When I first saw the coverage of the article appear on Jezebel saying that exercise doesn’t help depression, I didn’t believe it. I read the press …
When I saw the article on my Tumblr feed stating that “Exercise does not lift depression“ I did a double take.
I have seen a lot of ridiculous articles telling the masses to stay calm and carry on with their unhealthy habits. I had to find a rebuttal to this article and found this one I linked above. I also wanted to talk about my own personal experiences with depression and exercise.
Exercise has helped me greatly. The people selected for this study had recently been diagnosed with depression. Some were on antidepressants and others were not.
Honestly when I first had my crash there was no way exercise could have helped me. I was doing so badly I wasn’t able to leave my bed for months at a time. I was insanely paranoid about people entering my space and had to leave even my bedroom doors shut. When I went outside I couldn’t even feel the sun on my skin.
My first experiences with antidepressants was not very pleasant. When I first started taking them I was over prescribed. The medication left me drooling occasionally. My arms were clenched up to my sides. My body was rock solid with tension and I was shaking contently. A new doctor and new medication at the right dose left me in better shape but it took a lot of experimentation with different types of medication in order to find one that didn’t have adverse side affects.
Even after finding a medication that seemed to be doing its job I was almost in a sedated state where I could not feel really happy or sad. I still had a underlying rage underneath it all that I could not get out. It was like the medication had sealed me in a plastic case and nothing could get out or in. After a suicide attempt I gave up on medication. ( I am not suggesting this to anyone this is just my personal story.) I felt like I wasn’t even myself any longer. I had no self preservation taking risks I would not normally take. I would say things I would not normally say. I felt crazy all the time.
The steps I took after dropping my medications were to find my spiritual connection, change my eating habits and start exercising. I dove into P90X. It was really really really hard to get up and do the workouts and I honestly had fits the first month where I just would cry and not do them that day. I finally had to make a video of myself after a work out telling myself how much better it made me feel and to just stick with it. I have completed the program twice. Though I have taken some time off from lifting weights and P90X in recent months I still hike almost every weekend and take walks around the block almost daily.
My mood is drastically better when I finish a workout. I feel the best after an outdoor excursion because the fresh air and light really help sweep away any dark nasty mood I have. Finishing P90X gave me such self confidence. I lost over 50 pounds and felt better then I did at 17. Yoga not only helps my mood but helps me get in touch with my spirituality. It helps me get out those angry sad feelings I often get trapped inside of me because of years of hiding my true feelings.
Looking good and being able to state my accomplishments helps my depression so much. I feel angry when I see articles like this because they just make people who feel lost feel even more hopeless. I am not a scientist, I do not have a team of scientists working for me but I promise that if a person just fights every day to accomplish their fitness and health goals they will feel better. Setting goals builds self esteem and helps a person rise up out of the darkness. Exercise does increase the “feel good” chemicals in the body and can really help. It helps you stay healthy and gets rid of aches and pains that can bring you down.
I felt it was really important for me to respond to this article so people did not read it and throw in the towel. Keep fighting the good fight and keep exercising!
This isn’t a post I want to write, but it’s a post I need to write because I know it can help someone. I’ll try to keep the details about me to a minimum, but I’m about to get all personal.
First, you need to know that I’m extremely introverted and I smile a lot. If I have a problem I like to…
This is a fantastic read. I have also done the mood cure and swear by it. I went through an extremely difficult winter and spring that included the death of a parent. I was able to cope with the difficult emotions.
I am only taking fish oil now and eating very healthy. I avoid the top five “bad mood foods.” White Flour/ Sugar, grains soy and alcohol. Only an occasional non primal food and I make sure those treats are made with real ingredients.
If you are having a hard time with depression this article and the book The Mood Cure might really help you out. It never hurts to take a look at what you are eating and ask if it is good for you and giving you everything you need.
Stress and grief have wrecked my autoimmune system. My allergies have been through the roof even causing blotches on my face.
I decided to take Mark Sisson’s advice and eat some fish as well as oranges. For lunch I got a salad with beets and added some nice salmon to it. I also use local honey when sweetening up things. I am hoping it does the trick.
The other strategy I have been using is to get plenty of outdoor time walking with bare feet to just reset things. Fresh air and earthing seem to really help.
In times of crisis I find having a good food plan really helps sustain my bodies energy while it copes. I hope these links help you through allergy season as well.
I found this article very informative. I know some of my readers are coping with these things and thought it might help them as well.
I would just like to raise awareness on this issue and post this in hopes it helps someone. I was floored by its accuracy.
It started out as a simple idea several years ago. It started with the idea I could dig my self out of the hole life had thrown me in and find happiness.
It started with P90X and then moved to Primal eating and now I am working on my financial fitness. I stopped looking at the uncomfortable inconveniences. I stopped looking at life like I am suffering so I should be able to indulge.
I realized that I was being trapped by debt, weight, anxiety, and negative people. It has taken many years to get through this and one accomplishment gave me the self confidence to tackle the next issue.
What I am most looking forward to is the freedom that will come when I have achieved my self improvement goals. Just like pushing my self with exercise and food got me to the top of the trails I hike, sacrifices now will help me be secure and free to travel all over the world.
I can’t wait till my goals are to hike the glaciers of New Zealand or visit Old Town in Poland.
I truly believe in the quote
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” - Karen Lamb
The Mood Cure: The 4-Step Program to Take Charge of Your Emotions—Today
by Julia Ross
Got this book the other day. I am really excited about it. Thought I would share.
Some people guise dwelling in darkness as awareness. You are in control of your actions. Do something to help your self today. Take care of your self. Take your self out of the negative. You can only find something better if you take steps towards it. You can do it. I know you can. Don’t make your illness your identity.
Some people see me as a person who has.
They feel they are a have-not and they become a want.
The want becomes an attempt to take.
They need to stop and realize what they have and nurture it so that it grows.
This is the only way become a person who appreciates what they have and no longer wants.
When fighting depression it is ok to give yourself pleasant indulgences but it is important to make sure they are nothing that will harm you in the long run or make you feel bad after.
Things I have learned to avoid are spending too much money, decadent foods, drinking or anything that will lead to long term problems I will have to dig my self out of later.
Depression’s strongest weapon is isolating you so it can do its worst. Sometimes the door to your room becomes comforting in its limiting nature but you are stuck inside the room with the depression. Step outside. Go to the park or grab a cup of coffee somewhere. You will feel scared at first and really sad but as you walk take notice of pretty things on the way. Interesting architecture, pretty leaves, nice flower pots.
The internet isn’t always a good escape. The internet is unpredictable. If you are like me your brain doesn’t filter things as well as a normal person’s. Having obsessive thoughts are really hard to avoid and in half a second an image can pop up you can’t get out of your head and it will trigger more bad thoughts. A lot of my friends don’t struggle with mental illness and are into morbid or violent television shows. They don’t mind drama in their lives and tend to attract it. You can’t go wrong in nature. Even death and decay can be beautiful there. Fungus on old stumps or beautiful sea shells. The violence of a thunderstorm wont leave you feeling dark and angry.
When I was at my worst I had safe places I would go. The park, the pet store, the woods. I found avoiding interaction with people in these moments were best. Use the time to meditate. If you can’t get out of the house you can escape the door of your room by going to the kitchen and making something yummy. You can doodle even if you are not an artist. People say journaling is good but when I do this I try to write about the good things that happened in the day instead of rehashing what is bothering me.
This week I was having a bit of a hard time with anger. A friend hasn’t been the greatest and I am stressed about the amount of hours my husband has had to work to finish a project. I found discussing these things with him helped. He has a very logical brain. Finding a friend who is logical and deals with problems rationally helps a lot. Some friends like to get worked up into a dramatic lather making the situation much worse. These are not the people you should be seeking when upset.
If there is no one to talk to you can try handling the problem with logic on your own. I have really improved these skills over the years. Don’t get upset about things that didn’t happen. Trying to guess why someone is acting the way they do never works. I have found a lot of people are a bit careless and have no idea they are causing you to be upset. They are just caught up in what ever they are doing that week. If you are having a bad week its not because the cosmos are plotting against you. Life is one up and one down right after another. Sometimes the ups last a really long time sometimes the downs do but it will get better if you set your goals to do whatever is in your control to fix it. You have control over what you bring into your life, your positive or negative perspective on things, how you treat other people and who you allow to be part of your life, how you treat yourself, and where you are physically. Keep the parts of your life that you have control over moving forward and one day you will look up and see you have reached the end of the tunnel and there is light.
My friend asked me this morning about coping with anxiety. This is how I have dealt with it and I thought I would share my response with you as well.
Anxiety can seem random. I still have mild anxiety but have found ways to calm it and work my way through it.
Find the original source of the anxiety and cope with it. Maybe a therapist can help you out here. Find someone who doesn’t just want to prescribe you pills but who can actually help you find the root of the problem and help you deal with it. Forgiveness is a great tool in helping pent up issues. Holding anger and a grudge only hurts the person who holds it, not the person who wronged them.
My anxiety comes from the unknown. I have a hard time trusting people because so many have let me down. I get stressed out when I am in large crowds or trapped at a table at a restaurant. I have dealt with this by making my life very familiar. I make my home the calmest place possible. I keep my decor clean and simple. I have a semi structured day. I remove extra drama from my life. I stopped watching horror movies, reality shows and delete friends who are all drama all day from my friends list. When I have to go out in public I have restarts that I frequent so I know the staff and am comfortable. I pick places that are quick or that have outdoor seating. When I get together with people I do a movie or a hike so that I am outdoors and don’t feel confined.
Find a place in your house that is very calm. Work out alone or with a very close friend. Remove distractions. Don’t expect the moon and the stars. Maybe you can only do a couple reps. Its fine, you will be able to do more later. Don’t take long breaks between work outs. 45 minutes a day is not insane and it keeps the momentum going so you wont peter out and give up on a good thing. Like Tony says “Keep pushing play. Keep pushing play.” I made a little video for encouraging my self. It was a very long difficult road. I am not going to lie. I am so thankful I did it though. I am so happy now. I have such peace and can cope with things quicker and easier.
Really take a look at your food, cleaning products, and fragrances. These three things can be major sources for mood disorders. I know that sounds nuts. Something like 85% of all fragrances are petroleum based and can cause major health problems including depression and anxiety. Baking soda, vinegar, lemons, salt, and cream of tartar can clean almost anything. Seventh Generation makes a great line of cleaning products if you don’t want to get too basic. Use fresh air to freshen the house. You live in the country and can just throw those windows right open.
Food is the number one issue for most people. Changing my food and lifestyle has really helped me cope with things. I know food is hard to change because in this country it is tied so deeply to family and culture. Food is what brings us all together and makes us feel comfort but we have been fed processed toxic food and have been told its fine. When we start to get sick off it we are given a pill instead of being told to change our diets. Fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and grass fed meats are the way to go. I eat whole fat cheese, butter and Greek yogurt. If I do indulge in ice cream I pick something like Häagen-Dazs or Open Nature. They use simple real ingredients. If you can’t pronounce it you probably shouldn’t be eating it.
Stick with it and don’t put pressure on your self. Making a life style change is really really hard but you can do it. We have to crawl before we can walk. Be sure to get a lot of outdoors time. Nature can bring so much peace.
When someone is diagnosed with cancer or had a heart attack they pause. They rethink their values. They change their diet. They start exercising. They slow down at work and start doing the things in life they always wanted to.
Depression is also a life threatening illness. We need to start treating it the same way as these other illnesses. When you are diagnosed with depression slow down. Start thinking about your quality of life. Change your diet. Start exercising. Alleviate the stress in your life. The only priority is you. All of those outside priorities will carry on just fine because there are millions of people who put the outside as a priority before themselves. They think it makes them important and invaluable but as you and I know when you have depression you stop and everything keeps going. We know what is important and that is the inside. The inner workings of our daily life that no one sees.
Though it is hard to see, this is a gift. It is what in the long run will awaken us if we chose to embrace it. Finding gratification with out the approval of others gives strength. Improving the day to day inner workings of life brings inner peace and great reward. If things feel chaotic stop. Give yourself time. Give yourself whatever you need to reorganize your life. Don’t take it all on at once. Maybe start with your desk you are sitting at right now. Organize that space and make it a little better to spend time at. De-clutter your surroundings. Clean out your fridge and cupboards. Simplify your diet, your possessions, your commitments. I am not talking unhealthy OCD organization either. The whole point is to simplify so you can start dedicating your resources to healing your mind.
When you have control over your surroundings you can start to organize your mind easier. Meditation is a great way to de-clutter the mind. Putting energy into physical activity helps clear your thoughts and give you the feel good chemicals you need. You are now in control of your life, your health and well being. It can’t be done all at once. Like cancer and heart disease it takes time and a lot of work but you will be grateful when you realized a year has passed and seen all of the progress you have made.