I was told many years ago by a very wise individual that depression was hard to define or focus on because it consisted of many different little suppressed angers. You know the little things that bug you, nag you or irritate you. At a certain point, all those little things that you can’t seem to put your finger on or feel you don’t have a right to express build up and clog your flow of expression.
Since emotions are always active, whether destructively in your world or destructively within your body, we need to have an outlet. When emotions are left unexpressed or unreleased they can sometimes pile up or accumulate in weight, like having a 50 pound bag of sand on your shoulders. Depression is a lot like this bag weighing you down. A powerful and creative meditation my friend told me about is to imagine yourself with this heavy weighted sandbag on your shoulders and another one on your lap keeping you from moving. You move your hand just enough to take out a little knife that happens to be in your pocket. You then reach up and poke a little hole in the first bag, letting out a steady stream of sand. Now feel the depression (little angers buggings, naggings or irritations) slowly being released while the bags are getting lighter and free from their debilitating weight. Now poke a hole in the other bag and feel the weight lifting. This technique works wonders.
We recently found a great resource with some information and ways to deal with depression. Some of the information is laid out below as a way to educate yourself.
1. Use Your Imagination to Lift Yourself
There is a study at Yale University demonstrating that patients suffering from severe depression were helped by imagining scenes in which they were praised by people they admired- a clear boost to their self-esteem.
Most proponents of visualization suggest practicing positive visualization, or guided imagery for 15 to 20 minutes a day. When you become more skilled at holding the picture in your mind in a detailed and powerful way you can shift to doing it for just a few minutes at a time as needed throughout the day.
2. Power Foods
There are a number of powerful foods that help lift the spirits by lessening anxiety and depression. One of the most commonly used herbs in the United States and has been long known in most folk remedies against emotional stress or disorders. Foods like brown rice, brewer’s yeast, whole-grain oats, cabbage, cacao, St. John’s Wort and Brazil nuts are often used to help lesson stress and anxiety.
No prescription is needed to obtain these foods. They can be found at most health food stores, drug stores, and online.
3. Clean up Your Diet
When you’re feeling down in the dumps, linking your diet to your mood might not be the obvious thing. But the reality is that we are what we eat.
Some people may be more accustomed to reaching out for prescription anti-depressants and natural medication, but the fact is that your diet may be the easiest, fastest and safest way to make a change in how you are feeling.
For example, serotonin is a naturally occurring chemical in our bodies that has a significant effect on both our mood and appetite. Most of the antidepressants in the market today work by raising the serotonin levels in the brain. A diet that is rich in tryptophan and tyrosine boost the serotonin in your brain because they are large chain amino acids that are precursors to serotonin.
So here’s a list of some of the foods that are chock-full of goodies for your brain, stock up on these and make sure that your diet is a healthy and balanced one.
High Serotonin Concentration
Moderate Serotonin Concentration
- Black Olives
- Honeydew melon
- Nuts & Legumes
- Whole Grains
4. Breathe Your Stress Away
Show me someone who’s feeling depressed, and I’ll show you someone who’s breathing shallowly. Your blood receives the oxygen and carries it through your veins to every part of your body. If you breathe shallowly, you will literally have less life in your veins.
Slow deep breaths will help more oxygen into your body including your brain. When your brain has more oxygen, it is able to process everything faster and without stress. The next time you start to feel a wave of stress, anxiety, or depression coming on, take a few minutes and breathe deeply.
5. Meditate to Recuperate
Although meditation has been practiced for thousands of years around the world, we in the west are fairly new to the practice of calming the mind and sitting in mindfulness. In many ways, it goes against our culture of “doing” and the “fast paced lifestyle.”
Studies have shown that meditation promotes significant changes in the brain and body. It enhances your focus, performance, immune system, mood, cognitive measures, memory, visual attention, and much more.
Psychologists at Wake Forest University of Medicine studying the effects of “mindfulness meditation” found that it only took four days of training for 20 minutes each day to have a significant improvement in cognitive skills, improvements that were more comparable to results after far more extensive training.
A common myth is that you need years and years of practice, when in reality 10 to 20 minutes of meditation a day can have a huge impact on your life. It is truly a practice that helps no matter what level you’re at and scales with your ability and focus.
6. Depression and Positive Affirmations
If I’m feeling down, or depression is setting in I only have to take a look at my thoughts and I find a mad activity of negative thoughts that only multiply the feelings of hopelessness, sadness and despair.
There is no doubt about it that thoughts affect emotions and vice versa. It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg dilemma, which comes first? The important thing is that if you can catch your negative thoughts and change them into positive ones you can change your emotions, or at least stop them from spiraling downwards and out of control.
7. Resources on Depression
Here is a list that will help you learn more about depression and how to treat it with natural remedies:
- The top five foods for beating depression
- Depression and mental disorders can be prevented and treated with simple healing foods
- 20 Natural Ways to Cure Depression, Anxiety, Panic, and Mental Illness
No matter the type of depression, a broad approach to a healthy lifestyle will help. Your whole being needs to be in balance to truly be in best frame of mind. Many people will focus on the body but not the mind or spirit and will lose the balance. We need to learn in all areas to propel us to a loving, long life.
Have you overcome depression with natural remedies? What worked best for you?