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11 Natural Treatments For Depression

11 Natural Treatments For Depression

That said, clinical depression sucks, and if you’re someone who suffers from it, my heart goes out to you. I’m in no way intending to diss anti-depressants or suggest you ignore your doctor’s advice. I know anti-depressants can be life-saving for people. But unless you’re suicidal or otherwise in dire need of urgent medication, before you dose up on side-effect laden pharmaceuticals, it’s worth considering some natural treatments that might help lift your mood.

How To Treat Depression Naturally

1.  Consider why you might feel depressed. Sometimes depression is a symptom of something circumstantial in your life, rather than biochemical imbalances. Does your job require you to sell out your integrity every day? Have you been unable to admit that you need to end your marriage? Are you feeling spiritually disconnected or sexually restless? Are you suffering from creative blocks? Is your body failing you? Are you facing financial ruin? Be honest with yourself about what might be off-kilter in your life, and make an effort to get to the root of why you might be feeling depressed.

2.  Move your body. Exercise releases happy-making endorphins, which act like natural anti-depressants. Runner’s high, anyone?

3.  Never skip a meal. Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings.

4.  Eat a serotonin-enhancing diet. Many anti-depressants like Prozac act by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin by receptors in the brain, thereby increasing serotonin levels. But you can increase your brain’s serotonin levels by eating foods that boost your serotonin levels naturally.

Serotonin-enhancing foods include:

  • Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, and anchovies, which are even higher in omega-3 fatty acids than other fish)
  • Healthy fats like coconut oil
  • Eat a high protein diet, especially proteins high in tryptophan, like free range turkey

5.  Avoid caffeine, which reduces serotonin levels. If you need an energy boost, supplement with L-Tyrosine (500 – 1000 mg).

6.  Expose yourself to sunlight, which can boost mood and increase Vitamin D levels. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box.

7.  Try mood-enhancing supplements: (DISCLAIMER: Although you can get these supplements over the counter, I always recommend doing this under the care of a physician, since supplements can have side effects and risks and can interact with other medications.)

  • 5-HTP 50-300 mg up to three times/day — start at 50mg in the morning. Converts directly into serotonin. If you are taking too much, you will feel sleepy or have runny stools. Also usually helps with anxiety, although sometimes it can paradoxically cause anxiety. Must use with great caution if you’re taking an anti-depressant.
  • St. John’s Wort 300mg three times/day. If you don’t feel better within a week, slowly increase your dose to a max of 600mg three times/day. May decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills.
  • SAMe 200mg on an empty stomach twice/day. Increase your dose every two weeks to a maximum dose of 600mg twice daily. This can be a very effective antidepressant, but it can also be expensive. Side effects at higher doses include GI upset, nausea, agitation, and insomnia.
  • L-Theanine 100-600mg daily. Reduce if you feel sleepy. Found in green tea.
  • Fish oil (DHA/EPA) 1-3 g/day with food.

8. Meditate or try guided imagery. Meditation’s effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.

9. Get your hormones balanced. If your thyroid, adrenal or sex hormones are out of whack, your mood can get all wonky. See a good integrative medicine doctor and ask them to order and interpret the following tests:

  • Thyroid gland tests – TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies
  • Adrenal gland tests – cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone
  • Sex hormone tests – estradiol, progesterone, free and total testosterone

10. Make efforts to bolster your mental health by being more authentic in all aspects of your life. Too often, we walk around wearing masks, pretending to be something we’re not. We fake it at the schoolyard, in the boardroom, in the bedroom, at church — and then we wonder why we wind up depressed. Practice letting your authentic freak flag fly and watch how your mood lifts.

11. Talk it out. See a therapist, psychiatrist, or life coach and express how you feel. Sometimes just finding someone you trust who will help you work through your feelings can make all the difference in the world.

If all else fails and you need anti-depressants, don’t beat yourself up. Sometimes you can do everything right, and if your imbalance is biochemical, you may need the drugs. But don’t forget to nurture the rest of you too. Depression, like most physical and mental illnesses, is multifactorial and requires a global investigation of your whole health — not just your mind and body, but your relationships, your work, your financial picture, how you express yourself creatively, how you satisfy yourself sexually, your environment, and whether you’re letting your Inner Pilot Light (aka authentic self) shine.

Unsure whether you’re really depressed or just in need of a vitality boost? Read this!

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at LissaRankin.comand also created two online communities – HealHealthCareNow.com and OwningPink.com. She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter. 

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Would feeling fantastic every day make a difference in your life?  

Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
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  • Unsatisfied with their relationships with the men and women in their life and are ready to transform them into satisfying, happy partnerships.
  • Standing at a Career Crossroad.
  • Preparing to start a family and want a healthy baby.
  • Seeking solutions for aging, more energy, and a good night’s sleep!

Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

Contact me today and Start today to live a healthier, happier life!  Don’t live in Atlanta?  Not a problem.  We do virtual coaching worldwide!

I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
    Available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, GooglePlay, iTunes! 

Member International Association for Health Coaches 

ring ~ 770-393-1284

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Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse

Lessons Learned About Life & Leadership From a Horse

 

Back in December, my business manager Melanie Bates and I trekked down to  Martha Beck’s new ranch in San Luis Obispo to plan the first part of the Whole  Health Medicine Institute Physician Training (which  you can read all about here). We kind of knew we were going to be guinea  pigs for the kind of work Martha is jonesing to do with doctors, but I don’t  think we fully understood the magnitude of what we were about to experience.

As we got off Highway 101 and started driving out into the boonies, the fog  was low over a lake, and Melanie said, “It feels like the Mists of Avalon, like  we’re leaving the real world and entering someplace mystical.” And it did.

The hills became more silent.  Birds stopped singing. Time  suspended.  It was clear we were opening the wardrobe to enter Narnia.

And then… voila! We were driving up to the butterfly gates (of course there  were butterfly gates!) of Martha’s horse ranch. What proceeded to unfold was so  magical I am only now able to digest it enough to begin to write about it. I’m  still pretty wordless about the whole experience, but let me share with you some  vignettes that exist like movies in my mind.

The Join Up

Horse whispering equine therapist Koelle Simpson brought me into a pen with  the most beautiful horse, not a trained horse, but a stranger horse she had  borrowed for me for the day. My instruction was simply to set an intention of  what I wanted to learn from the horse – and then to observe what showed up.

I set the intention to examine my leadership strengths and weaknesses in  preparation for co-leading the Whole Health Medicine Institute Physician  Training with Martha. Then I walked into the covered ring and started walking to  see what the horse would do. And WHEE!!! The horse walked right behind me,  sniffing at me as we walked.

I got more daring. I spun in a circle. So did the horse.

Then I did a cartwheel. And the horse backed away from me, looking at me with  this look that loosely translated into “Oooh…bitch got all upside down on me.  Hmm… not trustworthy.”

Throughout, Koelle and Martha were both coaching me to examine how subtle  things I did were instantly reflected by the mirror the unjudging horse held  up.

When I got into Wordlessness, tapped into Oneness, and got clear on my  intentions for what I wanted the horse to do, the horse followed me exactly.  When I got graspy or panicky or anxious or fuzzy in my intention, the horse  backed away and looked at me like I had two heads.

Note to self about leadership: Tap in, get clear, let  go.

The Boundaries

I spent a lot of time buddying up with the horse, getting all up in her face,  hugging her, and she cuddled back. But Koelle said, “Why don’t you try making  your energy bigger,” and she handed me a rope I could throw around. I didn’t  know what to do with it, so I curled it up and just threw it at the horse. She  jumped, startled – and backed away.  I ran right up to her, cuddled her,  and apologized for being scary.

That’s when Martha called me on it. “Hmm..” she said. “You set a boundary,  asked the horse to move back a bit, and then when she respected your boundary,  you apologized. Why?”

Gulp. I did do that. But I didn’t mean to. I was just throwing  the rope around. I didn’t mean to set a boundary. I love snuggling the horse. I  didn’t want her to go away.

But there it was again, right in my face. My desire for intimacy can be so  needy that I let myself become the Cosmic  Tit, and then I fail to set boundaries, then I give until I’m depleted, and  then I get royally pissed because I become a doormat.

“But is she mad at you for setting boundaries?” Martha asked. “Did she reject  you? Did it ruin the relationship?”

No. The horse joined right up again when I started spinning in circles.

Note to self: Boundaries good. Cosmic Tit =  depletion.

The Corral

For the next exercise, Martha’s CEO Bridgette  Boudreau, Melanie, and I were invited into a fenced-in area that had one  inner ring with a small entry opening enveloped inside an outer ring that had a  small opening too. Three horses awaited us.

The goal, we were instructed, was for Bridgette, Melanie and I to work as a  team to take all the horses on one lap around the outer ring before peeling off  one horse into the inner ring – and keeping him there. Then we were to get the  other two horses to go around the outer ring again, before peeling off the  second horse into the inner ring. Then we were to have a final lap with the one  remaining horse, and after the last lap, the third horse was to join the  others.

To make things harder, we weren’t supposed to talk. We had to use some  elaborate charades to try to communicate what we wanted to do.

Our first attempt was a total cluster f*ck. The horses galloped, out of  control, cruising right past the entry to the inner ring at 100mph.

So we regrouped. We modulated our energy. Brought it down. Waaaaay down. We  got Wordless. We tapped into Oneness. We communicated nonverbally with the  horses and asked if they’d be willing to play our little game. They said yes on  some sort of cosmic plane. And with nothing but very subtle hand motions, the  first horse trotted into the center ring, then the second, then the third.

It felt like magic. We were giddy.

Note to self: Be careful what you communicate without words. Make  sure your energy is in alignment with your intentions.

The time we spent with Martha was so mystical, this is just the tip of the  iceburg, but stay tuned. I’ll write more. Make  sure you’ve subscribed to my blog if you want to make sure you don’t miss  more posts about how to bend spoons, call in the whales, bring your dreams into  form, and invite real live magic into your life.

Grateful,

Lissa

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness  communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com, author of Mind Over Medicine:  Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary. Join  her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check her out  on Twitter and Facebook.

 

The Simple Secret To Making The Right Decision Every Time!

The Simple Secret To Making The Right Decision Every Time

 

Should I stay or should I go?

Should I leave my job or even change careers?

Should I take the leap and ask her?

Should I get the treatment?

Should I sell the house and downsize?

Should I have a baby?

Should I confess how I feel?

Life is full of tough decisions you can spend years not making. You might  think the answer will never appear, but you’d be wrong. Always – 100% of the  time – the right answer lies within you, not sometime in the future, but right  now.

How Do You Access The Answer?

Somewhere at the core of you, you know – deeply know – what is true for you.  It may not be what other people wish was true for you, but that doesn’t change  the truth, your truth.  Your truth might know you’re gay,  even though you’ve been in the closet, pretending to be straight your whole  life. Your truth might reveal that you married the wrong person. Your truth  might admit to you that you’re an addict who needs help. Your truth might  confess that you’re done taking the medication and ready to just let nature take  its course.  Your truth might bring you face to face with the fact that you  spent ten years training for a job you secretly hate. Your truth might tell you  that you really don’t want kids, even though you said you did.

Your truth might scare the hell outta you, because the truth doesn’t sugar  coat things. It also doesn’t protect you from facing things you’d prefer to  avoid.

But – you can trust me on this – your truth always knows the right decision.  And it will never, ever lead you astray.

You Can Trust The Truth

You may not believe me, but I absolutely guarantee you that you can always  trust the truth. You may not have enough experience aligning your life with your  truth to know that this is true, but I promise you it is. Your truth – your real truth – will always be the light that illuminates your  path.

What if you don’t know your truth? How can you find it?

This is where your Inner  Pilot Light, that 100% radiant, always sparkly piece of divinity that lies  within you, comes in. In order to discover what’s true for you in all aspects of  your life – your professional life, your relationships, your creative life, your  spiritual life, your financial life, your sex life, where you live, your mental  and physical health – all you need to do is ask your Inner Pilot Light.

The Guiding Questions

In Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal  Yourself (Hay House, 2013), I included ten pages of questions I  use in my work with clients to help them discover what’s true for themselves.  Here are some of my faves:

  • What traumas from my past still cause me suffering?
  • Am I living where my Inner Pilot Light wants to live?
  • What limiting beliefs about my finances do I need to release?
  • What really turns me on sexually? What really turns me off?
  • What do I consider sacred?
  • Am I clear what my soul wants to create?
  • What does my body need in order to heal?
  • What is true for me about how I care for my body?
  • Do I know my calling? If not, what is it?
  • How often do I feel victimized in my relationships? Am I willing to release  the victim role in order to heal?
  • How vulnerable am I willing to be with the people in my life?
  • Am I willing to speak the unspeakable to those I love?
  • What are the repetitive relationship patterns that continue to appear in my  life?
  • What truth am I unwilling to face in my life right now?
  • Am I living an authentic life aligned with all that I desire?
  • What within me am I holding back? What longs to be set free?

How To Find Your Truth

If you’re trying to make an important decision in your life, let me encourage  you to let the truth of your Inner Pilot Light guide you. If you’re having  trouble tapping into that truth, here are a few tips.

  1. Sitting meditation. It’s hard to hear the whispers of your  truth if you’re racing through life without ever spending time alone in silence.  We tend to run from our truth, drowning it out with busyness, numbing it with  drugs, alcohol, sex or love addiction, or too much food. But the truth doesn’t  change, and as long as we’re running from it, we’ll never find inner peace. If  you’ve never meditated, start by just closing your eyes and focusing on your  breath for just five minutes per day. Try to work up to at least 20 minutes. As  your mind wanders (it will), just notice without judgment and come back to your  breath. If it helps, pick a simple mantra- like “Peace, peace, peace” and keep  repeating it to keep your mind still.
  2. Moving meditation. Try going for a walk by yourself, sans  iPod, and focus on just being present with what is. Notice the trees, the  flowers, the puddles, whatever.  Let your mind be still.
  3. Pray for guidance. If you’re not sure what’s true for you,  and the decision isn’t yet clear, pray for clear signs from the Universe that  will direct your path. (For  tips on interpreting the signs from the Universe, read this).
  4. Pay attention to dream states. Keep a journal by your bed,  and if you remember them, write down your dreams. Sometimes your Inner Pilot  Light speaks to you this way.
  5. Sign up for the Daily Flame. One of the best parts of my  job is writing daily love letters of truth from your Inner Pilot Light, aimed at  helping you hear the voice of your truth and your soul. If you’re not already  getting these messages, sign up  here and follow  your Inner Pilot Light for more love on Facebook here.

What Helps You Make Decisions?

Do you long for guidance tapping into your Inner Pilot Light so you can make  better decisions for yourself? Would you love to be part of a community with  other people who are shining their bright, sparkly lights in the world? If so,  take this 5 question survey and you’ll automatically be added to a private  mailing list of those who will get first dibs – as well as a special discount – on an Inner Pilot Light group coaching program I’ll be launching soon.

(Take the survey  here.)

Tapping into the wisdom of my Inner Pilot Light,

Lissa

By Lissa Rankin, MD

Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD: Creator of the health and wellness communities LissaRankin.com and OwningPink.com,author  of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof You Can Heal Yourself (Hay House, 2013), TEDx  speaker, and Health Care Evolutionary.   Join her newsletter list for free guidance on healing yourself, and check  her out on Twitter  and Facebook.

 

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

How To Live Like You’re On Vacation – Everyday

Ah, this month is a doozy isn’t it? Don’t get me wrong – I love my job, but there’s something about these first weeks in January that kills. It’s like yesterday was all a-flutter with holiday lights and celebratory cheer and today is just… well shit, we’re just smack dab in the heart of winter. Getting “back to the grind” post holi-daze can feel particularly daunting when you’ve had some time away – which, I am grateful to say, I did. On an island. In Belize. Yep, I’m That Girl. The one who returns to the office in January abnormally (annoyingly) tan and chipper? Hi there. I think there’s still sand in my shoes.

But I’ve come to realize – as my boyfriend “helpfully” takes down the Christmas tree and I weep into my latté – that we don’t have to relinquish those delicious feelings of vacation just yet. In fact (drumroll), I’m quite dedicated to the idea of manifesting the get-away vibes as a integral part of my daily lifestyle (cymbal crash! Ooh! Aah!)! Not convinced? Read on.

Island Livin’

I spent a delicious week in December on a tiny island off of Belize City. My cousin was there studying abroad, my uncle had some frequent flier miles, and the gods were smiling upon me: presto change-o, Lauren’s on a tropical island for seven days. (Deep, deep bows of gratitude.) Each morning we woke up and slapped on bathing suits and SPF before breakfast. Each afternoon we played dominoes at the bar or caught naps in the hammock. Each evening we ate fresh sea fare and coconut rice by the light of the moon. Heaaaaaaven. The week was magical and relaxing in ways I hadn’t anticipated, but perhaps most surprising about the experience was the distinct voice shouting loud in my soul upon leaving: MUST. LIVE. HERE.

Ok, nothing special, right? Who doesn’t leave an island vacation tempted to skip that return flight and start a tugboat fishing business? But this voice was louder than any I’d heard in a long time, and it wasn’t telling me to move to Belize. (Ok, maybe a little.) It was saying – deep, resonant: Must live here, in this space – breathing more, doing less.

See, I believe that an integral part of being all me all the time is recognizing both what brings me joy and what brings out the joy in me. I like vacation, but I also like myself on vacation. I’m friendlier, I’m more peaceful, I’m more present. I dig the small stuff. I laugh louder and longer. I pay more attention to what I eat and whom I’m with and how I feel. And while sitting ocean-side with an umbrella in my ahem, juice, may make these feelings seem more accessible, they are absolutely possible to manifest at home as well. And frankly – “possible”? Necessary.

So, in the spirit of the New Year (and in clinging desperately to my quickly-fading tan), let’s get our get-away on.

9 Tips On how To Live Like You’re On An Everyday Vacation

  1. Unplug. I know, I know, you’ve heard this one before. But DO IT. I didn’t wear a watch for seven straight days and it was heavenly. I know that we have kids to pick up from school and meetings to make, but take at least one afternoon a week to throw your cell in a drawer and close that computer. Tell your spouse or a friend to wrangle you at a certain time, if you must – but really, lose track of time. (It’s kind of overrated anyway.)
  2. Rock that Stop-Doing list. Lissa Rankin recently wrote a great post about changing your to-do lists into not-do lists – as in, what would you like to free yourself from this week/month/year? Those choices were made for me on the island – what with limited Wi-Fi and housekeeping service – but there was something to be said about having very little I felt that I “needed” to accomplish each day. So, do some recon into your daily to-dos and see what you can delegate, diminish, or drop altogether. Create space.
  3. Reduce the stuff. You know one reason why hotels can feel so heavenly? Clutter-free, babes. This is another one you’ve heard before, but going to sleep with the laundry, laptop, and paper piles creeping over your nightstand makes for restless slumber. At the very least, give your boudoir the hotel once-over and ditch everything that doesn’t say relaxation. Moreover, think about all the stuff you use and “need” in a week’s time – if it wouldn’t make your suitcase, get rid of it. Pack (live) light.
  4. Talk to strangers. Whether it was asking for dining recommendations, a cheerful where-are-you-from over breakfast, or bonding with fellow snorkelers in our deathtrap tugboat, I met the loveliest of people by striking up dialogues with complete strangers. I know we’re all on-the-go in our daily lives and tend to walk the streets like we’re on missions from god (though yes, obtaining take-out Chinese can often feel like a divine calling), but try talking to someone new every day. You don’t have to be ocean-side to say hello there and ask for a good lunch spot.
  5. Eat locally. So maybe you won’t get to watch a sun-kissed fellow called Captain Jerry Jerome catch your dinner and throw it on the grill (true story), but chances are there are some regional delicacies in your ‘hood that you have not yet tried. Hit up your local farmer’s market, restaurant, and street fair to embrace the natural food of your area. Allow the idea of being present to carry into your recipes, cooking seasonally and trying new things. Be a locavore.
  6. Eat longer-ly. At home, I eat dinner in 15 minutes while also checking email, catching a sitcom, or going through my to-do list. On vacation, my favorite “restaurant” was a shack on the beach called Fran’s Fast Food – my quickest meal there took 2.5 hours. This is all to say, SLOW DOWN. Savoring each bite keeps you conscious of what (and how much) you’re eating and provides powerful opportunities for connecting with friends and family. Even if you’re dining solo, select one meal a week and take your sweet time with it. (Last night, a tofu stir-fry and I spent 60 sweet minutes together. Worth it.)
  7. Celebrate the small stuff. Toast to an easy commute, a beautiful sunset, waking up on time, and not getting a parking ticket. Celebrate a great hair day, an inspiring conversation with a friend, finishing a book (or a chapter, or a page!), and a surviving houseplant. Every moment of vacation seems to yell, Yes! Hello! Congratulations! – now it’s time to take a bit of that celebratory spirit into the “real world.”
  8. Connect with nature. Not all vacations will take us to remote locales – one of my favorite vacation spots, after all, is New York Cit-ay – but I will say that my most relaxing get-aways have been deeply connected to nature. Do what you can to bring a lil’ of nature’s positive perspective into your world – as my mom used to say about Hawaii, it’s hard to sweat the small stuff when you’re sitting between a volcano and the ocean. Even in winter, make time for the great outdoors.
  9. Take the scenic route. It’s easy to get stuck in ruts of taking the same streets home and the same shortcuts to the grocery store. In our efforts to streamline our tasks, we often forget how fun it is to get lost. (See Jennifer Shelton’s great post on getting lost here!) Vacation isn’t always about the destination – it’s about jumbled water taxi directions, wrong trains, and accidental hikes. Treat your city as if you’re seeing it for the first time and you know, take a left instead of a right. Explore.

Access the joy within

There are all sorts of other ways to bring the vacation-spirit into your daily living – listening to a white-noise machine with ocean sounds, putting a picture of your dream destination next to your computer, treating yourself like a tourist at home with a “staycation” – but none of those practices feel sustainable to me. I’m not trying to trick myself into an everyday vacation – I’m trying to live there, authentically. Breathe more, do less. Access the joy within to be my most celebrated, relaxed, curious self – with or without a tan.

By Lauren Nagel

Lauren Nagel is the editor in chief of OwningPink.com and a contributing writer for San Francisco music magazine The Owl Mag. Email her at lauren@owningpink.com

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