppress symptoms, very small and specially prepared doses of medicinal substances are individually prescribed to a person for their unique ability to cause an overdose in the similar symptoms that the sick person is having. sick person, the medicine supports and augments the body's defenses. ” (1) In other words, while many other types of medicine treat the disease itself and all the symptoms that disease comes with, homeopathy treats the sick person individually.

Get Connected

No matter how you treat depression, healing from this disease will never occur in isolation. One of the worst parts about depression is that it lies to you. It tells you that you are alone, that no one understands you, and that you are unfixable. But this is not true. It can be an incredibly difficult and challenging step to ask for help, but if you do I promise that you will find family members, friends, and health professionals who will gladly step in to support you.

Beside opening up to friends and family, working through the mental, emotional, and spiritual causes of depression with a qualified mental health profession is incredibly valuable. Many councilors teach techniques that interrupt and alter the negative thought patterns that often occur in the brain of depressed patients. They also serve as a non-biased, non-judicialal sounding board for thoughts that a depressed individual may not be comfortable sharing with anyone else. As with any chronic disease, healing from depression is a long term and multifaceted process. In my experience, the people who achieve the most substantial and lasting healing are those that combine physical treatments with mental, emotional, and spiritual growth practices.

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Role of Neurotransmitters in Depression

A recent study has revealed that patients with mild or moderate depression can significantly benefit from neurotransmitter precursors. The study, titled “Use of neurotransmitter precursors for treatment of depression, states that” insufficiency activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin and nor-epinephrine is a central element of the model of depression most broadly held by neurobiologists today. ”

What are neurotransmitters and how do they affect depression in a person?

Depression is often attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain, at least this is how the common man perceives it. But there is more to it than meets the eye. Actually, it is little more complex than what people usually think. The brain has a number of chemicals which help in communicating with other parts within it. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are sent and received by the multiple nerve cells present in the brain. These nerve cells are called neurons.

The neurons constantly exchange neurotransmitters as a means of communication. This communication is crucial for proper functioning of the brain. Neurons are connected by a tiny space called synapse. Whenever there is a disruption in the smooth functioning of this chain of chemical events, it impacts the brain and the nervous system in a negative way. And the onset of depression is one of the consequences of such a disruption.

When there is an imbalance in the brain with regard to neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, it results in depression. So, the purpose of antidepressant medication is to act upon these particular neurotransmitters and their receptors. They tend to repair this and depression is taken care of.

Serotonin : As a neurotransmitter, serotonin is responsible for regulating many important physiological functions, including sleep, eating, aggression, sexual behavior, and mood. It is produced by serotonergic neurons. Whenever there is a low production of serotonin, it causes depression in a person. In extreme cases, people may also feel suicidal at times when serotonin level depletes.

Dopamine : As a neurotransmitter, dopamine is also linked to depression. It is important in regulating our desire to seek out rewards, as well as our ability to obtain a sense of pleasure. Low dopamine level means a person will not derive pleasure from activities which are usually pleasurable. They become depressed and hence do not feel elated by indulging in otherwise fun-filled activities in life.

Norepinephrine : A low level of norepinephrine is also responsible for depression in people. Studies reveal that a drop in norepinephrine levels is due to low levels of serotonin. It highlights the inter-relation of neurotransmitters influencing the level of happiness and depression in a person.

Depression treatment therapies aim at restoring these chemical imbalances in the brain as a cure. The depression treatment is immensely popular and highly successful in the country. Every year countless people get treated for their depressive disorders at the numerous depression treatment centers .

An article titled “Neurotransmitter Targeting in the Treatment of Depression” says, “By understanding how various antidepressants affect the 3 monoamine systems of serotonin, nor-epinephrine, and dopamine, clinicians can select treatments based on the most effective mechanism of action.”

Written by Pierre Blier, MD, Ph.D., the article further says, “Medication that increase norepinephrine or dopamine neurotransmission may improve several common residual symptoms left after treatment with serotonin-specific agents.”

In short, it is the proper balance of neurotransmitters in the brain that keeps us upbeat and in a right frame of mind. Any disruption may cause depression or other mental problems in us.

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Depression: Can Toxic Shame Cause Depression?

While someone can feel down from time to time, they can also feel this way on a regular basis. When this is the case, it is going to be a challenge for them to appreciate life, and it may even be a challenge for them to get out of bed in the morning.

Another Experience

Now, when one feels down from time to time, they may find that there are times when they find it hard to embrace each day. However, this is not to say that this is an experience that they have each week.

In fact, this could be an experience that does not even occur a few times a year, and this can then mean that it is not going to have a big effect on their life. And during these moments, they may be only too aware of why their life is this way.

The Contrast

What this comes down to is that one will not be used to feeling depressed, and so it will be easier for them to pinpoint why they their life has changed. Whereas when one always experiences life in this way, it can end up being what is normal.

Thus, if one was to look back on their life and to remember a time when they were depressed, it could have been when they experienced some kind of loss. As a result of this, the meaning of their life may have completely changed.

Loss

This could have been a time when a relationship came to an end up or when a loved one passed on. Perhaps their job came to an end and they had to find something else to do.

Through experiencing something like this, one would have found it hard to function, but through their feelings, it would have enabled them to get back up again, so to speak. This would then be a sign that they have a good relationship with their emotions, and this then allows them to face their feeling instead of running away from them.

Part of Life

It could be said that it is part of life to feel depressed after something like this, and that there is no reason for one not to have this experience. For one thing, having the ability to experience life in this way gives one the chance to appreciate life.

If life was always experienced in one way, it would be a lot harder for one to appreciate it. Therefore, this gives life depth and meaning, and without it, it could be said that it would be a sterile existence.

Grieving

Still, if one did not take the time to grieve, they may have found that it was not possible for them to embrace life again. This would then have meant that this experience would have become normal.

Or if it did not, it may have meant that they would have ended up becoming emotionally cut-off instead. When this takes place it will be possible for them to function, but they will not be able to feel anything, and as time passes, a number of different symptoms would appear.

Other Reasons

Having said that, this is not to say that this is the only reason why one would feel depressed in life. It could also be something that they experience at a certain time in the year, and so as the weather changes, their mood will soon alter.

Along with this, they may find that they experience life is this way when they get angry about something and do not express how they feel. This will show that the energy that needs to be expressed is being repressed, and as it is kept within them, it pulls them down.

A Different Experience

When one sees most of their life feeling depressed, they may find that they have not always experience life in this way. There could then have been a point in their life where everything changed.

At the same time, they may find that their life has been this way for as long as they can remember. If they can refer to the former, it might give them hope that their life can be different; whereas if they can refer to the latter, this might not be the case.

Support

If they were to reach out for support, they could end up being put on antidepressants, or they could be told that it's due to what is taking place in their mind. And while taking antidepressants may take the pain away, it may also stop them from being able to feel.

But if one was to change what is taking place in their mind (or to alter their behavior), they may find that this does not have much of an impact It might make a small difference, for instance, but that could be as far as it goes.

Going Deeper

Another approach would be for one to bring their attention into their body, and to connect with how they feel. This could be a time where they will see that they are carrying trapped grief, or they may find that they carry a lot of repressed anger.

Still, while they could find that this is the case, they could also find that there is something else that is having a larger effect on how they experience life. This could be a time where they will come to see that they feel completely worthless.

Toxic Shame

Through feeling as though there is something inherently wrong with them, it is naturally going to be a challenge for them to feel good about themselves. It will be normal for them to then feel hopeless and powerless.

Based on their outlook, they can believe that there is nothing they can do, and as a result of this, it is to be expected that they will be depressed. This is likely to be a sign that they are carrying toxic shame.

Early Years

The reason they are carrying toxic shame can be due to what has taken place in their adult years, as well as what occurred during their childhood. If it's because of what took place when they were younger, it can be a sign that they experienced some kind of abuse and / or neglect.

Awareness

In order for one to move beyond this, it may be necessary for them to reach out for external support, and this can be provided by a therapist and / or a support group.

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How Depression Affects a Relationship

Depression is a State of Mind That Can Be Controlled

A number of factors can lead to the mental condition that is called depression. Many people confuse depression with sadness. Sadness can come from incidents in a person's life that has gone against his or her expectations. It can come from death of a loved one, loss of some personal possessions, not getting a promotion, or even minor arguments with family or friends. Certain world events also sometimes lead to such sadness. These are episodes that are momentary and do heal over time.

Depression on the other hand, is an episode that can last for long times, measured in days and weeks. It can be a result of a combination of events, poor health, serious illnesses and other constant personal problems. There are ways to diagnose depression as different from just sadness. Such symptoms have to last for surely long periods. These can come from consistently depressed moods, an inability to take pleasure, loss of appetite, and changes in sleep patterns. A depressed person may have trouble concentrating, feel fatigued at all times, and in severe cases can constantly wish for death or sentence suicide. People going through depression are quite often unable to pinpoint the reason for their emotions.

Serious cases of depression may need the intervention of specialists like psychiatrists or other experts. However, a mild depressed person can go forward to change this state of mind. Medicine is not always a solution, as the state of the mind constantly changes.

One great help to getting rid of depression can come from completely taking a break with routine or the circumstances that have caused the depression. A change of scenery can be a big help. Also see, if you can distract yourself by doing something that you normally enjoy. Once you turn your back on the event or situation that depresses you and go on to doing something that you like, the depression can start fading and help you to get over it.

Physical activity can be a great help to get over depression. Go for a jog, exercise at the gym, play some basketball with friends or a game going on in the community or take a long walk. If you like the outdoors, go for a hike. Immerse yourself in doing things around the home. This can even help you in some home improvement project, and the chef task of having improved your home can help you to lighten your mood and tackle the depression.

Relive pleasant memories, go over old photo albums or read over old letters. Be sure that you do not remember unpleasant things, as these are definitely bound to raise their head, once the mind starts thinking.

Talk to friends and family members, Even the sheer task of unburdening your self of your difficulties and problems can have a therapeutic effect that can help to tackle the depressive state of mind.

Depression is a state of the mind and can only controlled by it. Get over anger or frustration that has led to your depression and find some motivation to think positively. Who knows; you may even find the silver lining of the dark cloud that has depressed your spirits.

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Depression: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Depression is more than feeling sad. Each person's experience of depression is different as there is a wide variety of symptoms.

Many people feel down occasionally, but have areas in their lives that make them feel good, for some people though, life is more of a struggle. They feel complete despair.
If you feel like this, then you may be depressed.

What is depression?

Depression is a prolonged and persistent mood, that affects all ages, races, economic groups and both males and females. For some reasons women suffer from depression about twice as much as men do. It is characterized by feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, sadness, loneliness, hopelessness, and self-doubt, suicidal thought may also be present.

Normal everyday depression can last for minutes to a few days. These feelings are a normal part of being human.

On the other hand, depression that becomes intense and lasts for extended periods of time is beyond the everyday sort. For this more severe depression you need to consider getting help.

What may cause people to be depressed?

– Disappointment.
– Negative thinking.
– Unrealistic expectations.
– Significant loss.

Symptoms of depression:

1. Physical symptoms:

– Weight loss or gain.
– Sleeping too much or too little.
– Gradual loss of sexual desire.
– Constipation.

2. Emotional symptoms:

– Anger.
– Sadness.
– Hopelessness.
– Anxiety.
– Mood swings.

3. Behavioral symptoms:

– Getting angry easily.
– Crying for no apparent reason.
– Turning to drugs or alcohol.
– Loss of interest in one's physical appearance.
– Loss of interest in activities which were once of interest.

Dealing with depression:

– Try to keep up with social activities even if you do not feel like it
– Turn to friends and family members who make you feel loved and cared for.
– Ask for help. Others are usually very willing to listen.
– Do not hold your feelings, cry and get angry if you need to.
– Make a weekly list of your positive accomplishments.
– Use the stairs rather than an elevator.
– Take regular exercises.
– Keep as occupied as you can with things that really interest you.
– Get professional help if symptoms persist.

Depression is a distressing experience, but there are many kinds of help available.

Sadly you may not always get the help you need, sometimes because you may feel too hopeless about your situation to ask.

After reading this you may like to discuss it with family and friends.

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Poverty May Lead to Mental Disorders

Feeling depressed during days of fund crunch is natural. However, it's a temporary low which goes away when the money begins to flow again. But long-term poverty can be detrimental to mental health of an individual, as it can induce depression. Living in uncertainty and facing days of absolute penury for a longer period can be quite unnerving and can trigger the onset of depression.

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) information sheet, developed through the Mental Health and Poverty Project (MHaPP) funded by the UK's Department for International Development (DFID), the common mental diseases are twice as frequent among the poor as among the rich . Depression among the poor is 1.5 to 2 percent more than the affluent in a society. The report further states that those suffering from hunger or debts are more susceptible to suffer from mental disorders than others. People living in crowded and shanty accommodations are also prone to depression and other mental disorders, the report says.

Poor education is also linked to mental disorders, as those unemployed with a low level of education are bound to feel the pinch.

Poor vis-à-vis schizophrenia

Data gleaned by the researchers of this study revealed that schizophrenia and poverty share a close relationship as people with low socio-economic status have eight times more relative risk of schizophrenia than others with a high socio-economic status. Schizophrenics are four times more likely to be unemployed or partially employed than people who are not mentally ill. One-third of the schizophrenics are also not graduates and three times more likely to be divorced.

Cyclical relation between poverty and mental health

The report says that the relationship between poverty and mental disorder is cyclical. The prevalence of one triggers the sunset of the other. “Poverty increases the risk of mental disorders and having a mental disorder increases the likelihoods of descending into poverty,” the report says. The poor have limited access to basic living standards, educational and employment opportunities, and are exposed to adverse living conditions. They also fail to achieve adequate health care.

All these conditions lead to stressful situations, often causing mental problems. And people who develop mental disorder remain unfit to execute their job responsibilities and others may be denied a job or may lose their existing ones due to discrimination against mental ills.

This lack of employment opportunities further shoves them to poverty and they are unable to pay for their treatment. There are cost-effective mental health treatment centers, but they may be far away from their residences. There are quite a few depression rehab centers offering world-class, but affordable treatment. The aftercare and community programs of some of these treatment centers are doing commendable jobs raising thousands of mentally ill patients.

Poor people feel marginalized in the society and they inherently suffer a social exclusion, which triggers mental disorders in them. Feeling of oppression and human rights violation make them disturb and they are constantly subjected to mental agonies. In such a mental state productivity of an individual can not be optimal and it further creates a vicious cycle of poverty and mental disorder.

It is the responsibility of the state and social organizations to initiate measures to alleviate poverty and improve mental health conditions among the poor. Supportive community networks are also immensely beneficial, shielding them against poverty and mental disorders, according to the report.

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Proximity to Public Transport Linked to Better Mental Health

Location is usually the largest factor while deciding one's accommodation; the better the facilities in the area, the higher the prices. Access to public transport plays an important role in the selection of house. However, there are many who hate a noisy neighborhood, which is common if the house is located in an area with a good public transport facility.

However, apart from the real estate point of view, there is another reason to opt for a house located in proximate to a train station or a bus stop. According to a recent study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , living near public transport facility boosts mental health.

Titled “The Effects of the Urban Built Environment on Mental Health: A Cohort Study in a Large Northern Italian City,” this 2015 study claimed that “built environment” has a stronger effect on mental health for people who spend more time in the neighborhood. They found that better access to public transport and a dense urban structure could lead to a reduction in depression. This is especially true for women and elderly people who have an increased opportunity to move around and mingle with others.

“The urban built environment (BE),” said the researchers, “is one of the potential determinants of health and health inequalities to be considered in the Health in All Policies approach. , environmental pollution and safety, have been broadly assessed but little is known about the impact of main structural characteristics of the urban context that are central to urban and local plans, such as land use, building density and distribution of services and facilities. ”

The researchers collated and studied the data from the Turin Longitudinal Study in northern Italy, which was based on the city's historical population registry from 1971 to present. They considered five key parameters as urban characteristics to arrive at their conclusion, which was development density, land use mixture (residential, commercial), public and green space, cultural and sports facilities (as well as transit access), as well as transit access .

The researchers further studied basic demographic information, like education, job status, citizenship and residential stability as the basis of their study. They followed the adult citizens to measure their mental conditions by looking at the antidepressant medications consumed during a certain period of time.

They observed that depressive symptoms in populations that lived closer to environments with improved facilities like transit access significantly improved. They had reduced intake of antidepressant medications, which suggests an improvement in their mental condition. This finding was especially prominent among women and older residents aged between 50 and 64.

Two distinct trends came to the fore from this study – one, it showed that people's mental state improved significantly when they lived in areas that are more easily accessible by bus or train, and in places with taller average building heights than those living in more remote Egypt sparse areas ;. and two, antidepressant prescriptions increased among those with less education and inactivity.

“In our data, a low level of education and activity shows the strongest effect on the incidence of first antidepressant prescriptions, particularly among unemployed men,” the researchers said.

In a built environment, home and offices were the strongest determinants in term of health benefits as people spend an extended period of time in them. However, the effects of outdoor urban environment are difficult to ascertain and is recognized to be of minor intensity.

The study makes some very pertinent suggestions, like addressing health inequalities, building a good public transport network through the city, and paying attention to elderly and women population. These measures would certainly contribute to the mental health in the city in relation to urban policies and foster equity in the distribution of social determinants.

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Depression, One of Today’s Great Challenges

We all feel depressed once in a while, we feel down, we feel that nothing is going the way it should be. These feelings create doubts in our minds about or goals and the way we are trying to achieve them. This starts a chain reaction and our brain starts to make up excuses to convince us we are doing things the wrong way or we are trying to achieve too much in too little time. By the time we are done with the negative analysis we are ready to give up on our dreams and hopes. In fact many people actually give in to these negative thoughts and drop everything they are doing choosing to drop the towel instead of fighting.

This is why it is very important to plan ahead of time the steps and the route we want to follow towards a set goal. It is necessary to take a good look at all the roads available to get to where we want to. Analyze all the possibilities and chose the one that has the greater possibilities, less risk of failure and the most realistic. Time is not necessarily important, there are goals that can not be accomplished in a rush or cutting corners and we must be willing to spend the necessary time to get there.

Once we have a plan and know the steps we must take, and have the road map for the road we must travel; it is time to begin and keep going until we get there. Probably there will be road blocks and details we did not know exhausted or did not take into account when planning but they will be small things we can deal with and improvise ways to jump these hurdles. Each small step must be taken and seen as an achievement, a step closer. We must not look at the final goal to celebrate; we must look at each step as an accomplishment and continue with the next one. A trip starts with the first step and each one taken must be appreciated and celebrated. This attitude makes the journey easier and less stressing.

We are in command of our minds and brains and not vice versa. Life is good and it is to be enjoyed every day. Every flower, every gust of wind, a beautiful woman, a smile, they are all there for us to see, to enjoy, to give us hope of a better tomorrow. We are all capable of achieving whatever goals we set for ourselves, that is how we were designed. We are all mean to be great men and women, to reach our highest goals and dreams. We will always win if we take the right road to get there, it is impossible to reach New York from San Francisco if you take the road to Miami. This does not mean we will not make mistakes, sure we will, we are not perfect but if we want something bad enough we will go back to the starting gate over and over again until we finally reach New York.

Depression is just an excuse to hide and stop fighting for a better life, for a better world. Getting over it is just a matter of time; it is a matter of making your brain understand that you will not give up, that you know that you are great and that you are perfectly capable to do whatever you want to do. To get over depression you must be brave and constant, stand before the mirror, look at yourself, tell yourself you are smart and brave and you can do anything you want. Do it often, as much as possible and soon your body and mind will accept these facts.

Do not think about the things you want to do or be, do not dream about them. This does not work; it really makes you feel worst. Sit in a quiet place by yourself, think, plan, prepare and when you are ready to go out into the light and do it knowing in your heart and mind that you are invincible.

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Seeking Happiness and Health in Nature – Using Ecotherapy to Treat Depression

Spending time outdoors amid nature is a great way to unwind. Being in unison with nature comes with a lot of benefits that include happiness, health, and peace of mind. Enjoying the benefits of nature then also helps keep depression at bay. According to a 2013 study by researchers from the University of Essex, being in the midst of nature helps us fight depression, improve our mental health and well-being.

Known as Green Therapy, or Ecotherapy, nature's bounty is now even being utilized to cure mental conditions, particularly depression. The study, which was published by the mental health organization Mind , says that taking a walk out in nature is known to reduce depression by 71 percent in people.

How Ecotherapy helps in depression

The researchers conducted the study with two groups – one group was asked to walk in nature, while the controlled group was asked to take a walk in a shopping center. Only 45 percent of the people of the controlled group who walked in the shopping center had reduced depression, while 22 percent experienced more depression.

Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said, “Our research shows people commissioning mental health services and social care that a holistic treatment like Ecotherapy delivers not only health benefits but wider social benefits and cost savings that medication could not.”

Mind , which has funded several programs that promote activities like gardening and environmental conservation work, believes that such therapies can make a huge difference in addressing mental health of people. They found that almost 69 percent people have enjoyed a sense of wellbeing after participating in such nature activities.

Let us look at the ways nature can actually make us feel better, making us happier and healthier:

Living near trees is linked to happiness and health

Living in an area which has more trees can actually contribute to happiness and both physical and mental health. This may be due to the reason that more trees mean less pollution, people getting out to exercise, and trees calming people.

Living close to nature boosts creativity

Taking a walk in the park has resolved more issues than scratching the head for solutions in the cubicle. When people walk, solutions to various problems tend to come, which shows that spending time in nature boosts creativity in people. When creativity is unleashed, people loosen up and become less anxious.

Spending time in nature improves energy

There are various studies that have established that walking, exercising and other physical activities in the open result in heightened energy level. According to a series of experiments published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology , even taking a 15-minute walk in nature or visualizing about nature provides instant energy to participants. If just imagining about nature can have positive results, spending time in nature will do wonders for sure.

Treating depression and improving mental conditions are the most beneficial outcomes of ecotherapy. Another recent study by Stanford University also revealed that spending time in nature could be an effective prescription for certain mental health conditions. Therefore, not just patients, but everyone should be encouraged to spend time in nature for health and happiness.

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Depression: Is Self-Awareness An Important Part Of Dealing With Depression?

Everyone on this planet will have experienced physical pain at one point or another, and there is also the chance that they have suffered mentally and emotionally. And though it could be said that there is a greater awareness around the former than the latter, it does not mean that this is because what is taking place within can simply be overlooked.

One Outlook

As based on how today's world is, it would be easy to say that what is taking place at a mental and emotional level is not as important as what is taking place at a physical level. There is then no reason for each area to receive the same amount of attention and everything should stay as it is.

If one has suffered on the inside, they will know that physical pain is not something that is more important. They could find it hard to understand why the world is the way it is, and this is to be expected.

Another View

At the same time, if one has not suffered in the same way, they might find it hard to understand why someone would have this outlook. In their eyes, it could be seen as something that does not have much of an effect on how someone experiences life.

In this case, if they were to come across someone who is suffering internally, they might wonder why they can not just 'get over it', for instance. They could believe that these kinds of people are weak.

Advice

Therefore, if they were to come across someone who is suffering, they may tell them that they need to toughen up. And that if they were to start taking action or to simply change their life, they would soon feel better.

Still, it would be inaccurate to say this outlook will apply to everyone that has not suffered, as there will be people that have good understanding of what it is like. This could be a sign that they have friends and / or family who have a mental and emotional problem.

In The Past

Along with this, one may also have suffered in one way or another in the past, and this then gives them a defect understanding of what it is like. Either way, they will have the ability to empathize with people who are suffering as opposed to dismissing their experience.

As when one looks down on people who suffer in this way or wonders why they can not just 'get it together', it can be a sign that they find it hard to empathise. But if they do have this ability, then it shows that something is replacing them from putting themselves in these people's shoes.

Shame

One of the reasons why physical pain receives more attention than mental and emotional pain is due to a number of reasons. For so long, having mental and emotional problems has been seen as something to be accused of.

This has then stopped people from reaching out for the support that they need and it then sets them up to suffer in silence. Fortunately, as time has passed, this is starting to change; however, there are still plenty of people who are still unable to reach out for the support they needily need.

Part of Life

Having a mental and emotional problem can then become a life sentence and not something that one can gradually move beyond. It then will not matter what kind of condition their body is in, as they will not be able to enjoy the life that they have been given.

And one of the most common mental and emotional problems that someone can suffer from is depression. This can be a something that is fairly mild, or it can be something that is far more extreme.

Depression

Through experience this, one can feel down and lose interest in life; each day will then be a struggle. This is not to say that everyone experiences depression in the same, as there can be a difference in how if affects people.

At the same time, this is how many people experience life when they are depressed. And when one ends up feeling depressed, they can end up suffering in silence or they can go and see their doctor, for instance.

The Second Option

If one was to go and see their doctor, they might end up being referred to a therapist and / or end up being put on antidepressants. It could be said that it would be better for them to work with a therapist than to simply take something.

The reason for this is that it will give them the chance to look into why they are experiencing life in this way; whereas if they were to simply take something, they would not be able to gain a better understanding of themselves. There is also the chance that it might be better for them to avoid taking anything, but this can all depend on the circumstances.

Self-Reflection

Through working with a therapist, it will give them the chance to bring their attention within them and to take a deer look into why they are experience life in this way. Yet this does not mean that one needs to work with a therapist in order to do this, as they can do this by themselves.

This can be a time where one can think about when they first started to experience life in this way and what was taking place for them at this time. Or if this in an experience that comes and goes; they can look into what takes place when it comes and what takes place when it goes.

A Process

When one's point of focus is on what is taking place within them, they will be observing their thoughts, emotions and sensations. The feelings that arise inside then could relate to something that has occurred during their adult life or what took place during their childhood.

This can then mean that one is carrying trapped emotions in their body, and this will have an effect on what is taking place in their head. But like most things in life, it can take a while before one is able to observe what is taking place within them.

Different Factors

At the same time, this does not mean that depression is also caused by what is taking place within them, as it can be due to what they eat, the kind of environment they live in and what has been passing down from their ancestors. When their experience is not their own and it has been passed down, they will be suffering out of their need to be loyal.

Awareness

Through developing self-awareness one will be able to get the ball moving and from here, they can begin to see what why they are experiencing life as they are. The alternative would be for one to have absolutely no awareness of what is taking place within them and it would then be a lot harder for them to change their life.

If one wants to develop self-awareness, they can do this through working with a therapist and by meditating. Reading books on self-development can also help.

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Defy Your Depression

Many medical professionals make a skilled out of treating depression. I am not a trained medical professional. But, I am a sufferer of depression. I have suffered from childhood up to this day, and I am sixty-years-old now. So, I can boast to have had experience with being depressed. Also, I am still here, so I can say that depression has not defeated me. I would like to suggest to you that you can control your depression. Likely you can not defeat (banish) it from your life.

Some of us are wired to be depressed. It is in our DNA. I think that I must be one of those people, because I know that members of my extended family, both before and after my birth, also struggle with depression. Did you know that there are valuable qualities within the malady of depression? Depressed people worry. People who worry become watchful. They can spot danger while there is time to escape from the consequences of danger. Many folks who worry become planners. A planner can devise a way to safety. So, if you are already to see the glass half empty, to absorb the worst possible exit, or to sense danger when there is no sign that it is actually there, then take heart. You are in fact a valuable member of your tribe (or family).

Depression is harmful to you and to all those around you if you allow your tendency to pay more attention to your negative feelings to become obsessive. One example of obsessive depression is when you are greeted by family, friends, and even strangers, you seize the opportunity to launch into your well-rehearsed tales of enduring woe and self-pity. This hurts; that hurts; I have no money; everything I own breaks; someone was mean to me today … and someone will be mean to me tomorrow! You are smart enough to know that every person on the planet has problems. Why do you think your problems are special, and merit repeating to others as if you had crafted art on the same scale as an ancient Greek tragedy? OK, that was harsh. But, I would do wrong by you if I gave you the tiniest belief that you have a right to have that way. Keep that up and your friends will drift away. Your family will shun you. Strangers will observe the downer attitude in your countenance, and they will cross a busy street in order to avoid contact with you. Do you understand that you must be happy, independent of the things that depress you?

You must determine how to go about elevating the happy things in your life in order to defy your depression. Some of you may need a trained medical professional to help you. But, a great number of you can do this on your own. Start by getting enough sleep. Change your diet to healthy foods. Begin and stick to an exercise program. Discipline yourself to say something hopeful to people. If you feel compelled to follow that up with depressed talk, excuse yourself and get out of there before you do it. I found that a few Christian Biblical stories helped me with my depression.

A good one is found in the Biblical book of Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 10. In it, the person who has every right to be depressed is Paul, once a great sinner, who was changed to take up “The Great Commission” ( Matthew 28: 16-20) as a missionary. The verse is his letter to the Philippian Church that has sent him money. Paul is in a Roman prison. He has been falsely accused, almost killed in two riots, was stoned almost to death, and has suffered numerous beats. He is expecting the Romans to send him to death. Justifiably he could succumb to depression. Yet, his writing is hopeful, such as: “I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances.” Content means happy. Your life is a gift of grace. Celebrate the gift that you received by being happy. Do that, and you will defy your depression.

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What Causes Depression and How It Can Be Cured?

All of us feel low and sad once in a while, but we often confuse depression with sadness. It is very important to understand the difference between the general sadness and long-lasting depression. If you discover that your sadness is lasting for more than two weeks, particularly without a reason, in that case, prospects are high that you are suffering from depression. It is a serious problem which affects you in both ways, physically and mentally. Feeling irritated, anxious, persistent sadness, fatigue, lack of interest in hobbies and other day-to-day activities are some of the signs of depression.

There are various forms of depressions depending on the duration it lasts:

1. Dysthymia or Persistent depressive disorder – Dysthymia is a condition when a person feels regularly depressed for at least two years. The good thing about dysthymia is that it is curable. Dysthymia develops the feeling of double depression inside the person.

2. Psychotic disorder – It is a type of depression, which occurs when a person is suffering from some psychosis in addition with depression. A person may notice symptoms of delusion and hallucination in many cases.

3. Perinatal disorder – This disorder is often observed in pregnant women and women who gives birth. A woman tends to feel mild to major anxiety, sadness and depression, which makes really tough for her to perform regular activities or to take care of herself or the baby.

4. SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) – SAD generally occurs due to shortage of sunlight or less access to natural light. This disorder generally disturbs the person in winters. You will automatically notice the changes in your behavior in the summer and springs. Your mood will naturally uplift to see more sunlight around you.

Life events play an important role in causing depression. Heartbreak, living with an abusive partner, loneliness, work stress, long-term unemployment, losing a job could be some of the factors that cause depression. It has been observed that under confident people and people who take tensions and possess low self-esteem also ends up suffering with depression at some point in life. It can also happen due to Chemical imbalance in the brain.

There are plenty of options available to fight depression. But it is not necessary that everything works for everyone, so make sure that you analyze the symptoms carefully and picking only the right option to cure depression. It is a well-known that making changes in our lifestyle can help us beat depression easily.

  • Include exercises to your daily routine and do not forget to get proper sleep.
  • Practice meditation and various relaxation tips available.
  • Seek help of family and friends. Discuss your problems with them and try to figure out the solution together.
  • Stay away from all negative thoughts and pay attention to all positive things present around you.
  • Appreciate others and yourself. Boost your confidence and believe in yourself.
  • Eat foods like dark chocolate, celery, almond which boosts your mood and make you feel better and happy.

Just remember that nothing lasts forever and every problem comes with a solution. All you need to do is to believe in yourself. Say to yourself that 'I can' and 'I will', no matter what there is nothing that you can not do or have in life.

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A Courageous Journey Past Temptation to Suicide

Life is tough. We know that, most of us. But we're given to forgetting just how tough life is – for a season, even a whole life, on and off – when we would rather wait all is okay. Well, some of the time, for many people, life is not okay, and getting through some pivotal hours is a task requiring significant self-restraint.

After one such season of deathly life – where to take one's life was a dear temptation – a brave and very loving soul contacted me with a poem, simply wanting to share.

The following poem, titled LIFE, captures the essence of suicidal motivation, and it's written, for the reader, in the gold of empathy, in the cherished hope it might help someone.

LIFE (All Caps is intended)

LIFE IS NOT A FAIRYTALE
AND UNLIKE A MOVIE
IT DOES NOT HAVE A SCRIPT
DESPITE OUR BEST EFFORTS
IT CAN BE CRUEL AND UNKIND
OUR SENSITIVITIES ARE PLAYED WITH
LIKE CHESS PIECES ON A BOARD
THE DIRECTION IT TAKES
SOMETIMES UNFATHOMABLE
PLUNGE US INTO DEPTHS UNIMAGINABLE
BROKEN DREAMS LOST IN THE PASSAGE OF TIME
TIME WE DO NOT HAVE
LOSS OF YOUTH, OF OUR LIFE FORCE
BORN OF DISAPPOINTMENT, TOIL AND TRIAL.
WITHDRAWAL BECOMES A SHIELD; A DEFENSE AGAINST PAIN
AND YET IT IS AN ENEMY THAT BEGETS MORE PAIN –
LONELINESS OF SOUL AND SPIRIT
REGRET IS FUTILE AND FEEDS ON ITSELF
SPIRALLING US INTO A CREVASSE OF SELF-RECRIMINATION.
THE “WHYS”, THE “IFS”, THE “MAYBES”.
WHY TRY, WHY HOPE, WHY STRIVE?
OUR STRENGTH DEPLETED
OUR RESOLVE DASHED
OUR LIFE PLAYED OUT AND NEAR THE END
A TAPESTRY FRAYED AND FALLING APART
WE CAN NO LONGER FIGHT!
FAREWELL
– Anonymous (a person known to me, published with their consent and blessing)

***

Read the despair, the despair, the despair. All these, but truth, too … raw honest feeling put down in words that bite with the sting of reality. Courageous. Bold. Real. True.

The poem was written in capitalization, published as is. Should it be “shouted” when read? No. I think it has best effect when it's read as it is. Simply to read it aloud evokes emotion.

Is it a concern to be publishing what could or would be someone's suicide note? Possibly. But our intention is to encourage empathy through commonality of experience so that a person-of-concern might seek help through dialogue with skilled others, and with the support of loved ones wherever possible.

The truth is, for the person close to suicide, the issues mentioned in the poem are all up for grabs – they all need to find expression, and be discussed. They're all viable emotions and states of life. There is a viable answer for these emotions and the overall state of being, but it's not what we think it is when we're in the mire of self-loathing.

LIFE can very well be all of what is prescribed in the poem, but we're encouraged to take heart – life makes more sense once we're through the challenge and on the other side in a comparative happiness, which may not be a rose garden, but a life we ​​can accept.

Faith in Jesus Christ helps more than anything else. It may be the only thing that works.

We all want to be heard. We all need to be listened to. When we approach temptation to end our life, more than ever we need to be encouraged to continue; to be reminded there is hope for better outcomes.

If anyone reads this and feels temped to harm themselves in any way, you're prompted to call LIFELINE on 13 11 14 (Australia) or a SUICIDE HOTLINE in your country.

© 2016 SJ Wickham (with many thanks to the courageous author of the poem, LIFE).

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Six Activities to Combat Temporary Depression Without Medication

Depression is intense sadness which makes us feel tired, hopeless, helpless, and worthless. It robs many of us of happiness and denies us the energy to go about our daily lives. Depression is caused by a physical change in your brain's chemistry, which can last for a few hours to a few days. So, what can you do when you become depressed? I have listed six activities which can help conquer depression that you can do without taking medication.

1. Exercise. Walking, running, swimming, lifting weights are excellent physical activities. Moving your body for over 10 minutes increases blood circulation which affects your brain in a soothing way. When you exercise intensely endorphins are released, which are hormones that attach to receptors in your brain. The result is a calm feeling of happiness and well-being.

2. Take a shower or bath. When you take a shower or bath, you surround your body in warm or hot water that is lower than your body temperature. The higher the water temperature, the hotter the water. Warm or hot water has a calming effect on the body and mind. Plus, you are doing others a favor because it makes you smell better too.

3. Take a nap. Depression can be caused by lack of sleep which can run you down to the point of feeling tired. You may have confusing thoughts that need to rest. Taking an hour nap will help your mind rest. It can restore your emotions emotions and clear your thoughts.

4. Meditate. Meditation is a state of deep peace that occurs when you put your body in a comfortable, still position which helps your mind focus on one thought or feeling. It specifically reduces worries which bombards your mind with several or more troubling thoughts or ideas. Meditation allows you to focus on one thought by eliminating all other thoughts.

5. Smile. You may not feel like smiling, but studies have shown that if you pretended to smile, it actually makes you feel better. When other people see you smile it usually makes them want to smile too.

6. Listen to Music. Do you listen to music that makes you feel good? Do you have a favorite type of music such as jazz, rock, classical? The combination of the rhythms of musical instruments playing simultaniously to create a song or group of songs can elevate your mood and restore calm thoughts. Also, listening to much slower, peaceful music such as a harp or slow piano songs, calms nerves and helps the mind to relax.

Relieving temporary depression can be done by engaging in one or more of the six activities I have listed. All of them can eliminate acute sadness, by elevating mood, calming nerves, and heightening well-being. Of course, there are many other other activities you might know of to combat it. However, if you are struggling with depression on an ongoing basis, you probably need to seek a psychologist.

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Your Guide To Natural Happiness: Healthy Mind, Healthy Body

There's ample evidence suggesting the incredible connection between our body and mind. This is why phrases like 'too much stress makes you sick' are true. A famous research called as the Whitehall study found that workers in low-level jobs, in which they have high levels of stress and low poverty, had more than twice the risk of developing metabolic syndrome – a precursor of heart diseases and diabetes – compared with employees in higher-level jobs.

Today the breakthrough in our understanding of the mind-body connection has translated into many forms of therapies in order to support patients with minor to serious health illnesses. “The Connection Between Mind And Body” written by The Bravewell Collaborative is a good read where they summarize the most ground-breaking studies and therapies available today.

Only a healthy body can bestow a healthy mind and vice versa. Then what can you do to make the most out of this phenomenon to your advantage? Below is a description of a famous study performed by Dr. James Blumenthal. It's about fighting depression, but we can all learn a valuable lesson from it.

Fighting Depression: Exercise vs. Medication

Blumenthal collected 156 adults suffering from mild to moderate cases of depression and they were divided into three different groups:

Group 1: Patients associated in this group were treated with sertraline, an antidepressant drug (they go by the brand names of Zoloft and Lustral). In 2011 alone, over 37 million sertraline prescriptions were given out for various conditions including major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety and panic.

Group 2: Patients in this group were given a combination of medication and exercise. They used the same medication (same dose) as Group 1, along with regular exercise. The exercise program given out to them were identical to the one given to patients under Group 3 below.

Group 3: Patients in this group only had exercise. Three times per week, they performed 45 minutes of exercise. This included 10 minutes of warm up, 30 minutes of walking or jogging at a pace that would maintain a heart rate that was 80% to 90% of their maximum, and then 5 minutes of cool down.

And here are the results:

Each patient was evaluated for 4 months under the supervision of researchers and professional staff. At the end of the treatment period, the researchers were surprised to find out that all three groups had equal results. Treating depression with exercise alone was just as effective as medication. But when the researchers took the experiment and recorded the results over a longer period of time, things got even more interesting.

Long-Term Impacts Between Exercise and Medication

After the 4 months of treatment, the researchers gave all the patients the freedom of spending their next 6 months as they wish. They were welcomed to continue their treatment on their own or to try something new.

When the researchers followed up with the patients 6 months later, the results were the following:

· Group 1 (Medication only): 38% of patients relapsed into depression.

· Group 2 (Medication + Exercise): 31% of patients relapsed into depression.

· Group (Exercise only): only 8% of patients relapsed into depression.

Why Exercise Was More Effective Long Term

Dr. Blumenthal and his colleagues studied this result and commented that:

“One of the positive psychological benefits of systematic exercise is the development of a sense of personal mastery and positive self-regard, which we believe is likely to play some role in the depression-reducing effects of exercise.”

In other words, it was the discipline, commitment and the accumulation of “small-wins” over time that led to increased senses of self-worth and confidence. It's not that medications do not work, but the minority shift in empowerment and confidence is what makes all the difference.

The Hidden Message

The immediate message of the study is obvious: if you are suffering from depression, exercise is a great alternative to medication, and long term wise, exercise may deliver superior results. But it's irrelevant whether you are suffering from depression or not. The results of this study clearly shows that there is an intimate relationship between the human body and mind, and we can all use this information to our advantage.

Whatever goals you might have set for yourself, the very first step to actually achieving it starts from believing in yourself. They say the sky is the limit but really, it is your own self-limiting thoughts that limit you. We've seen it already. Having the correct mind-set of empowerment and confidence is much more potent than pills when it comes to changing how we feel, the way we move and extremely, live our lives.

If you do not have a healthy body, you can not have a healthy mind and vice versa. Start feeding your body and mind with everything that's good. Life is too short for anything less. So let's make sure anything that we think, look, read or say adds value and health to our minds and body.

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