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Research Finds Depression Is Linked To Allergic Reaction To Inflammation

Research Finds Depression Is Linked To Allergic Reaction To Inflammation

Inflammation is a buzzword these days. We might be familiar with inflammation in the sense of having a messed-up knee from a sports injury, but what is it in the broader sense?

Inflammation can also be a systemic problem affecting the major organs and the entire body. It’s interesting to note that “pain may not be a primary symptom of an inflammatory disease, since many organs do not have many pain-sensitive nerves.

Generally feeling achy, having low energy, shortness of breath, skin issues, and fluid retention are possible symptoms. Perhaps most surprising are correlations research is finding between inflammation and depression.

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However, Tim De Chant of NOVA writes, “Inflammation is our immune system’s natural response to injuries, infections, or foreign compounds. When triggered, the body pumps various cells and proteins to the site through the blood stream, including cytokines, a class of proteins that facilitate intercellular communication. It also happens that people suffering from depression are loaded with cytokines.” According to this and other similar articles, depression qualifies as a symptom of an allergic reaction to inflammation.

An article in Nature Reviews Neuroscience notes, “Inflammation is therefore an important biological event that might increase the risk of major depressive episodes.” This is specifically true in those with chronic, systemic infections, cancer, and autoimmune diseases.

Chronic inflammation, in terms of autoimmune disease, is essentially the body’s defense mechanism gone rogue, or at least extreme. White blood cells react to and damage the body’s own tissues in the absence of foreign invaders.

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Inflammation is 30% higher in clinically depressed patients. It appears that depression and inflammation feed off of each other in a destructive cycle, which wreaks havoc on the body and the mind.

It’s also clear that depression increases inflammation, as is highlighted in this paper by Stefan M. Gold PhD. and Michael R. Irwin MD. He states that “major depressive disorders show alterations in immunologic markers including increases in pro-inflammatory cytokine activity and inflammation.”

Essentially, when an individual is experiencing inflammation, depression adds fuel to the inflammatory fire by activating more of the elements that aggravate it. What’s more, research has uncovered clear links between inflammation and BiPolar disorder, cancer, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

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This scientific review looks at the connections between depression, inflammation, and heart issues as a very stark and unavoidable progression. It states, “Depression leads to inflammation and inflammation leads to coronary artery disease.”

The possibility of reducing depression through anti-inflammatory drugs such as NSAIDs (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), Acetaminophens (paracetomal or Tylenol), or Corticosteroids (synthetic hormonal steroids) seems to be on the horizon, though more research is necessary before those avenues are actively pursued.

An alternative to pharmaceutical options is the more natural and long-term option of consuming healthier, inflammation-reducing foods, drinks, and herbs.

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Here are some foods to help reduce inflammation and, therefore, depression:

  • Tart Cherries – Linked to significant reduction in osteoarthritis symptoms for athletes.
  • Fish Oil – Linked to reduction of inflammation and anxiety.
  • Green Tea – Lots of polyphenols, a particular antioxidant shown to lower risks and symptoms of chronic disease

Herbs that may help reduce inflammation are:

  • Turmeric – Contains high amounts of curcumin, which boasts powerful anti-inflammatory properties in recent studies.
  • Ginger – “Contains pungent phenolic substances with pronounced anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory activities.”
  • Rosemary – “Conclusively, rosemary can be considered an herbal anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor agent.”

It’s no surprise, but the most common and offensive foods triggering inflammation are those highly processed and loaded with sugar and unhealthy fats. However, each individual may have more specific allergens and should be tested for sensitivities to things like wheat, gluten, peanuts, eggs, etc. to figure out if there are more serious inflammatory responses at work compromising their health and vitality.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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