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Monday, August 13, 2018

Change of Lifestyle

Depression, irrespective of the type, can wear you out: sapping both your mental and physical energy, leaving you with the painful feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Once you accept that you have an illness that needs lifestyle changes, the next step is to rethink your current lifestyle. This is hard and it may take some time, but recognizing the need for lifestyle changes is the first step. Remember, if you are not aware of the need, you will continue to become what you have been for the rest of your life.

The next step is deciding to make the lifestyle changes. Make the decision now.

Lifestyle management holds the key to managing your depression. Understandably, you are adamant to changes. It is not you but your brain that does not want to make lifestyle changes. Your brain simply cannot regulate the chemicals needed to keep you stable through these changes. Admit that a depressive brain does not like changes of any kind. However, make the lifestyle changes anyway.

Forget the time it may take you to change, focus on what you can do, and just do it every day, step by baby step. Your future will show you the way. 

If you feel too sick to make significant lifestyle changes, then make just one.

Stabilizing Brain Chemicals

If you recognize and believe that your depression is due to imbalance of your brain chemicals, then you should stabilize those brain chemicals.  

Many people can drink coffee and alcohol, and smoke, but not an individual with depression, in particular, with moods disorder. Any stimulant, such as caffeine, will de-stabilize your brain chemicals. 

Caffeine is a seductive chemical, which gives you energy. The problem is that you need to keep having the caffeine in order to keep you energized. Caffeine de-stabilizes your moods by affecting your sleep patterns. Caffeine is especially bad for bipolar disorder mood swings.

If you think alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, think again! Alcohol reduces your time spent in deep sleep, thereby instrumental in affecting your moods adversely by making your more depressed. Never use alcohol to self-medicate.

The sooner you accept that your brain is different and make the lifestyle changes you need to stabilize your brain chemicals, the better you can stabilize your moods. 

Structuring Your Lifestyle

A well-structured lifestyle makes a significant difference in managing depression of any type. Consistency and regularity hold the key to regulating your brain chemicals. 

How you start your morning can make a big difference in your moods. Start the day with a plan for wellness for lifestyle changes:

The morning routine

To stimulate your endorphins and serotonin, do a twenty-minute exercise immediately after you wake up. Go for a walk if the weather permits. If not, do some exercise indoors, such as stretching or yoga. Exercise your body right after you wake up, before you do anything else. Putting it off to some time later in the day may mean not doing it at all. Go to my website Body Fitness Resources and Mind Fitness Resources 
to get all your resources to reduce stress and promote mental health.

Yoga may help you not only relax and exercise your body, but also calm your mind and spirit. The techniques are simple and easy to follow.

Use the Chinese Qi Gong exercise
 to awake yourself to a healthy body and mind.

Take your daily vitamins, such as omega 3 fish oil, multi-B vitamins, and daily multi vitamins and minerals to boost your immune system.

Understandably, it may be difficult to get out of bed, if you are depressed. This is normal. However, when you are not depressed, always start you day off right. Soon, you will start to see substantial results. Make your morning session your daily routine. 

The daily sunlight

Make time to get yourself exposed to bright sunlight each day. 

Your body is designed for exposure to sunlight through your eyes and your skin. Your pineal gland, which governs your endocrine system, responds directly to light and darkness.

Remember, the sun is a great natural healer: its eternal sunshine not only gives you solar energy to kill germs, but also provides you with vitamin D.

Like exercise, bright sunlight has a significant impact on your neurotransmission. On entering the eye, sunlight activates your retinal-hypothalamic nerve, thereby stimulating your moods, sleep cycles, appetite, and sex drive. Bask in morning or evening sunlight for ten to twenty minutes will do wonders to your brain. Let sunshine massage your skin and relax your body and mind. 

Dealing with Sleep Problems

Sleep is a potent regulator of your brain chemistry. Sleep is essential to good mental health. Unfortunately, the difficulty to sleep is one the main problems of mental depression, especially in bipolar depression. 

Sleeping too much or too little is a characteristic symptom of depression. Monitoring your sleep patterns may help controlling your sleep problems. Taking prescription or over-the-counter sleep medications do not alleviate your sleep problems. Only lifestyle changes can change your sleep patterns.

Any one or all of the following may have triggered your sleep problems:

Your depression: anxiety; hypersomnia (sleeping too much) leading to extreme daytime fatigue, and insomnia.  

Your medications: decongestants; weight loss medications; over-the-counter sleeping aids.

Yourself: irregular sleep-and-wake-up time; taking long afternoon naps; caffeine and other stimulants, such as alcohol.

Recognize triggers of your sleep problems, and make the necessary lifestyle changes.

What makes you sleep

You are put to sleep by two processes: sleep homeostat, which tells you to go to bed after a certain amount of time awake, and to wake up after a certain amount of time asleep; and biological clock, which is a daily cycle unique to each individual.

However, your biological clock can overcome your homeostat—unless your “sleep debt” is much too huge. Therefore, if you force yourself to stay awake, you may actually be able to stay awake but at the expense of making you more prone to sleep problems down the road, a characteristic of depression.

A completely dark environment is essential to a full deep sleep. Your body is not completely shut down until there is complete darkness, which is conducive to a healthy deep sleep.

How to obtain a deep sleep

Make simple lifestyle changes to obtain a deep sleep to benefit your major depression.

Always keep a regular bed and wake time, even on holidays and weekends. Do not upset your biological clock.

Maintain a relaxing daily routine prior to sleep, such as a hot bath, a massage, or some relaxing music.

Create a sleep-conducive environment, such as a quiet and complete dark room.

Do not eat or even snack at least three hours before bedtime: a full stomach often makes deep sleep more difficult.

Get some natural sunlight in the afternoon each day to promote deep sleep.

Regular exercise may enhance deep sleep. However, do not exercise right before bedtime.

Natural sleep, without the use of medication, is not an option.

Stephen Lau
Copyright© by Stephen Lau 


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