Life should be a party, without depression or anxiety
Wouldn't you like to live life the way Celia Cruz used to sing about, as if it were a carnival! Or does that sound too ambitious? Sometimes, life can be a little less friendly, fun, and hopeful than we expect. We all want to experience wonderful adventures and pleasant surprises that get our adrenaline pumping in a good way, unlike the current state of disasters and scary news. But hey, it's all a part of life. The key is to tune into the right soundtrack and turn life into a fair full of colors, rhythm and nuances that keep us in good spirits and ready for adversity. Impossible? Not quite. With good decisions, we can strengthen ourselves to know what to do when anxiety and depression come knocking on our door.
Be informed but not obsessed
We must be well informed to make better decisions. However, that doesn’t mean spending all day glued to the news, especially chaotic news that has been shown to affect mental health (1). This type of news tends to increase anxiety and stress and induce the what-if syndrome. Remember, not everything bad that happens will happen to you or to your loved ones. Even in a worst-case scenario, there is a range of possibilities to overcome it. Don't panic prematurely.
Don't rule out professional help and tools
We can, and should, count on qualified emotional support when we are overwhelmed by circumstances. Talking to a professional may not solve your life, but it will feel like a lifeline to pull you out of the water when you’re having trouble staying afloat. Therapy allows us to take time to stabilize ourselves and to look at the situation that afflicts us from a different perspective to move forward. There are organizations such as the SAMHSA National Helpline (with the U.S. Department of Health) or the National Alliance for Mental Health, among others, that provide support and tools in English and Spanish. (2, 3)
Don't isolate yourself
The pandemic has caused a lot of distance between us, but a lot of mental health is dependent on the bond we have with other people for emotional support and to help each other overcome moments of weakness and other issues (4). We may still be far apart physically, but we can make good use of technology to connect and share with each other as if we were face to face.
Do the whole 9 yards
Preventing the mind from playing tricks on us, and being able to overcome the challenges we face, depends largely on a comprehensive process we must do every day. This includes the physical level, because exercise stimulates the hormones involved in our emotional balance, as well as using techniques like meditation, breathwork, yoga and mindfulness. (5)
It is no exaggeration: the healthier and fresher our food is, the more our emotional stability is supported. It has also been proven that certain foods can help more than others, such as strawberries, fatty fish, green tea, spinach, nuts, and bitter chocolate. By incorporating these foods into your diet, you can bring a little more joy to your day as they can help reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) while releasing serotonin and dopamine (which improve mood). (6)
Lean into nature
Consult with your doctor or specialist about adding products like ashwagandha. This plant can provide a boost at times when stress throws off the body's normal processes by overproducing more cortisol than necessary. (7)
There are also studies demonstrating how turmeric can help fight depression, stress, and anxiety because of anti-inflammatory properties that support the brain and other mechanisms related to the active compounds involved in emotional balance. (8)
Ginseng, on the other hand, has been proven to alleviate and prevent anxiety and depression caused by stress because it participates in the adjustment of what is known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, controlling overactive hormones, and helping prevent psychological as well as physiological diseases. (9)
Singing and dancing through life may sound utopian, but we can add the above tips and a little music to create the best attitude and maintain our own daily carnival.
Let's be healthier together!
Your Santo Remedio Team
1. Attila Szabo , Katey L Hopkinson. Negative psychological effects of watching the news in the television: relaxation or another intervention may be needed to buffer them! Int J Behav Med
2007;14(2):57-62. doi: 10.1007/BF03004169. PMID: 17926432 DOI: 10.1007/BF03004169
2. SAMHSA Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department oh Health & Human Services, Línea Nacional de Ayuda de SAMHSA
3. NAMI, National Alliance on Mental Illness
4. Tayebeh Fasihi Harandi, Maryam Mohammad Taghinasab, Tayebeh Dehghan Nayeri. The correlation of social support with mental health: A meta-analysis. Electron Physician. 2017 Sep; 9(9): 5212–5222. Published online 2017 Sep 25. doi: 10.19082/5212. PMCID: PMC5633215. PMID: 29038699
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5633215/5. Josefien J. F. Breedvelt, Yagmur Amanvermez, Mathias Harrer, Eirini Karyotaki, Simon Gilbody, Claudi L. H. Bockting, Pim Cuijpers, David D. EbertThe Effects of Meditation, Yoga, and Mindfulness on Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Tertiary Education Students: A Meta-Analysis. Front Psychiatry. 2019; 10: 193. Published online 2019 Apr 24. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00193. PMCID: PMC6491852. PMID: 31068842
6.Matteo Briguglio, Bernardo Dell’Osso, Giancarlo Panzica, Antonio Malgaroli, Giuseppe Banfi, Carlotta Zanaboni Dina, Roberta Galentino, Mauro Porta. Dietary Neurotransmitters: A Narrative Review on Current Knowledge. Nutrients. 2018 May; 10(5): 591. Nutrients. 2018 May; 10(5): 591. Published online 2018 May 13. doi: 10.3390/nu10050591,
PMCID: PMC5986471. PMID: 29748506
7.Adrian L Lopresti, Stephen J Smith , Hakeemudin Malvi, Rahul Kodgule. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Randomized Controlled Trial Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep;98(37):e17186. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017186. PMID: 31517876 PMCID: PMC6750292 DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017186
8. Tahiana Ramaholimihaso,Fayçal Bouazzaoui, Arthur Kaladjian. Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence—A Narrative Review. Front Psychiatry. 2020; 11: 572533. Published online 2020 Nov 27. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2020.572533
PMCID: PMC7728608. PMID: 33329109
9. Seungyeop Lee and Dong-Kwon Rhee. Effects of ginseng on stress-related depression, anxiety, and the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis. J Ginseng Res. 2017 Oct; 41(4): 589–594. Published online 2017 Jan 24. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2017.01.010. PMCID: PMC5628357. PMID: 29021708
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