According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18.8 million of American adults suffer from depressive illness. Health care costs for this disease are measurably rising, yet the cost of human suffering cannot be calculated. Depression affects the sufferer and their loved ones greatly. It can devastate the depressed and the family in socio-economic areas as well as interpersonal and intrapersonal relationship areas. In other words, it can affect your marriage, family, friends, and finances.
The signs and symptoms of the disease are:
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Use of alcohol or drugs to numb themselves
- Hopelessness, guilt, helplessness, lack of self-worth
- Decreased sex drive
- Negative thoughts
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Lack of desire to be with friends/family
Please get help from a clinical psychologist or alternative health practitioner if you or someone close to you has the above symptoms.
Conventional treatment uses drug therapy and most often psychotherapy. Whatever the treatment, depression can take months or years to overcome, but it CAN be done. The key to treatment is to reach and influence the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is responsible for the “Relax and Digest” state in the body in contrast to the well-known “Fight or Flight” response of the sympathetic nervous system. Modalities such as: meditation, hypnosis, and yoga are able to access and positively affect the PNS, calming the body and allowing it to regenerate itself after stress.
Through their practice, many yoga practitioners have found multiple positive strategies to overcoming mental illness.
- Yoga helps to reduce heart rate and blood pressure, balances the endocrine system, and steadies the cortisol levels in the adrenal glands.
- Parents of teenagers who practice yoga have found effects in balancing of mood.
- Children with ADD/ADHD have experienced a more disciplined mind and focus.
Yogis believe a healthy spine will produce a healthy body. Yoga gets the spine, the housing unit for the nerves, moving and thus positively affects both the muscular structure of the spinal area and the function of the organs through the nerves. Stretching with the breath gets much-needed oxygen into the blood. The blood transports life giving oxygen to the organs, tissues, glands and the cells helping with regeneration. More importantly, the oxygen gets into the brain tissues, where the illness of depression begins.
Some tips on decreasing stress:
- Identify the source of depression, anger, sadness and get help
- Stretch everyday as you get out of bed, slowly building up to 5-15 minutes
- Eat a well rounded diet including A, B and C vitamins, flax seed oil. Use fresh organic fruits, vegetables, and meats
- Enroll in a yoga class with a Certified Yoga Instructor
- Make necessary lifestyle changes including change in career, method of travel, decrease alcohol intake...etc.
- Go to bed and wake up at regular times getting 7-9 hours of sleep per night
- Practice meditation working up from 1 minute to 5 minute per year of age. Meditate on you being healthy and determine what that means to you.
- Visualize yourself continuously getting better everyday
- Use the healing mantra: “I am healthy, I am strong."
- Focus on one good trait or quality you have everyday.
- Make one goal per day to do one attainable thing, for example cook one meal, write a card or call a friend etc.
- Practice thinking positive thoughts beginning with 5 minutes per day and working up to all day
Yoga and meditation help you access the strength and power of your inner being so that you are supported in the times of need you may experience through the ups and downs of life. The light inside of me honors and salutes the lights inside of all of you, Namaste.