TREATING DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY NATURALLY

...is also an individual journey.
But there are some tried and tested methods out there.

December 2016
Those natural approaches bellow have worked for me (or haven't, therefore are not recommended). I have had my battles since 15 years old (!) according to my personal diaries. So my advise is LEGITIMATE as I've been feeling quite stable for the past 3-4 years. The more I cut out the 'not recommended' approaches, the better it gets. The last half year has been the best for my wellbeing, because in spite of my heart bleeding, my past self-damaging ways were under control - nearly non-existent.


I've been journalling since the age of 9. 
In July I celebrated 20 years of jotting down my feelings, and 3 years of being any medication/quick-fix pills free.

In my experience, treating depression and anxiety disorders comes down to working on five areas.


Mindset - what are the beliefs that still keep you stuck? Are you ready to start questioning them?


Opening the heart - We all had our hearts broken, perhaps by parents the very first time, are you ready to forgive and love everything and everyone as if you were indestructible ?

Nutrition - what you put into your mouth matters. It affects your mood. Full-stop. Dot. Unquestionable. 

Movement - your body is a beautiful and dynamic machine craving fresh air and lots of movement. If you sit around, you don't sleep well. If you eat and do not burn ingested calories, you know what happens. If that happens, you don't feel too good about yourself either.

Sleep - I am the last person to give lectures about sleeping smarter to treat your blues, but I have tricks that compensate for sleeping too little.

MINDSET and HEART-OPENING
goes hand in hand.
How to achieve a positive mindset when you are feeling low?
There is no recipe for instant success - Only consistent effort.
Training yourself to shift your focus off of the black dot to the blank space around it takes practice, but it is most possible - and it is worth it!

1. Self-love, self-acceptance, self-forgiveness

2. Reconciliation with parents and forgiveness of childhood trauma

3. Prayer-meditation


Prayer-meditation is the most doable when you are feeling low. I can imagine that at times like those you don't feel like sitting quietly for even few minutes let alone hours, just focusing on your breath (we'll get to that with practice); Therefore, if you need an urgent help from your higher consciousness or from above, praying while sitting, standing, walking, cooking, anywhere anytime, and repeating mantras that speak like your best-self - will help you reset yourself from depressed to hopeful. Saying to the outside world out loud what you'd like is what will help you eventually get it.

I am available for help with any of the three approaches above.
They used to be the hardest for me, too.


NUTRITION
A fun part :)
Whole foods 'diet ' is the simplest and most effective way to feel better fast.
(simple, recognizable ingredients on packaging. Would you cook with asdfgghjkitrwwxxcvbnm or GMO stuff at home?)
The list of foods which I know feel great to body-mind-spirit is NO BULLSHIT.
This works. And I can't stress it enough. If you don't believe it, it doesn't matter. Just try it if you want to get better!


Brace yourself...
If you want to get really well, and feel great about yourself, 
you must cut out all the bad foods (I'll list them bellow), all hard alcohol, all legal and illegal drugs, and more than one weak cup of coffee per day.  Try Matcha instead*.
All major stimulants must go, except really good quality fair-trade chocolate with no sugar
Wine is tricky (details later), and not recommended for the early days of detoxing your body and your MIND (I have tested it, your liver can maybe handle it, but your mind struggles), beer I am not sure since I don't drink it (however, I see the beer-bellies and I get a feeling that too much is not great for sure), tobacco is just a joke, and illegal dugs I hope you have the common sense to not use if you want to get optimistic and sustain it naturally.

- No hydrogenated oils - Especially the commonly used oils for frying like cannola, peanut or soy. Deep-frying turns food into plastic. Fried is not healthy, even if it's a cucumber or avocado (!).
- No white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, cane sugar, everything sugar - even if organic - that is a trap! Coconut sugar only when you are already off this sugar addiction (hey, I am not sure myself if I can already freely afford coconut sugar!)
Stick to real fruits, rice malt syrup, honey or little of maple syrup. They are non-addictive and mainly glucose based. Which is the only compound of sugar we need (Sarah Wilson, I quit sugar).
STEVIA is golden.
- No table salt. Use celtic salt, himalayan or sea salt.

Regarding Chocolate, the divine food:
It has antioxidants, releases endorphins, hormones responsible for feel-good moods, and works on the serotonin levels in the brain. (good short description of some of cacao's properties: http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/neuro/neuro04/web1/kcoveleskie.html)
Eat either the beans, raw powder or 100% cocoa content chocolate bar. You'd be surprised how great it tastes once your taste buds adjust to having little or no sweeteners regularly. And please make sure it is FAIR-TRADE. I just created a presentation about child slavery in Africa, and you'd be shocked to learn what is happening behind the scenes of producing commercial chocolate bars :(
Whether you're a veggie or a meat either - chocolate is for anyone to feel good (however, some people may still be allergic to cacao)
Cacao is like daily bread and butter for me. 
I am not skinny but my weight seems to be consistent regardless of how much unsweetened chocolate I ingest.

Of course I don't run exclusively on chocolate! :)

For additional vitality I drink mix of spirulina, chlorella and grasses.
I love raw nuts
chia and flax seeds for the fibre content. It fills you up without feeling heavy. I love veggies (kale, carrots, lebanese cucumbers and warm zucchini spaghetti are my favorites)
Most root vegetables should be heated for an easier digestion and less stress on the thyroid.

Where do I take my feel-good protein from?
Well, well, well...we might differ here, and that IS OK.
I had some share of vegan and vegetarian days, and I really do get the idea behind it, however I am not an advocate of radical diets other than a diet clean from: 
artificial ingredients and negative thoughts.

I, too, care about the environment and I love animals. However, I believe there are many other ways to be a conscious human being (and eater) on this planet. I am sensitive enough to notice what food does to me and what it does to the Earth. I never had pets, so that as the sole reason for veganism can work for people who understand that pet-companion love- which I have never experienced. 
Unfortunately, I can't sustain vegan diet even while on supplements. I feel like my body asks for extra calcium (and creaminess) just before my period, and some eggs when I am extremely physically active. Just make sure you eat lots of cultured veggies with those - as Donna Gates, the creator of Body Ecology mindset recommends. Works for me.

December 2016 - I eat fresh fish, free-range chicken and grass-fed beef few times per week. Hopefully, the label means what it says. 
April 2017 - I am having a break from meat again. Instead I eat many cultured foods (as they naturally contain enzymes and B12) or I make my own. I improved my digestion and I feel great.

I believe it is part of our human experience to inquire about where our foods come from. So question, then eat the kind of protein that is natural, minimally heated (except meat), ideally organic, and makes you FEEL HEALTHY AND GOOD.

e.g: How was the animal killed? 


Not every practice of killing is ethical or non-harmful to the nature symbiosis. 
(there are some horrific videos about that, which I am sure some of your vegan friends share daily on facebook)

I think meat was a good option for our survival - people who were not canibals had to resort to eating their dead companions to survive on deserted islands or when lost in the wilderness. 
If you know and trust your farmer, there's some hope for the survival of the ecosystem.

When I feel like carbs, I have gluten-free grains like buckwheat or quinoa. I am not too sure what the deal with gluten is for me. I am not particularly sensitive to home-made breads. But gluten-free is a sure way to not feel bloated, plus those mentioned super-grains have so much fibre and protein so they are a complete food!

I love black beans (and black bean spaghetti is my frequent affair!)

For simple sugars I go for dried figs and prunes, bananas, rock-melon, or blueberries. I try to avoid overdosing on fruit as it honestly gives me a headache and spaciness!

Apparently, fructose causes dementia (Sarah Wilson - I quit sugar)

When I bake, I use rice malt syrup or stevia. No agave - raises your blood sugar like there's no tomorrow.

More on nutrition in 'SLEEP'

MOVEMENT
Gym did not do the trick for me as much as dancing, hot yoga, hot  pilates and outdoor jogging or walking did. If you have the possibility to swap the weights lifting in the gym for exercising outdoors, swimming, cycling  doing some group sports - you'd speed up the healing process. And it will be fun! Many of my posts on this blog cover my 5rhythms dance and hot yoga practices. You can see what breakthroughs and feel-good emotions they give me each time I committedly show up.

SLEEP/NUTRITION
I have always been such a funny sleeper that this is the last thing where you could expect me to tell you how and how much to sleep in order to sleep out your depression and anxieties!

Some people can't sleep enough when they're depressed, but I have really not slept amazingly even while depressed.

Here are some tried and tested truths by me:

Wine - not particularly recommended. 

It is the resveratol compound of red grapes that helps reduce brain inflamation by stress, not the ethanol!
(Catchy title appealing to drinkers, but the content says nothing about drinking: https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2015/06/red-wine-could-help-fight-depression/)
It is so hard to get the right amount you need that night, regarding your particular level of mental and physical exhaustion, muscle recovery, emotional tension, and hours available for a good night shut-eye that I just can't recommend it for a guaranteed success! Sometimes it quite works, sometimes it makes it a way, way worse.
It is NOT RELIABLE.


All stimulants play tricks on the nerves. You might start calling your ex, and regret it the morning after.

Music and youtube sleep videos with nature sounds, or nature elements - water, fire: yes, very good. You'll need about 15-20 minutes at least to hypnotize yourself with it.

Dairy - during some sleepless nights I craved cheese or tried warm milk with honey - yep, worked quite fine and I had some vivid dreams. But the acne the next day was also very vivid! Dairy contains growth hormones and it is also sebum producing and I happen to be so sensitive to it that I always, always get zits. Cow's milk gives me stomach ache and even though goat and sheep is fine (and so tasty), I still get zits :(

April, 2017 - not when the dairy has been cultured. If it is in the form of cultured quark, keffir or buttermilk, I am just fine! Hurray!

Reading - have you tried, and ended up reading almost the whole book? Yup. Happened few times. Staring into textbooks of boring subjects worked much better for me.

Browsing the internet - a huge no no. Glare of the screen, the electromagnetic waves - how could that ever work?

Magnesium - drink or pills - yes. Great for relaxing the nerves and your tired muscles.

L-Tryptofan - amazing in pills or powder form. Otherwise, you'd have to eat tons of dairy, turkey and soy to get its benefit in a fast and efficient bedtime way.


Water with Magnesium + L-tryptopfan 1 hour before going to bed  reduces the time for me it takes to switch of the mind and fall asleep. My favorite combo.
Valerian - made me quite aggressive when I couldn't get hypnotized by it and
 I got to beat it.

Melatonin - made me rather slow the next day.

Feel free to try any herbs out there that are natural and clean.

Great activities few hours before bed:
Sauna - quite works
Yoga - great gentle stretch
Walking barefoot - reflexology for the body, relieving the mind
Eat lightly - there's no good sleep on full stomach, neither on an uncomfortably empty stomach. Eat light and give your digestion some rest.

Don't work till it is time to switch off the lamp.

And if nothing works, be kind to yourself the next day.
Don't beat yourself up, eat well and try cat-naps if you can. You don't have to fall asleep, just close your eyes, rest, and dream
You don't need to avoid exercise, but don't overwork yourself.

I spent so many sleepless nights, I wonder if that was even legal!

Everywhere I read EIGHT hours is ideal, but hey, I would have to be an artificial being for most of the time I don't get 8 hours, yet I still function well, and I actually still look fine! :)

Nutrition, meditation, and kindness play a big part in thriving on shorter amounts of sleep than 8 hours (4 hours, anyone?)

5 hours is my minimum to feel ok, on 4 I feel really, really tired (but green tea or Yerba mate and moments of stillness and gratitude fix that), 6 is an average, and on 7,5-8 I feel like after a spa session.
I get why they recommend 8. Can every day be a spa day, please?

*My all time favorite energy drink is Matcha (a type of Japanese green tea grown in the shade). It is stronger than regular green tea, and way more reliable that coffee. No jitters and you don't feel a 'second-rush' when already tucked in between the sheets.
Yerba Mate - south American caffeine-free tea is also helpful for staying alert. Be careful, it can still keep you up if you drink it too late in the day.
Chai Tea - fav beverage during the day. I wouldn't risk it after 4pm to ensure a good night sleep.


Have fun living healthily for your overall well-being! 
Your Body&Mind&Spirit will thank you for it.
People who care about you will be glad for you too.




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