Stress, Depression and Healthy Living

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Although this seems cliche, one of the most important ways to help fight depression is a healthy diet and lifestyle.  Diets based on whole, real foods, rich in healthy fats, free of poor quality carbohydrates (like sugar and refined processed foods), have proven to be an extremely effective strategy for managing depression and mood disorders.

Regular physical activity can also help improve mood and lead to an increased sense of well being. Be careful of excessive exercise though.  If you are going through severe stressors, intense exercise can make things worse.  Try activities that focus on stress relief and relaxation like stretching and moderate walking.  Get outdoors.  Do something you enjoy and make it fun.  Use it as a time to socialize with friends as you exercise together, or take your pets out to exercise with you.  The key is to make sure that the exercise relieves stress, not causes it.

Lack of sleep is a very big contributor to mood disorders. In our busy lifestyles, we often fail to give sleep the importance it deserves. Getting 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly is crucial. But what if you are having problems sleeping. This article will give you some helpful tips on establishing healthy sleep habits HERE.

Besides healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep, you can fight depression by setting goals, making accomplishments, and finding personal fulfillment in something you believe in. Volunteering and helping others are great antidotes for depression. Having a strong network of support is also extremely beneficial.

I will share here my own very personal experience.  I have had depressive issues throughout adulthood, some stemming from traumatic life events.  At times, when under high stress, such as working full time while going to college and raising small children, it felt overwhelming.  At the time, I knew nothing about healthy living, and my health habits were extremely poor.  My diet was terrible, my anxiety levels high, and I was sleeping maybe 3-4 hours nightly.  In addition, I have a moderate form of OCD which carries with it its own measure of anxiety.  This has plagued me since childhood, often causing excessive worry and excessive thought which was costing me much lost sleep.

Since adopting a LCHF lifestyle about three years ago, my mood is extremely stable, I can say that for the most part, depression is non-existent for me.  In addition, I would say that my OCD is about 80% improved and no longer interferes with my sleep or daily life.  I truly believe that much of the mood disorders suffered today are nutrition related.  It is no coincidence when the dietary recommendations came out in the 1970’s to eat less fat and lots of processed carbohydrates, our mental health disorders soared!  I believe that good nutrition and the measures above should be adopted as a PRIMARY measure of treatment for depression.  Please do not underestimate the power of healthy living to be the most powerful “medicine” ever!

However, if depression persists despite these measures, I urge you to seek professional help.

Wishing you good (physical and mental) health! 😉