Life can be a roller coaster with many emotional ups and downs.
From time to time, we all experience mental stress, sadness and anxiety, which can lead to prolonged periods of depression unless you catch it and lean on some helpful 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. In fact, both are very much intertwined.
Firstly, as crazy as it might sound, depression is actually a gift not a disease.
It's a sign that it's time to identify the destructive patterns that are keeping you down, so that you can shift your focus to more constructive stimulus that will lift you up and add value to your life, not destroy it.
Dealing with the problem of depression constructively by getting to the cause, is a much smarter way to go rather than succumbing to invasive medications if you can avoid it, as they only tend to amplify the problem over the longer term.
Read on for our tips for preventing and healing depression without invasive medicine.
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.
Where focus goes energy flows.
So it's so important to catch yourself if you're spiralling downwards so that you can shift your "state" and environment to a "happier" place, before depression really takes hold of you.
It's important to realise that for every event that triggers emotional sadness or trauma in your life, there are always lessons to be learned and time heals all wounds.
The good news is, with some simple "framing" tools, you can also condition your mind to shift your focus to the positives, rather than amplifying the negative thoughts that are causing you to feel depressed.
Some simple ways that you can disrupt negative mental and emotional patterns include:
- Get out into nature and walk
- Catch up with a positive friend for a coffee
- Listen to happy music
- Tune into an uplifting podcast
- Do an activity or hobby that brings you joy
- Go for a workout
- Learn to play an instrument
- Go for a swim in the ocean
- Book yourself a massage
- Fix your favourite healthy food
- Practice 10-15 minutes of meditation
- Focus on being grateful for the good things you have.
The point is, it's important to DO something that disrupts or shifts your negative emotional state that causes you to stay depressed.
When you disrupt the negative pattern and shift your focus to something more positive, you quickly realise that you are in more control than you think of your mind and emotions.
The goods news too, is that anything that "causes" you to feel depressed can be "uncaused", particularly when you have simple tools in your self care tool kit that you can lean on when needed.
One another important mindset tip here...
Try to get off social media if it is a source of emotional stress for you.
Remember that social media is full of perfect pretty pictures that can subconsciously make you feel imperfect, unworthy or not enough if you're comparing your life to those false images.
Scratch the surface and you will always find that everyone goes through the same types of emotional trauma and insecurities throughout life - it's just that some are better at dealing with and compartmentalising these challenges. They take the learning and move on and don't allow these events to rule their life in a negative way.
Always remember that life is not perfect. There are always people better off and worse off than you. But ultimately, no matter your situation, you are meant to be happy, fulfilled and you should do all you can to protect your peace at all costs.
Foods To Avoid
There's no question that today's fast-paced lifestyle has outpaced our ability to make the smartest dietary and lifestyle choices.
Make no mistake. Your dietary and lifestyle habits contribute greatly, not only to your physical health, but your emotional wellbeing as well.
Your relationship with food, what you put on your body and how you move your body, all play a big role in either preserving or compromising your mental health.
Food-less foods and life-less drinks spike insulin, eventually leading to insulin resistance which is linked to depression. The reason for this, is that insulin resistance is known to induce mitochondrial and dopaminergic dysfunction, which is a major cause of anxiety and depressive-like behaviours.
Avoid the following foods to avoid depression:
- Refined Sugars
- Refined Wheat & Corn
- Artificial Sweeteners
- Hydrogenated Vegetable Oils
- Processed Meats e.g. Salami, Ham, Sausages and Bacon
- Alcohol (particularly Spirits and Commercial Beer and Wine)
- Reliance on synthetic anti-depressants
- Painkiller drugs
Foods To Eat
Diet plays a vital role when it comes to your mental and emotional wellbeing. Aim to have at least 80% of your diet consist of whole foods like these:
- Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (emphasising Orange and Yellow varieties)
- Good Fats like Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Flaxseed Oil, Grass-Fed Butter and Coconut Oil
- Raw Nuts e.g. Almonds, Macadamias, Brazil Nuts and Walnuts
- Organic Raw Peanut Butter
- Raw Organic Honey
- Organic Maple Syrup
- Medjool Dates and Dried Fruit e.g. Mango and Pineapple
- Legumes e.g. beans, lentils
- Organic Whole grains e.g. Wild Rice, Wholegrain Bread, Barley and Quinoa
- Organic, Free-Range Animal Products (in moderation only if not vegetarian)
- Nature-Made Sea Salt
Learn more in Top 7 Reasons to Embrace a Plant-Based Diet & How to Do It.
Important Lifestyle Habits For Alleviating Depression
1. Move Your Body - Movement is energy in motion. In other words, when you move your body, you create a positive emotional (e-motion) response in your entire physiology. This is why, if you're down in the dumps or suffering from depression, one of the best things you can do is to move your body at a moderate level on a consistent basis. This helps to stimulate feel-good chemicals in the brain like, dopamine, which put you in a positive state.
At the very least, you should get outside into nature and walk for 30-45 minutes per day to help maintain mental and emotional harmony and balance. 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 biochemical state and activate the nervous system, boosting your self-esteem and causing you to feel alive and vital;
2. Get Sunshine - The bio-photons of light entering the brain stimulate emotional molecules of happiness and joy. It's no surprise that some of the highest rates of depression and suicide occur in northern countries where there is little sunshine throughout most of the year.
A great remedy for depression is to spend 10 minutes "sun-gazing", very early in the morning as the sun is rising. This is a gentle meditative activity that helps to clear your mind of clutter and interference, whilst allowing you to feel a sense of connection with nature which can be very therapeutic and healing.
Another powerful ritual to help heal and alleviate depression is to expose at least 80% of your face and body to natural morning sunlight for 30-45 minutes. This allows your skin and liver to absorb valuable Vitamin D which is vital for immune protection, as well as the mental benefits as well.
Lightly apply cold-pressed coconut oil to your skin if you're going to be in the sun for a fairly short time. For prolonged exposure, use a natural sunscreen like our Sun Loves Me.
One final point abut the sun. Some ancient cultures symbolised the sun as FIRE, which meant: Fire-Ignited-Releases-Energy. Sunlight generates electric energy for our body and brain, which is so important for avoiding and healing conditions like depression.
3. Drink Water - Drink chilled water with the juice of a whole fresh lemon and a good pinch of sea salt when you rise. Then, sip water throughout the day, ensuring that you drink a minimum of 2 litres;
4. Enjoy A Cacao Smoothie - Raw organic chocolate and raw cacao are very beneficial nutrients for balancing mental and emotional imbalances.
Add the following to a Vitamix or Blender and enjoy as a mid-morning, mood-boosting smoothie:
- 350 ml Coconut Water
- Handful of Fresh Banana Chunks (Peel and Freeze Beforehand)
- 1 Tbls Raw Cacao Powder
- 2 x Pitted Medjool Dates
Optional Extra - Add a half cup of Organic Cold Brew Coffee for a "Banoffee Smoothie"
5. Use Essential Oils - Pure essential oils are plant extracts that have powerful qualities for balancing mental and emotional stress.
Other wonderful essential oils known for their effects in easing depression and a troubled mind include:
- Calming and Relaxing - Frankincense, Sandalwood and Ylang Ylang
- Energising - Lemon, Grapefruit and Bergamot
- Uplifting - Lemon, Petitgrain, Orange and Rose
- Sleep - Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Cedarwood
- Fatigue - Rosemary, Thyme and Lemongrass
All of these essential oils are available here in our store
Place 1 drop in the palm of your hand, rub hands together, and inhale softly for up to 30 seconds or longer. Also, these oils can be diffused or place a few drops on your pillow at night and/or 1-2 drops on the soles of your feet when you go to bed.
6. Empower Yourself - The atmosphere you create in your environment and around your mind is so important when managing depression.
Make sure you remove yourself from toxic environments or at least limit your exposure to them if they trigger negative emotional responses within you. Remember, part of the skill of managing depression, lies in your ability to recognise triggers that cause you to spiral.
Positive self talk is also really important and you should learn to become your own biggest fan by leaning into the positive things and being the best you that you know you're capable of being.
A little morning incantation like these, can help you get into the right frame of mind and be a positive trigger for you before you go about your day:
- I can. I will. Just watch me.
- I am well. I am loved. I am enough.
Use these, or create one for yourself that inspires you.
The Main Takeaway
Your mental and emotional wellbeing matters and it is something that you need to constantly manage throughout your lifetime, if you're going to minimise the effects of trauma and get through life's day-to-day challenges.
At all costs, you should do things that protect your peace and that help you to show up as the best version of yourself as much as possible. This means, you need to have a say in what you feed your mind and body, and the environment you surround yourself with.
By being conscious of the triggers that cause you to spiral mentally and emotionally, you can become more acutely aware of "changing your state" so that you can take back control. We hope that this blog has given you some helpful tools to allow you to do just that.
Tolman Self Care.