Stress | Depression Link
STRESS → DEPRESSION LINK What is Stress? Is it good for you – huh? Stress: (Pressure, tension, strain, tightness in body)
The connection between stress and depression is involuted and circular.
Stress keeps you alert, motivated and primed to respond. Anyone who is facing or has faced a work deadline, competed in a sport, or living in today’s fast paced, economical, political, societal, media madness, reality TV world, knows stress mobilizes the body to respond. Now, how the body responds is key. Often times, it can improve actions, outcomes and performance(s) as appropriate. Yet too much stress, or chronic stress may lead to unhelpful decisions, actions and outcomes and promote unwanted major depression in susceptible people.
Similar to social media, good advice or junk email spam, a little stress is good but too much can be an issue. The ability to shut down and find time to recharge is paramount.
Stress — whether chronic, such as taking care of an aging parent, losing a job or death of a loved one — can lead to major depression in susceptible people. All types of stress lead to over-activity of the body’s stress-response mechanism.
Sustained or chronic stress leads to a compromised immune system, which leads to lack of sleep, which in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite control regulation, energy, and sex drive, and allow for expression of “normal” moods and emotions.
DEPRESSION – What is depression?
Depression: (misery, sadness, unhappiness, melancholy)
Signs of depression –
- Fatigue or loss of energy, almost every day
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
- Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
- Insomnia hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
- Diminished interest/pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
- Restlessness or feeling slowed down
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
- Significant weight loss or weight gain
The Lifestyle Factor
Today, depression is the second leading cause of medical disability, according to the World Health Organization. 70% of primary care visits are related to psychological issues and more than 25% of individuals will develop at least one mental behavior disorder.
People who are stressed often neglect healthy lifestyle practices. They may smoke, drink more than normal, sleep more than normal, over eat, under eat, loose weight or have excess weight issues, neglect or don’t do any regular exercise, have empty or lacking relationships, choose wrong relationships, don’t complete tasks, make excuses and a litany of other life areas are neglected.
No one in life escapes event-related stress, such as prolonged illness, death, job loss, divorce, financial loss, natural disasters (earthquake, floods, pandemic outbreaks).
Losing a job, breakup of a long relationship or divorce can not only be a blow to self-esteem, but can result in the loss of social outlets that can buffer against depression. Loss of any type is a major risk factor for depression. Grieving is considered a normal, healthy response to loss, but if it goes on for too long it can trigger depression. Depression itself, is considered a chronic stressor.
Many changes in the brain during an episode of depression resemble the effects of severe, prolonged, stress. Positive events, such as a new higher paying career position, getting engaged/married or starting your own business, can be stressful and could lead to some depression.
Approximately 10% of the population suffers from some form of depression without the trigger of a seemingly stressful event. Managing the responsibility of a family, career, full calendars and the over commitments many have today can present a trigger.
The Depression – Nutrition Link
Common mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression have been connected to nutritional deficiencies. Depression is commonly thought of as a chemical imbalance or unstable emotions. Both may play a role, however, nutrition plays a significant role in the onset, duration, and intensity of stress and depression.
Common symptoms of depression where nutrition plays a role, involves skipping meals, craving sweets, over or under eating, poor appetite behavior and healthy weight issues. In essence, prior to the onset of a depression bout itself, having unhealthy lifestyle wellness habits leads to this very depression. Part of a solution is better choices and forming good habits. The good news is that everyday we have the opportunity to make good choices and form healthy new habits.
Studies were conducted in Asia and America to show the link between nutritional deficiency and mental disorders. Some common mental disorders include, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, depression, OCD – obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, ADD/ADHD–attention deficit disorder/attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. All of these disorders where linked to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and omegas.
Once in the grip of depression, it’s usually not the best time to make lifestyle changes. But you can guard against re-occurrence/s or help protect against a first or episode/s of depression by adopting HEALTHY lifestyle changes that modify the body’s stress response. Know thyself.
Building a resilience is particularly important; such as avoiding unemployment (maintain a couple streams of income if possible, seasonal. consulting, part-time opportunity), negative relationships, unhealthy diet/bad food choices and lack of exercise. Instead, be mindful to increase the positive life choices, such as movement – work out, eat a healthy diet, perhaps grow a pop-up garden in your kitchen window or carve a place in your back yard, start a hobby, learn a new language, volunteer. The positive choices should feel good and grow you.
HEALTHY HEALING BEGINNINGS
How do I control stress?
1. Practice mental hygiene, (cleanse the mind – means to slow the mind down, renewed thoughts).
2. How do I slow the mind down?
a) Do a count down, 10, 9, 8 …. this slows down the heart, which slows down breathing, which slows down thoughts, which slows down and immediately aids cell regulation, homeostasis.
b) Cry (a good release and it is OK for everyone to shed tears).
c) Walk. exercise (hike, bike, do a puzzle)
Our emotions don’t respect our boundaries. Therefore mediation is very important. It is also important to practice deep listening. Today most have a hard time listening..
3. How do I deeply listen?
a) Be present.
c) Compliment the messenger, (find some way to respond to and compliment their message instead of looking for negative or worse, not listening and wandering thoughts).
d) Make a point to ask one question or comment after the messenger is done sharing.
e) Don’t interrupt the messenger.
f) Have complete acceptance of and for the current situation. Whatever it is.
4. How do I learn to deeply listen?
a) Alone time – Find your place.
b) Be still.
c) Silence your mind: meditate, pray or chant.
5. What are some practices I can do to combat stress and depression?
a) Offer to help to someone else (work, family, stranger/neighbor).
b) Send a friendly feel good email/text or note in the mail – just because.
c) Assist or volunteer for elderly, homeless shelter, woman’s shelter or similar services. Volunteering to help others, is a great way to take the focus off of YOU and your current situation. Helping others feels good.
You have a choice in how you will feel and what choices you will make. Think about what you are feeling – if it does not feel good in that moment – change your thoughts, change your actions, this will change your feelings.
Stimulate yourself. Stop the “action you are in at the given moment, that does not feel good, and DO something else; go work out, make a meal and invite a good friend to join and even help. Repeat this behavior, often.
Mindfulness for Wellness
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Mindfulness for Nutritional Health
Mindful Nutrition for Healthy Mind and Body
When our cells are healthy – the body is healthy. Cellular nutrition is important for a healthy body.
Mindful eating is nutritional eating. First consideration should be food source, then nutritional value, hunger factor, eating when time, when genuinely hungry and always listening to and respecting your body.
Unwise eating choices include some of the following, eating past full, comfort eating, stress eating and random snacking subconsciously. Slowing down is one of the best ways we can get our mind, body connection in gear and eat based on what we really need for nutrition that actually can and does taste good. When our cells are fed; our body is fed. Our cells regulate our immune system and determine our health. Therefore what we eat is important.
The body sends its satiation signal to the brain about 20 minutes after becoming full, which accounts for overeating. If we focus on the present and eat slowly, the brain is given a chance to hear the “eat” or “I’m full” signals . Simple ways to slow down include plan your prep time, sit down to eat, chewing each bite 20+ times at least, breath through bites, taking in your setting, surrounding, view or conversation.
Slow down eating and deeply tune in to the body’s signals. In mindfulness practices, we discover more wisdom by tuning into our bodies first. Rather than eating when we get emotional signals, such as stress, sadness, frustration, loneliness, boredom, fear, insecurity, it is best to tune in and listen to our bodies. Listen for hunger signals and be mindful of signs of low energy, stomach growling, light headedness, and even irritation – which is a sign of low blood sugar. Too often, we eat when our mind or a situation tells us to, rather than our bodies. True mindful eating is deep focused listening to our body’s signals that it is actually hungry.
Eating at consistent times and places will boost the mind and body’s health and aid mood and sleep schedule and digestion. It is also best to sit and eat, put food on a plate, eat a complete meal (sandwich/salad, meat protein/veggie or a complete smoothie drink), not eating out of a pot in the fridge or standing over the stove taking bites as you study, complete the report or work on home repairs; and being mindful of what we are putting in our body should always be weighed – no pun.
Be flexible with yourself and with your meals, allow for special occasions and holidays, understanding that between Halloween to New Years we are more likely to forget our meal mindfulness practices – and it is okay.
However, when you become fully present in mind and body health, your choices will be increased and your lifestyle will automatically become a lifestyle of living in a more mindfulness of health and wellness, rather than a diet of forced discipline.
Nutrition and Health
It is paramount to identify the feelings (emotions, mood, situational), that lead to your food choices, and make positive adjustments as necessary.
The growing amount of processed and chemical-laden foods are not supplying the necessary nutrients for a robust IMMUNE SYSTEM which is now and has always been vital to health. The phenomenal link between mental health and nutrition isn’t a new concept. While there is a plethora of new medical research and interventions, there is fundamental great advantage to consuming a balanced diet of non processed, whole foods consisting of leafy greens, minerals, proteins, antioxidants, aminos and appropriate exercise for everyday healthy lifestyle.
MINERAL Nutrition and Water – Why?
Most of us believe we are feeding and hydrating our bodies by drinking water and possibly a normal routine of supplementation … we are not!
Water alone does not hydrate the body. We must get cellular in order to nourish and hydrate our cells for balanced well being. Minerals are responsible for every biological process of the body. HUmic Mineral is an antiviral plant food mineral nutrient in supplement form that feeds our cells. Delivering a plethora of nutrients to cell and body; over 80 organic major macro and trace minerals, amino acids, electrolytes and prebiotic/probiotics that nourish the digestive tract. Considered the “Smart Mineral”, these minerals guard immune system and up-take only what the body can use, delivering nourishment and hydration, restoring balance to the entire body.
Another benefit of HUmic minerals are the natural and nutrient dense power packed polyphenols (anti-oxidants), and life-giving electrolytes, that hydrate, replenish and restore. Promoting a healthy immune system, enzyme levels, thyroid function, energy, stamina, hormonal balance, oxidation, collagen production, nutrient absorption, sleep pattern, mental focus, joint and muscles performance. Total body wellness.
Amino Acids are converted to neurotransmitters, which help alleviate symptoms. Neurotransmitters are chemicals released from one nerve cell to another nerve cell, muscle, tissue or organ. It is essentially the messenger of information from one cell to another. There are six main neurotransmitters, and they each play a role in muscle contractions, heart rate, digestion, memory, learning and mood regulation, regulation of sleeping, eating, and moderation of mood, movement pleasure, and pain.
The lack of proper amino acids in the body negatively impacts these functions, thereby causing disorders. For example, a low level of serotonin, one of the six neurotransmitters, that has been linked to suicide. Neurotransmitters are converted from amino acids and it is important to supply the body with it externally since the body cannot produce it on its own.
Signs of low serotonin levels –
- Chronic pain increase
- Insomnia or irregular sleep schedule
- Sugar/sweet cravings
Serotonin can be found in butternut squash, seeds, soy, spirulina, seaweed, cucumbers, potatoes, walnuts, and leafy greens.
If we feed the body mindful nutrition and focus our thoughts and actions in a measured way, this is a way to everyday lifestyle wellness.Natural and supplemental choices can aid health and wellness. Studies have shown that daily supplements of vital nutrients often effectively reduce patients’ symptoms.