Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Sadness can be valuable, but when repeated, again, still…stuck…it’s depressing. Literally. Trying UnSad. — BadWitch
Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — I don’t know what to do with my life. I look fine and am functioning (healthy and pay my bills and have a few close friends), but I think I’m kind of getting depressed. I don’t have anything to be depressed about! WTF? — Which Way?
Dear Which Way,
Depression can be caused by many things—from nutritional imbalances to lack of goals, i.e. something to strive for. I cannot say, of course, what is causing this downturn in your outlook, but I can offer some suggestions that are known serotonin producers.
Remind yourself each day of the many blessings present in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and list 10 blessings you experience each day. I suggest writing out your list each night before you go to sleep and then re-reading them each morning. In this way you train your brain to look for the positive in your life before you go to sleep and you start your day by again reminding yourself of the blessings you have received. In this way you are training your brain towards positivity. Seeing the glass half full becomes a habit, and thereby more automatic.
Adding certain foods to your diet can boost your mood. Foods high in tryptophan, like turkey or cashews creates GABA (a calming hormone) and serotonin (a happy-making hormone) in the brain. In other words, you can eat yourself to a better outlook. Pineapple, milk (the more whey proteins the better), Omega 3s ) found in salmon and other fish), and B vitamins (spinach, kale) will all help. Naturally.
The field of orthomolecular medicine offers much more information about nutrition to affect mood. By discovering what nutritional imbalances may exist (most Americans have butritioal imbalances) you can adjust your diet to better balance proper nutrition and, thereby, assist in balancing emotions. We all know not eating can lead to very bad moods. Now imagine some chronic depletion, like magnesium, over the course of a few months or years. Bad mood ensues. Ask your physician for a blood work up to determine if there are any chemical imbalances which can be turned around with a change in diet.
Otherwise the best offense against depression is a good defense. Delve into alternative and complementary therapies like Reiki, massage or meditation, to open yourself to a broader interpretation of life and what is possible. StillSitting.NET offers an introduction to meditation, more information on mood boosting foods and breathwork exercises that can bring you back to ground zero so you can lift your spirits from there.
Don’t settle for “this is as good as it’s going to get.” And don’t think there’s a magic happy pill that will take the blues away. The truth is depression is very real. It is your spirit telling you that it is unsatisfied. Begin to give yourself the tools to come back. Part is changing habits and part is faking it, till you make it. But as one who has bounced back from depression by doing the transformative work necessary—like changing diet, habits and looking at what my soul was unsatisfied with and then affecting the change—I know happier days are possible. In fact, highly possible if you take control of your life
Dear Which Way,
To say being “sad” is all in your head is not necessarily that far from the truth. It’s natural and helpful to feel sad when events call for that emotional response, but if we don’t recognize, feel, address and do something to change the situation, chronic sadness can become depression, and that partially (psyche and the spirit, too) takes residence in the brain.
Here are some practical Sadness Fighting body-mind-spirit Tips:
~ Bright light (they don’t call it seasonal affective disorder — SAD — for nothing!), any one especially halogen lights will help lift your mood and help create happy hormones in your brain especially during the winter season
~ Move! Exercise and moving your body of any sustained kind helps lift your mood. Moving helps circulation, muscle stimulation/growth and…again with releasing the happy hormones
~ A banana a day keeps the shrink away. The potassium in bananas positively affects (and effects) serotonin production in the brain
~ Be down with joy! The BadWitch take on “Fake it ‘Till You Make it.” Honey. Seriously. There’s wisdom in the old show tune that says when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you. You can (and do) have reflected back to you a world and energy that you put out — why not want, desire happiness and wellbeing which support you positively in turn when reflected back to you by others
~ Laugh! That we freak ourselves out over and over about the same things is indeed keeping the gods in stitches. Take a more humorous big view of things
~ Be responsible for your joy. A solid philosophy of financial planning is a good one for life in general, and getting out of your doldrums. 1) Control what we can control, and; 2) eliminate surprises as much as possible. I know these are trying times for everyone. Everybody feels worn down. “Problems” (that produce sadness) aren’t solved by fretting about fretting (again recognize, feel, embrace it but don’t give yourself permission to become stuck there). The only things we can control, should be! They include: our general attitude, sense and follow-through of responsibility (to ourselves and others in our lives appropriately), and most importantly and the thing all other things hinge on: the quality of our thoughts.
These are tough days, no denying that. Feel your feelings fully, try these Tips. Next thing you know, you’ll be feeling less non-specifically sad and more energized by the day to fund the energy to do something more specific about its source.
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