Suggestions to Support Anxiety & Depression
Mental health is not something to be ashamed of or to hide away from. Our mental health is something we should all be taking more care of. Anxiety and depression are two of the biggest killers in our society.
Anxiety is the almost constant presence of fear, leading to issues at work, in social situations and often isolation. Children who are highly intelligent are more likely to develop anxiety disorders, as they struggle to process all the thoughts and worries they have. This can carry through into adulthood. Low self esteem and a lack of confidence will often underpin anxiety, as they lead the sufferer to doubt their own abilities.
HOW TO HELP: It is always important to make sure that people seek professional help and look for a therapist to help support them when required. The following points are additional suggestions, which can be helpful:
• PRAISE YOURSELF: How often do people tell themselves that they have done well or that they are awesome? Not often – it just does not sit well with most people to do this. And yet, we are always incredibly quick to berate ourselves when something goes wrong. If we only ever tell ourselves when we have got it wrong, of course we will doubt our abilities – so remember to praise yourself when you get it right!
• LEARN CALMING BREATH TECHNIQUES: Every day spend some time practicing a calming breath technique – breathing in for a count of 4 and out for a count of 8. This technique sends calming messages to the brain and will help in any situation where panic threatens.
• LOOK OUT FOR PASSIFLORA, LEMON BALM AND AVENA SATIVA: These are all calming and relaxing herbs, which have been used for centuries to support those with anxiety issues. They can be taken individually or will often be found together in one product.
• PROMISING PROBIOTICS: Our good bacteria can have an impact on our mental health. For example, L. rhamnosus has been found to be very effective at reducing anxiety levels, so taking this good bacteria in a supplement, with some B vitamins which support the nervous system, could be very helpful.
Depression is a constant feeling of low mood. It can lead to difficulty getting out of bed and carrying out even basic tasks can seem impossible. It is important to seek professional advice if suffering with depression, but the following can also be helpful:
• LOOK FOR A HAPPY PLACE: When in a dark place it is so easy to focus on what makes us unhappy and what is going wrong. To try and break that cycle, it can be helpful to ask ourselves: what went well, what would be better and what would make me smile? This can seem difficult at first, as we are not used to thinking in this way, but it can really help to break the cycle of negative thoughts.
• MEET YOUR TRIBE: It is important not to isolate ourselves socially – we need people around us, so make arrangements to meet up with those people that make you feel good.
• TRY 5-HTP: This is only applicable for those not taking any anti-depressant medication. 5-HTP is an amino acid which helps the brain make more serotonin – our ‘happy chemical’.
• PROMISING PROBIOTICS: Gut flora are responsible for making much of our serotonin. Trials have shown that taking a supplement which includes L. acidophilus, L. casei and B. bifidum can significantly reduce depression scores.
Written by Jenny Logan DN Med. (Jenny is a nutritional therapist who has worked with clients in health foods stores and private clinics for over 20 years).