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Science Says The Seed Of Depression Is Hidden In Your Gut, Not Your Brain

Science Says The Seed Of Depression Is Hidden In Your Gut, Not Your Brain

It was believed that the causes of depression were primarily neurological or originate in the brain, but recent research indicates the depression’s root cause may be directly related to bacteria found in the gut.

Doctors and nutritionists have always known there is a connection between the brain and the gut. Research shows that the gut has a mind of it’s own called the enteric nervous system. According to UK based nutritional therapist, Eve Kalinik,

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“the brain and gut neurons are directly connected via the vagus nerve, explaining why we feel “butterflies in the stomach” when faced with an anxiety-provoking situation.”

So how does bacteria in the gut cause depression?

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Causes of Depression

Scientists were able to discover that the cause of depression, anxiety, and several paediatric disorders, including autism and hyperactivity, have been linked with gastrointestinal abnormalities. Like other chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, depression is primarily an inflammatory condition. To be specific, gut inflammation is the root of depression.

This one revelation has the potential to profoundly impact the medical field and be a major step forward in effectively treating and possibly curing people plagued by depression. While changing a person’s bacteria is still a stretch for doctors, it is easier and more straightforward than trying to change an individual’s genes.

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Treating the gut causes of depression

food-salad-healthy-lunch

    There are some things you can do to help reduce “bad” bacteria and cultivate good bacteria in your gut.

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    • Eat more whole foods– by eating more whole foods and reducing the amount of processed foods you can eliminate gastronomical inflammation. The manipulation processed foods undergoes introduces unnatural toxins and chemicals into your system. Your body has to struggle to break down chemical compounds that are foreign and not intended for the human body. In fact, one study suggests that eating a lot of nutrient-sparse processed foods could up your chances of becoming depressed by as much as 60 percent.
    • Avoid processed forms of sugar, dairy and gluten– Natural sugars, grains and dairy products are good for you. Refined sugars, gluten and processed dairy products have been altered from their natural state. These alterations promote the development of bad bacteria and drastically reduce nutritional value–leaving your brain starved and causing it to malfunction.
    • Eat plenty of fats and proteins–Not all fat is bad for you. Researchers believe that chicken, turkey,  brazil nuts, eggs, avocados and oily fish all have a powerful impact on our mental state. These are sources of important amino acids, vitamins and minerals, which convert into mood-enhancing brain chemicals.
    • Get plenty of Vitamin D– Vitamin D is required for overall brain development and function. Vitamin D deficiency is sometimes associated with depression and other mood disorders. Sunshine, fortified cereals, breads, juices and milk are packed with this essential vitamin.
    • Skip the supplements if possible– Work to get your nutritional needs met through healthy eating habits and not supplements. Nutrients work together in context. Scientists are diligently working to discover if low levels of nutrients are the cause or consequence of poor brain health. You can’t “biohack” your way out of depression with a few pills or “superfoods.”

    Science is not definitive and is constantly evolving. If you or your loved one is depressed, seek professional help. And along with following the advice of the medical professional, remember that the root cause of your depression just may be in your gut. By changing your diet and paying attention to how your stomach feels, your road to recovery could be short and sweet.

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    Denise Hill

    Denise shares about psychology and communication tips on Lifehack.

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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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