While anxiety and depression are not the same, they can both be the result of a stressful lifestyle. Your moods and emotions are regulated by a complex network of neurotransmitters and receptors. When your regulatory systems are thrown out of balance, the changes color the way you interpret your surroundings and respond to your environment.
While many people choose to rely on prescription medications to help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, antianxiety medications and antidepressants are not right for everyone. For various reasons, many people prefer natural alternatives. For those who prefer a natural approach to alleviating their symptoms, we offer the following suggestions.
Your brain is likely in a continual cycle of random thoughts, memories, and distractions. As a result of depression or anxiety, you may spend a good portion of your day reflecting on past hardships or analyzing the many potential problems of the future. It's not your fault; it's just the way our brains are wired.
Research shows that we are at our happiest, most energized selves when engaged in activities that keep us focused in the present. This is known as mindfulness. Many psychotherapists recommend mindfulness meditation as a method of treating depression, anxiety, eating disorders and substance abuse.
While the techniques seem simple enough, living mindfully takes practice. Consider the following suggestions to help you live your life happily in the present, to live mindfully:
When you live your life mindfully, you maintain your focus on life as it is at this moment. You observe your thoughts and emotions without judgment, and then return your attention to the present. You take the time to feel the wind on your face and the sensation of the ground beneath your feet. When you keep your focus on the present, the past that you cannot change is left in the past. The future that can't be predicted is left to unfold without worry.
The use of plant extracts for health and healing has been practiced throughout our recorded history. Essential oils are often recognized for their ability to enhance the body's natural healing processes. Many plant essences provide actions similar to their pharmaceutical counterparts.
Yoga has been practiced for centuries to promote physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Until recently researchers had little understanding of why yoga appeared to be such a powerful health and wellness catalyst. With advances in technology comes improvement in our understanding.
Today researchers understand that yoga helps restore balance to your autonomic nervous system, the branch of your nervous system responsible for the automatic processes and functions that you do not need to consciously control. Your autonomic nervous system regulates your breathing, temperature, heart rate, stress responses, and more.
When your autonomic nervous system remains balanced, the areas of your brain that regulate your moods and emotions function more effectively. The practice of yoga includes:
While it tones and strengthens your body, yoga also provides a natural method of increasing the serotonin levels in your brain. Seratonin is one of the chemicals (neurotransmitters) that helps your brain relay signals. Serotonin imbalances are now believed to cause depression and several other mental health disorders.
Ashwagandha is a small shrub native to North Africa and India. This beneficial herb is one of the most significant components in Ayurvedic medicine, the Indian principals of natural healing. Today, ashwagandha is a popular dietary supplement due to its ability to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Ashwagandha is an adaptogen; it helps your body adapt to stressors. This natural supplement is known to reduce cortisol production, your stress hormones, by as much as 30 percent. Ashwagandha stabilizes your body's stress responses while protecting your brain from degeneration. Ashwagandha supplements can help improve your focus and reduce fatigue without the risk of side effects associated with many prescription medications. You may also be interested in some of the many additional benefits, including:
In a study of 39 subjects, ashwagandha was shown to reduce anxiety levels by more than 88 percent when compared to the control group. While ashwagandha is considered safe for most, this herb should not be used by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have an autoimmune disorder or thyroid condition, consult with your physician before using ashwagandha.
When you are living with depression, anxiety, or both, a few simple lifestyle modifications could help alleviate your symptoms. Consider the benefits of mindfulness, essential oils, yoga, and natural supplements like ashwagandha to help battle your symptoms and reduce the impact of stress on your health and well being. If self-help is not effectively managing your symptoms, consider scheduling a consultation with your healthcare provider