Healing Depression Part 2: Mindful Movement
It's been over a year since my first post (Healing Depression Part 1), so I wanted to give an update before I dive into Part 2: Mindful Movement.
In addition to the Heavy Metal Detox* ingredients (cilantro, Hawaiian spirulina, barley grass juice powder, wild blueberries and Atlantic dulse), I've been bringing in more apples, kiwis, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli and melons. These foods specifically help lift the heaviness of depression with the emotional and spiritual support they provide; the nutrients in these specific foods also help the body fight off the virus that causes depression, the Epstein-Barr virus, aka EBV. (info from Medical Medium)
As far as my supplementation goes, it's changed a bit since my first post. I still take everything I listed, but I've increased the amounts and have switched to Vimergy's products, now that they offer Lemon Balm, B-12 and Ester-C. I'm not sponsored by them, I just really love the quality of their products and they are based right here in California!
I've also added some supplements in for other issues entirely, but I've found have improved my overall mood. I want to share them with you in hopes they may offer some support to you as well.
NeuroMag (Life Extension)
Magnesium Glycinate (Pure Encapsulations)
Please check in with your primary doctor before adding in any supplements to your daily regimen. I am not a doctor and am only offering what I have used to help myself heal depression naturally, to show that it is possible and give hope to those out there who may be suffering.
*from Medical Medium. For more info, click here. For a smoothie recipe, click here.
M I N D F U L M O V E M E N T
Yoga. Pilates. Walking. Running. Swimming. Dancing. Rock climbing. Cycling. Weight lifting. Kirate. Qi Gong. Tai Chi. Jiu Jitsu. Gymnastics. Skateboarding. Rollerblading. Skiing. Snowboarding.
Basketball. Soccer. Baseball/Softball. Volleyball. Tennis. Hockey.
There are so many ways to move our bodies. The important part, the KEY, is finding ways to move that you love. If you love what you are doing, you won't find excuses to avoid it. You will instead find a way to make it a part of your daily life. Moving your body will no longer feel like a chore you need to cross off your list, but something you look forward to, something that makes you happy!
The rewards of consistent movement extend beyond physical fitness. Of course, increased muscle strength and tone, improved flexibility and stamina are all wonderful–and crucial for long-term health and well-being. But the joy and fulfillment you feel after a workout is what can make a powerful shift for anyone struggling with depression.
I'm sure you've heard about the benefits of endorphins that we release during physical exercise. Endorphins give us that "runner's high" which can help change our overall mood and perspective. There is even a link between exercise and the growth of nerve cells, specifically in the hippocampus which regulates mood.
A Harvard Health Letter states,
"the real value is in low-intensity exercise sustained over time. That kind of activity spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes you feel better. "In people who are depressed, neuroscientists have noticed that the hippocampus in the brain—the region that helps regulate mood—is smaller. Exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression."
The benefits we receive from exercise can be taken a step further when we go from just movement to mindful movement. What I mean by this is simply checking in with yourself before, during and after a workout. Noticing how you feel through each phase, physically, mentally and emotionally. Checking in with your breath frequently as you move. And at the end of your workout, taking in all the changes that have occurred within you with gratitude as you rest and let your body and mind settle.
Even typing this brings me ease. Imagine what happens when you give yourself the time and space to actually bring mindfulness into your movement. It's a simple practice, but I promise you, it will change your life.
The more consistently we move our bodies, the more benefits we feel. And the more we love the way we move, the easier it is to do consistently.
If it's difficult to move for long periods at first, start slow. Go on a short walk or try some gentle stretches. Start with 5 minutes and work your way up. You may find that once you begin moving, your mood and energy shift and you can do even more! Sometimes that's the case for me ;)
Still aren't convinced about this whole movement thing being beneficial for depression? Put on your favorite music and dance around your room like no one is around! It's my all-time favorite mood-booster at any time of day. Dancing will lift any darkness, even if it's just a teensy bit.
To sum up mindful movement in easy steps:
Check in with your body, mind and emotions before you begin moving
Turn your awareness to your breath as you move
Check in with yourself throughout your workout (body, mind, emotions)
At the end, notice the changes that have occurred as you stretch and rest in stillness
Give gratitude to yourself and your body