Statistically, more people become depressed during the winter months but, it can certainly happen at any time of the year.
Studies show that antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil and Lexapro are the third most widely prescribed group of drugs in the United States. 
By the year 2030, The World Health Organization expects that Depression will be the biggest health issue in the world.
What the heck is going on here?
According to the dictionary, the definition of depression is a “sunken place, a reduction in activity, vitality, and functionality.”
Depression can literally make you feel like you are sinking down into a hole.
Understanding this condition is one of the best ways to start digging yourself out.
Emotional and physical trauma can lead to depression. But, depression can also be caused by:
- Stress and tension
- Adrenal Fatigue
- Nutritional deficiencies (deficiency of any single nutrient can alter brain function leading to depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders)
- Food allergies
- Lack of exercise
- Prescription medications
- Lack of sunlight
According to BBC News, eating a diet high in processed food and less whole foods increased the risk of depression by a whopping 58 percent!
Processed sugars and refined carbohydrates promote a rapid rise in insulin, creating mood swings and contributing to nutritional deficiencies.
And, modern psychiatrists are getting hip and are now using good quality food to help their patients STOP suffering from depression (and anxiety).
In a recent article in the New York Times, psychiatrist, Dr. Drew Ramsey, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, stated that poor diet is a major contributing factor to the widespread epidemic of depression.
When someone is feeling depressed it’s imperative to get the heck off sugar, soda, cookies, cakes, Hostess Ho Ho’s, and other highly refined carbohydrates!
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that eases tension, promotes self-confidence and motivation.
This doesn’t mean we should run out to the nearest fast food joint and scarf down a double-cheeseburger, large fries, and a milkshake to cure our woes.
There are many scrumptious ways to get good carbs and healthy cholesterol that supports the nervous system and brain.
The Creamy Turkey Chowder below is a good example.
Plus, you have access to tons of delicious, healthy and balanced recipes on this website that you can prepare to help you feel better.
Beyond food, we need to exercise, exercise, exercise!
Move your beautiful body to release endorphins that lift the spirits. A simple daily walk outside in the sunshine and fresh air (30-35 minutes) can be more beneficial than taking prescription medications like Zoloft.
It’s time to ditch the meds and put on your Keds!
It is also widely accepted for us to medicate, get high or drunk, overeat, space out on sugar, binge-watch television, and/or engage in other mind-numbing activities that STOP us from feeling our feelings.
I believe if we do NOT allow ourselves to fully feel our emotions, we run the risk of staying stuck and depressed for longer periods of time.
If we are numb to our life experiences we may wind up repeating the same behaviors or patterns over and over again.
It takes courage to feel our “crap” and then make the necessary diet and lifestyle improvements to help us gain the strength needed to get beyond the dark times in our life.
Depression can become manageable if we allow a full range of emotions to move through us and not become us.
Many of my clients eventually ditch their depression meds when they begin eating better, exercising, feeling their emotions, and staying present to what is happening in their life.
To help shed some light, it’s important to find things to be grateful for right now in this present moment.
Right now I am alive. Holy Brussels Sprouts, Batman! That, in itself, is amazing!
My lungs expand and contract with the air I breathe (even if the air is polluted). My eyes, may not have 20/20 vision but I can still see the vibrant colors of green kale, bright orange squashes, and carrots, shiny white onions, plus deep purple cabbages.
My taste buds savor the salty, sweet, bitter, sour and pungent flavors of many foods.
My flat Fred Flintstone feet walk me anywhere I want to go. My short little fingers are functioning and able to type this information.
Get the picture?
Get present and be grateful.
If we focus on what we had in the past, or what we coulda’ shoulda’, woulda’ done, that can make us feel pretty darn depressed.
If we focus on what could happen in the future and all of the things that haven’t happened yet, that can give us anxiety.
It’s only in the “present” that we can receive life’s precious gifts.
There are many ways to get present. I highly recommend any of these books or tapes on meditation:
- Tich Nhat Hahn (Peace is Every Step)
- Pema Chodran (When Things Fall Apart)
- Jack Kornfield (A Path With Heart).
Have faith in your beautiful body and mind.
And, if you’re feeling down and need a quick pick me up, here’s an inspirational video about gratitude that’s sure to lift your spirits and make you smile.
Andrea Beaman is an internationally renowned Holistic Health Coach, Natural Foods Chef, Speaker and Herbalist. Named one of the top 100 Most Influential Health and Fitness Experts, she is also a recipient of the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Award for Excellence in Health-Supportive Education and a Health Leadership award from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Since 1999, Andrea has been teaching people how to harness the body’s own preventative and healing powers using food, herbal remedies and alternative medicine.
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