mindfulness, depression, yoga, mental health, finding a way

In order to manage my depression, I know I have to be vigilant about managing my stress and anxiety as well. When anxiety is building, I know it’s just a short trip to crazy town. When anxiety starts knocking on my door, I get right on it, and focus on to supporting my body’s ability to heal and calming my nervous system.

Here’s my recipe for anxiety.

Daily Vitamins:

15 mg of l-methylfolate (bioavailable form of Folate)
  • Building block of serotonin (well-being neurotransmitter); many people don’t process regular Folate we get from our food very well and really need the bioavailable form which is only available in a supplement. I get mine from Amazon.
5000 mg of methyl cobalamin (bioavailable form of B-12)
  • We need high levels of B12; even normal levels have been shown to increase depression. Many people have low intrinsic factor, the enzyme that breaks down B-12. I use the bioavailable version to give myself a leg up. It’s found in stores, just have to read the label to get the right one.
High quality, bioavailable multi-vitamin
  • Hardly anyone gets all the vitamins they need from food; low quality vitamins don’t absorb well. I love Pure Essentials brand that I get from Amazon.

Daily Nutrition:

No caffeine
  • Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, we want to calm it down.
Restrict sugar, but don’t restrict carbs
  • Sugar also stimulates the nervous system and works against us.
  • However, I never restrict carbs. Carbs are essential for serotonin production. Whole grains don’t spike the nervous system the way sugar does.
Don’t get too hungry
  • Drops in blood sugar make our bodies create cortisol (stress hormone) and adrenaline (fight or flight hormone), both jack up the nervous system.
Stay hydrated
  • Lack of water sends our bodies into survival mode, which creates cortisol and adrenaline.

Daily Habits:

Take medications as prescribed
  • This is an area where I’m usually pretty diligent, but because I have a morning, noon, and evening medication regimen, I sometimes miss the noon dose. Usually it’s okay, but if anxiety is entering the picture, failing to stay on my schedule only compounds my anxiety. 
  • So I get serious about taking that noon dose.
  • If you want to learn about my medication regimen, visit my blog DNA Testing Game was a Changer for My Depression.
Hug and touch people
  • Physical touch makes our bodies create oxytocin, a feel good hormone.
  • I try to hug at least one person every day – preferably more. I make myself aware of my unwillingness to touch, and do it anyway. 
Get quiet time for 10-15 minutes
  • Getting quiet is very helpful for calming the nervous system.
  • I sit in a quiet room, drive with the radio off, meditate, take a walk without phone or music.
30 minutes sunshine or light box, no sunglasses or hat
  • The body needs light to create serotonin; no sunglasses or hat; the light needs to enter through the eyes.
  • To avoid skin damage, I use a 10,000 lux light box for 30 minutes each day. My light box is SunTouchPlus, which I got from Amazon. I also will take short, 10-minute walks in the sun. 
Exercise 30 minutes with elevated heart rate
  • The body creates serotonin when the heart rate goes up, so I know it’s important to exercise. But I used to go too hard and have learned this actually works against me by cranking up stress hormones. The sweet spot is a little hard to talk, but not out of breath.
  • Exercise also creates endorphins, a hormone that blocks pain and improves mood.

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