After listening to this Podcast which I got linked from Open Water Chicago it gave me some pretty good insight into why depression is so prevelant in our society yet was a rare phenomenon back in the stone age or even hundreds of years ago………
1- Face to Face Time
These days we don’t spend enough time with the people we love and care about. Sure many of us spend time at work with colleagues and people we meet, this is fine but we need contact with people who we hold close to our hearts. we must find the people we love to be around and spend time with them. I know myself that when I have not spent time with my close freinds and family that I can start to feel down.
Organise more family trips, go see your parents or give a long lost freind a call all these things will provide an instant mood lift and give you and those around you a sense of wellbeing.
Face to Face time also avoids negative rumination which is hugely important. Too many of spend/waste time dwelling on what we don’t want in life and fearing bad things happening. I think this is something we all do and can only be avoided by taking action. Whenever you catch yourself spinning something over in your head get it out of your system; Put it on paper, speak to someone or listen to some music (positive distractions are great). Its also good to spend time with people who are in a simular situation in life to yourself, people who hold the same interests, have gone through the same struggles and can relate to what is going on in your life.
2- Physical Activity
Our ancestors spent hours each day in the outdoors getting their hands dirty and breaking a sweat.
“I try to break a sweat everyday” Matthew McConaughey
Could the cure for depression lie in those words. Its hard for problems to set in if you are breaking a sweat daily that’s why I believe Sometimes you just gotta hit the road….Its all well and good doing a few short and intense weights or body weight sessions a week. To really feel good you need to get some endorphins flowing, it doesn’t mean you need to go jogging. You could do some martial arts, play squash or tennis anything that gets you sweating and in the moment for at least 30 minutes….
The podcast even states some of the best activity to feel good is team based sports as we have evolved to hunt and play in groups rather than on our own…..After listening I have really started thinking of starting some kind of team based sports which I haven’t done consistently for years now. Unfortunately this is the case for many of us once grown up, no longer are our days filled with sports and games as they were in childhood and growing up.
And the lack of it. Currently people are getting on average 5-6 hours of sleep a night this is simply not enough. We need more like 7-9 in a dark and quiet room without it key neurotransmitters in the brain will not function properly and you simply won’t feel good. Don’t forget most of us think too much anyway making our brains are exhausted meaning the only time they have to rest is at night when your in bed, this is where practicing mindfulness really helps.
Signs of good sleep are waking up easily, peaceful dreams and not waking too frequently throughout the night. Getting enough sunlight and not messing with your bodies natural clock is also very important so make use of your dimmer switches in the evening and make sure you start turning off the lights when you want to start relaxing for bed……..
4- Omega 3′s
The poor balance of fats in todays fast food world is shocking. All of us need more Omega 3′s in our diet they are the building blocks of our brains and allow it to produce the feel good chemicals. We should be shooting for 1000mg of EPA per day. If your taking capsules thats around 8-10 per day or if your into the liquid fish oil 1Tbsp is enough. Remember to try and spread it throughout the day as like anything else it won’t be utilized best if all taken in one go……….
How long until you notice a difference? Well that can’t be told for certain but fish oils are meant to have a build up effect in the body so I guess consistency is the key. One thing you will notice immiedietly is that taking fish oil greatly lowers inflamattion. So if you have any aching joints they will heal up quickly.
To Sum Up
Before you think about doing else to boost your mood make sure you have the following in order
- Socialize with loved one’s regularly but still make time for yourself.
- 30 Minutes of Excersise 3-5 times a week. Try to make one or two sessions social if you can (Squash, Soccer, Tennis etc…)
- Sleep well and take all the measures you can to improve your sleep quality.
- Eat oily fish and take Omega 3 Capsules
It really should be that simple, before looking into other factors make sure you have the above points nailed……..