Everyone knows that there is a link between physical health and mental health. Mental illness is seen as a chemical imbalance in the brain. There are other causes of depression such as trauma, grief, and other life circumstances. However, today I would like to focus on the body and how the better you treat your body, the better you will feel. What are some things you can do to alleviate or even prevent depression?
1.) Yoga and other forms of exercise
There is a general consensus that exercising helps increase your mood, so this is nothing new. However, I recently discovered just how effective yoga is on my mental health. I decided to do some yoga with my toddler and after doing a few forward bends, I felt so much better. This inspired me to get up early in the morning and do some yoga. I have been practicing yoga every day since and I feel so much better than before! It’s amazing. For more information on the benefits of yoga on mood, check out Yoga For Depression.
But what if you don’t like yoga? There are plenty of other things you can do to get exercise. Walking is the easiest one. Just go outside your home and start walking! You don’t need a yoga mat or any other equipment. Or for added benefit, you can run if you like. But maybe you find walking and running boring. Well, then pick up a new sport. I played ice hockey on and off for sixteen years and it did wonders for my emotional wellbeing.
Another well known cure for depression is meditation. Meditation is not for everyone, or is it? If you have a hard time relaxing and calming your thoughts, try meditating for just five minutes at a time. Five minutes is doable. Thirty minutes is daunting! Believe me, after meditating for a few days, you will want to keep doing it. After meditating for a few days, I have much more clarity and intentionality in my daily life. I feel motivated and very self-aware. So, if you aren’t a meditator and you think there’s too much chatter (monkey mind) in your brain, just give it a five-minute try. As you get better at it, you can slowly but surely increase the number of minutes you meditate up to a full thirty minutes.
Acupuncture is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ways to treat depression, at least it wasn’t for me. It wasn’t until my younger sister treated me to an acupuncture session that I even considered it. Before committing to acupuncture I wanted to make sure it was effective for me. I have a diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder Type 2.
And wouldn’t you know it? Acupuncture has been found to successfully treat both mania and depression in bipolar. When I read this, I got so excited because I have never found a therapeutic intervention that worked for both symptoms.
So, I went to my first acupuncture session last week and it felt wonderful! I have six weeks of acupuncture (one session per week) and I have been prescribed some Chinese herbal tea and Chinese herbs and will be reassessed at the six-week mark. I am so excited to feel better and have more mood stability!
4.) Diet and Nutrition
Another given on managing depression is diet and nutrition. You can google “what are the best foods to take for depression?” and will get a long list of foods that help the mood. But did you know that drinking coffee can help your mood? I just discovered a coffee that will give me energy, helps me lose weight (burns fat), and improves my mood. It is fantastic!
And we all know that we need to drink lots of water for emotional well being. I was recommended drinking a gallon of water a day so I ordered a gallon water bottle. It’s so cool. This water bottle will be very helpful because I won’t have to write down how many cups of water I drink. When the water bottle is finished, I will know that I drank enough water for the day.
What works for you?
So, here are some ideas on how to take care of your physical health to improve your mood and alleviate depression. What do you do to manage your depression? Any of these ways as noted above or something else.