Recently, a patient shuffled into my office, eyes downturned, shoulders hunched. She complained of a deep depression she just couldn’t shake. Feeling totally unmotivated to do anything, she didn’t want to hang out with friends, or do anything she usually enjoyed. She complained of crying without a reason, and feeling hopeless.
Unfortunately this is all too common today, and it breaks my heart to see people suffering like that. Thankfully, prescription drugs, with their unfortunate side effects, aren’t your only option. Read on to learn how to heal your depressive moods naturally.
1. Diet and Probiotics
You’ve heard of the brain-gut connection? It tells us that most of the feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, are produced in the intestines. When your gut is not being fed the type and amount of nutrients it craves, hormone production slows down.
To feed your gut (and soul) you need fresh, whole foods. Eat a variety of fresh cooked vegetables, fruits, meats, seafood, nuts, seeds, whole grains, etc. Stay away from sugar, or any processed food with sugar/corn syrup/cane juice in the ingredient list. In fact, if your food has an ingredient list, especially if there are more than 5 things listed, it is not feeding you the nutrients you need.
In addition to a healthy diet, a good quality probiotic is essential for good digestion. Prescript Assist, BioKult and Jarrow are 3 brands I've found to work well.
2. Flower Essences
Flower essences work on the level of the spirit, or mind, to quickly shift your perspective and outlook on life. The usually come in a small dropper bottle, and you add a few drops to your beverages several times a day, or just take it under the tongue. You will start feeling the effects in as little as 3-5 days.
Bach Remedies are the most common, and can be found at many health food stores. I also like Lotus Wei, which are pre formulated, and mixed with honey so they taste amazing.
3. Get outside and move
The traditional advice for the depressed soul; get some sun and exercise. There’s a reason for this – it works! Moving your body and breathing fresh air increase all your feel good hormones, stimulate circulation in your body, and clear out your lungs, which are the organ that Chinese medicine says stores grief. So, especially if you’ve got the type of depression that involves crying without reason, deep breaths will clear that emotion out.
If you’ve tried this, and simply can’t muster up the energy or motivation to do it, move straight to #4 on this list.
If your symptoms are severe and/or long standing, it’s time to call in an expert. Acupuncture and Chinese herbs get to the root cause of your depression. In Chinese medicine, there are many different causes, and your treatment will involve asking a lot of questions to determine the combination of factors contributing to your unique expression of the disorder.
Chinese medicine theory says that disease is cause by stagnation. Acupuncture works by breaking up that stagnation and allowing qi, blood, hormones, etc. to flow freely.
Bonus: Du 24
This acupuncture point is named Spirit Courtyard, and it works to clear the mind and calm the spirit.