NON-PHARMACEUTICAL WAYS TO MANAGE AND OVERCOME DEPRESSION, ANXIETY AND STRESS
My work as clinical social worker and psychotherapist has evolved greatly since I started in the late 80’s. Historically, the pharmaceutical industry has influenced the treatment of mental health. When I began to realize some of the negative impacts and limitations that it had, I started the slow process of learning a new way of thinking about mental health treatment and realized that I wasn’t the only one with limitations. The Dr.’s and prescribers were limited and dependent in large part to what the medical community was given. My intentions had always been in giving others healthy options to overcome their challenges but found they had fallen short due to my lack of information and misinformation by the culture. My practice has now developed a more holistic and integrative model. There are times when medications are needed but far less than before. The following is a list of strategies, practices and product options that I have found effective in recovery and healing. This list is informational only as choosing what is best for you is individual and intuitive to each person.
TALK THERAPY – Building a trusting relationship with a provider is the foundation for growth. Most therapeutic modalities – all those evidence-based ones – have at it’s core a positive rapport with the person. That is why choosing the right therapist can be tricky. We all have unique backgrounds with our own personality style and emotional triggers or allergies as I like to call them. The heart of growth is this connection. Remember any teacher that you put your trust in? Trust on any level is powerful. I base my practice from a background of cognitive behavioral and trauma theories, systemic family and relationship modalities and an eclectic blend of spirituality, natural healing, and psychosomatic healing approaches. There are so many effective ones out there in this age of technology. I’ve incorporated apps, YouTube, and other tools that can help learn/understand a current challenge.
RELATIONSHIP EMPOWERMENT – Most of us grew up in a time when roles were prescribed and planned in one way or another. We survived because our ancestors found some of these traditions were crucial in this survival. They did their job and now we are evolving! This is exciting yet can be pretty threatening to the old ways of living. Embracing who we are as individuals while creating loving relationships is at the heart of this evolution. I facilitated workshops over the last year called Living from the Power of your Heart. There is an empowerment wave going on in the world and we are part of it. This takes education, knowledge, skills and support…and lots of it! That is one of my roles as a therapist – I find ways to teach, coach, practice and create a positive environment for this evolution. My teachers have come from the relationship education, attachment theory and a comprehensive relationship skill program called PAIRS. Lori Gordon developed this program to find real strategies to solve the puzzles that pain and conflict can create in love relationships. Sue Johnson is one of the researchers and teachers that have helped others understand how critical it is to get our emotional bonding needs met from infancy until the end of our lives.
NUTRITION/SUPPLEMENTS – Science and wisdom are the keys here. Mood is entwined with how we feed and care for our brain. We now know so much more about what to eat to function at our best. When we are feeling anxious or depressed, our old survival centers of the brain tend to take over and we are drawn to comfort food, caffeine, alcohol, sugar etc. It’s essential to find the supports to overcome these old habits and urges, make the changes and feel the rewards of a healthy, whole foods, plant-based diet. Hydration is a key. I’ve added in a large glass of celery juice each morning to help get a good start for the day. I was skeptical but now I’m a believer and happy that I created a good habit in my morning routine. There are others such as starting the AM with the juice of ½ to one whole lemon or lime. Add it to water immediately upon awakening. It sends a detox signal to your body. I often suggest this to the clients I work with to help flush the effects of stress from their bodies. It’s simple but over time very effective. Dan Amen has done extensive research on nutrition and the brain and specific foods to focus on. Minimizing or eliminating sugar, gluten, caffeine and dairy are good starting points for anyone to consider improving mood and heal the body.
Finding the right supplements for your body is another key. There are many schools of thought about all the things you should take to feel better. The best antidepressants aren’t always pharmaceuticals. Nature and smart science can help. In the Jan. 2020 issue of Psychology Today, there are four compounds that can significantly impact mood. Omega 3’s, Curcumin, Vitamin C and Magnesium. According to this research it would take about 3 tablespoons of turmeric to equal the dose or 250-500 mg of Curcumin. I have worked with a Superfood blend of herbs and antioxidants called MIND to supplement as well. http://hbnaturals.com/newpath
SPIRITUATLITY – One of the indicators for a healthy relationship is a shared spirituality. I explain this to couples this way: Most of us didn’t grow up in families where this was safely and freely done. We usually passed on what we grew up with or a version of its opposite based on what our parents experienced. Shared spirituality is learning how to discuss what’s meaningful to each other and how they see their purpose for living on this planet at this moment in time. It’s learning how to create a depth within ourselves given the ancient truth that each of us is born with an essence to love and be loved that goes beyond just mere survival. We want to grow, thrive and feel safe. Most of us got stuck in stress which created a shutdown of the heart, keeping us stuck in the old patterns of survival. There is a wave of change coming. We now have the tools available to evolve and reach our potentials like never. The key is finding tools to learn and a place to practice these new skills. The rewards are great.
GROUNDING PRACTICES – Everyone needs grounding practices to cope with this highly energized and computerized culture. We are constantly exposed to EMF’s from environment, our devices and screen time. Daily body breathing, meditation, energetic techniques to remove stress and spending time in nature are so important. The simple act of shaking your body gently with the intention of releasing stress can help when triggered. Animals do this naturally. In my practice we pick out the types of grounding exercises best suited for the individual. Doing something is the key. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong, are among some of the ancient arts that have stood the test of time. Developing a basic EMF protocol is new and very important for the brain. Again, temperament, body type and your current situation all play a part in what is best for you. Recently, I began incorporating Donna Eden’s energy routine to my list of things I do. Learning to trace your meridians can make a difference.
AROMATHERAPY – I have practiced as an aromatherapist for several years. I was drawn to the energy of these essences after I experienced a healing using them. I “woke up” to the plants and to a new relationship with them. There are several essential oils that specifically help mood and emotional health. I usually will suggest the ones that may be effective depending on your situation. My favorites today (and they can change) are Red Mandarin, Eucalyptus radiata, Ravintsara and Lavender Vera. They help with mood and cold symptoms. There are blends to motivate, calm, empower and awaken our sensual/sexual selves.
DEVELOPING INTUTION – I once heard the term “Blue sense” when referring to the intuitive abilities of police officers. There was a training for the officers to help them develop these skills. We all have intuitive knowledge that is available to us. These skills have not been taught most likely do to old fears/myths from past connections to “psychics” and witches. These beliefs are old and do not serve our evolving culture anymore. Wisdom of the heart is connected to love, authenticity and living to our fullest potential. One tool to help tune in is called muscle testing. It’s a way to use your own body to connect to your inner wisdom. It takes some practice but it’s worth it. Men and women find their own style to tap into themselves. The Heart Brain Coherence practice is one such way to find these answers. Check out my earlier blogs for the full exercise.
PHYSCIAL EXERCISE – This is essential for mood health. You don’t have to run any races or meet some lofty goals. But you do need something to “Just Do it” The important thing here is finding a way to connect to your body and move. We are often told to rest if we get injured but the logistics of this is limited. Rest is good for a brief time only. Our bodies need to communicate through movement. Low mood or negative thinking puts a cloud over motivation. I like to find the tricks to side step this cloud and float through it. Even marching in place saying the affirmation, I am up and ready, I am up and ready, can start the movement. Creativity is the anecdote to stress. If one strategy doesn’t work, find another. I utilize YouTube often to access some of these strategies so you can try out some of these,
ALPHA STIM – For relief of anxiety, depression and insomnia, Alpha-Stim is a revolutionary tool which helps regulate the body’s own electrical impulses in a safe, easy and comfortable way. The primary distinctive feature in a medical device is the wavefrom, and the Alpha-Stim has a uniquely effective waveform. The application of direct electrical treatment to the brain, along with our treatment protocols for target problems also make the difference that no other device has been able to emulate.
Alpha-Stim is very safe and easy to use. The current is applied by easy-to-use clips that attach on the ear lobes. Used just 20-60 minutes every day, every other day, or on an as needed basis, Alpha-Stim can help induce a pleasant, relaxed feeling of wellbeing. Only one out of 506 people will experience a mild headache, and one out of 910 will have a skin reaction at the electrode site. There are no other significant side effects reported in over 40 research studies.
LIFEWAVE TECHNOLOGY – While on the path of my own healing journey I discovered these patches that facilitate healing through light frequency – “phototherapy”. These patches use nanotechnology; tiny molecules of oxygen, amino acids, sugars and water that are put together in a homeopathic matrix sandwiched inside the impermeable waterproof patch materials. Nothing enters the body. The effect is purely energetic – a signaling mechanism so to speak. As the patches are placed on the body, it starts to frequency modulate the body’s field of energy, much like a radio frequency modulates the radio waves to get a radio stations signal. Each patch has a different organic crystalline structure and is designed to balance different body systems through the infrared light spectrum of energy.
Research has shown that you can change a cell’s function by giving it a chemical message or a non-chemical signal. A chemical message would be a supplement for example. Life Wave would be a non-chemical signal. It’s like when you go out into the sun and your skin tans. The cells of the body respond to the frequency of energy (light) to produce melanin as well as Vitamin D. When Life Wave patches are placed on specific meridian points, the messaging system is enhanced greatly because the meridians already serve as a superhighway of information.
The patches designed specifically for mood, inflammation, energy, metabolism and immune health. I have experimented with a variety of patches for health, mood and repair. I have found them to be effective in my own healing and energy.
This summary is designed to highlight the more natural treatments I use in my practice and my own life to positively impact mood and mental health. I find the more I practice and tune into my wise heart, the more abundant life becomes. My belief is that we all deserve abundance in whatever form that will shine. I welcome your comments and questions. This is the year of the heart. May we all find some new ways to let love flow. Tina M Johnson, LCSW relatecommunicate.com