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Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

Scientists Suggest That Improper Diet Can Cause Depression

Depression may occur due to an improper and unhealthy diet in many people, according to latest research. In recent years, scientist conducted a variety of studies on the potential relationship between depression and improper diets. They found that nutrition has an increased effect on the human body, as well as emotional states related to depression.

Naturally Combatting the Cause of Depression

According to recent studies, diets high in fats and sugars may be a factor that causes depression in many people. These types of diets contribute to emotional and biological changes in our minds and bodies.

When we eat poorly, our bodies become deprived of essential nutrients. The human body recognizes, reacts, and regards nutrient deficiencies as a potential disease. In turn, the body releases proteins known as cytokines to try to protect the body and fight off the perceived intruder.

This natural and vital protection process is similar to how the body’s immune system works when trying to heal a physical wound that may cause inflammation. The brain receives signals when inflammation is detected.

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Chronic and extended health problems can easily turn into depression because of the negative thoughts people get when triggered by an illness. Physicians refer to this as sickness behavior, which is surprisingly similar to depression, where people are unwilling to be productive, eat well, or get out of bed.

For example, The Washington Post covered a story that included Jodi Corbett, a 47-year-old battling depression for more than twenty years. Jodi initiated an experimental diet that she believes took her off antidepressants. Jodi said she stopped eating food products containing gluten. Gluten is a protein composite found in rye, barley, wheat, and related grains. It took only one month for Jodi to rid herself of her lifelong depression and lose several pounds.

“It was like a veil lifted and I could see life more clearly. It changed everything.”

She added more about her success.

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“This was such a simple solution. I could have saved myself a lot of money and a lot of misery if someone had asked about my diet 15 years ago. My life could have been different.”

Jodi Corbett’s example is just the tip of the iceberg many researchers are exploring when it comes to food’s impact on the mind. For years, scientists focused on the mind being the essential cause of depression; however, new research has uncovered the possibility that a healthy diet can play an instrumental part in relieving depression in most people.

Diets That Make a Difference

Big Think reported the findings of a study comparing a western diet that contains more sugars and fat, to the Mediterranean diet predominantly comprised of vegetables, oils, and nuts.

“Those who lived almost exclusively on the traditional Mediterranean diet were about half as likely to develop depression over the period as those eating more unhealthy food; even when you control for things like education and economic status.”

Michael Berk is a professor of psychiatry at the Deakin University School of Medicine in Australia. He offered an explanation to The Washington Post on how diets affect our mental health.

“Traditional diets, the kinds of foods your grandmother would have recognized, have been associated with a lower risk of mental health issues. There’s lots of hype about the Mediterranean diet [fruits, vegetables, whole grains, olive oil, nuts, fish] but the traditional Norwegian diet [fish, shellfish, game, root vegetables, dairy products, whole-wheat bread] and the traditional Japanese diet [fish, tofu, rice] appear to be just as protective.”

University of California in Los Angeles, clinical psychologist George Slavich has studied depression for years. When discussing causes of depression, Dr. Slavich sees the body having more precedence over the mind.

He says, “I don’t even talk about it as a psychiatric condition anymore. It does involve psychology, but it also involves equal parts of biology and physical health.”

Today, treating depression with healthier diets is becoming more common. For instance, the U.S. Department of Defense initiated a trial program that delivers nutrient rich foods to soldiers diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, claiming eating a healthy diet has proven to be as effective as preventative mental health counseling in preventing depression.

Not everyone is completely onboard in citing the body over the mind when it comes to depression. As with most healthcare professional, Dr. Berk supports an integrative approach to treating mental illness, including added traditional treatments, exercise, as well as experimenting with diet modifications. With respect to depression, Dr. Berk offers more.

“For a mood disorder like depression, there are hundreds if not thousands of risk pathways that all contribute to the disorder. Targeting one factor doesn’t target all the factors that cause someone to develop depression. That’s why you need to develop an integrated package of care as the norm.”

Most people agree that healthy and nutritional diets should be included in an eclectic and holistic approach to treating depression.

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

1. Gratitude

Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

Gratitude-Quotes

    2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

    This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

    For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

    What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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    Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

    3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

    This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

    Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

    An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

    Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

    write down goals

      4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

      According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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      There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

      5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

      Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

      Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

      6. Rise Earlier

      The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

      For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

      So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

      Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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      7. Listen to Uplifting Music

      Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

      Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

      It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

      Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

      More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

      Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
      [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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