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Three of the Top Research-Proven Strategies to Help Soothe Your Depression: The Happy Trifecta
(This is the fourth installment by my nutrition intern, Kyria Edwards. Enjoy!)
Welcome to our fourth and final blog in our depression series!
We started by discussing five of the root causes of depression that you can address today.
In our second blog we explored the symptoms of depression, holistic vs conventional treatments, and why functional blood chemistry analysis is one of the best tools to promoting your best health.
Our third blog discussed all the details about how you can be a DIY depression detective. This blog is golden for anyone looking to be empowered with the detailed knowledge about the exact functional blood chemistry lab ranges to look for that might clue you in to your root causes of depression.
Now it is time to dive into the trifecta of research-proven tools to help support your healing process out of depression. You can google “tools to be depression free” and find a plethora of ideas, and many are great! However, for the purposes of this blog we are going to explore three real-life strategies that you can start implementing today:
- the best foods to eat,
- the Wellness Wheel exercise, and
- how to use herbs to promote your best mental health.
Make Every Bite Count
Every time you take a bite, you are casting a vote for health or disease. This is a bold statement, but it is true. You are either promoting vibrant energy and wellness, or causing sickness and inflammation. The key foods to avoid are gluten, conventional dairy, sugar, vegetable oils, and GMOs. If you missed it, click here to read all about the top foods that lead to depression. On the other hand, the best foods to eat for supporting your healing path out of depression are high quality meats, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods.
Eat Your Way to Wellness
High quality meats have higher levels of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids than their factory farm counterparts which leads to a more nutrient dense meal. These nutrients are essential for optimum cognitive functioning.
Lots of plants
A recent study shows that those who consume less that five fruits and vegetables each day were more likely to report severe-extreme and moderate depression as opposed to those who ate five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
Fermented foods support a healthy gut microbiota, which supports mental health leading to a potential decline in depressive symptoms.
Live Your Way to Wellness
You can support your healing journey as you focus specifically on the areas of health that you personally need to improve in order to expedite your healing process. One of the best tools that has brought my clients success is a journaling practice with the Wellness Wheel. This was originally pioneered by Myers and Sweeney and has since been used worldwide. By promoting your own wellness, you will learn skills central to your healing process as well as knowledge to prevent further episodes of depressive symptoms.
Health is so much more than just exercise and kale; it is multidimensional. The wellness wheel exercise can help you pinpoint non-food related issues that you can improve for optimal wellness.
Save this graphic and work through the following exercise:
- Rate your areas of wellness on a scale of 1-10: 10 = This area is perfect and very strong in my life!, 1 = This area is under developed and needs the most support.
- Then take two minutes to journal per area of wellness. Write whatever comes to mind: hopes, fears, resources, challenges, ideas, goals, etc.
- Then make an action plan to move forward on improving your wellness wheel. Pick one area this week to focus on. Make a specific goal that you want to do. For example, if I choose that I want to focus on my intellectual health- then I will make a goal to read my book of choice for five minutes each night before going to sleep. Start with small, specific, and realistic goals, and increase each week.
- Repeat this exercise at the start of each week and choose a new area to focus on. Keep journaling about your experiences, have a friend as an accountability buddy, or work with a health coach to guide you through. Read this blog to learn the best way to stop old habits and keep new habits.
The Benefit of the Wellness Wheel
The wellness wheel supports you with your emotional and mental development because it is designed to be in alignment with your personal priorities and goals. The individualization of this researched tool will benefit you as you discover more resources to support your healing journey out of depression. As you start to implement your self-chosen and achieved activities, ideas, and habits while working through the wellness wheel, you will be empowered to make the decisions necessary to promote your well-being. As opposed to feeling like a victim of depression, you will be encouraged to lead your life as an active participant by using the many avenues of the wellness wheel to foster your best health.
The topic of herbs is a bit more tricky. Many people want to know “what herb is good for X”? But herbs don’t work that way. Many herbs can offer extreme benefits for health and well-being. But there are many different causes and types of depression (Herbalist David Winston says there are 14 different types, each with different herbal remedies), many different types of herbs, and many different types of people. It is important to work with a trained clinical herbalist that can match the appropriate herbs to the root cause of your depression.
Depending on your unique mixture of all of the above, the following herbs might be useful in a depression protocol (based upon education from Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, David Winston, and the multiple herbal teachers of Lori Rose Holistic):
- For nutrient-deficiency based depression: nourishing infusions of nutritive herbs like stinging nettles, oatstraw, alfalfa, viola, chickweed, burdock
- For GI-based depression: St. John’s Wort (*this herb has multiple drug:herb interactions), evening primrose, saffron, plantain, marshmallow root, calendula
- For liver-based depression: St. John’s Wort, rosemary, burdock, dandelion root
- For hormonal depression: Black cohosh, mimosa, lemon balm
- For thyroid-induced depression: ashwagandha, bacopa, bladderwrack, damiana
- For depression with anxiety: mimosa, vervain, motherwort, milky oats, oatstraw, chamomile, linden, lemon balm, and adaptogens
- For stagnant depression (meaning, you just can’t shake a hard event/loss in your life): lavender, rosemary, holy basil, lemon balm
- For Seasonal Affective Disorder: lemon balm, St. John’s Wort
- For depression from grief and loss: rose buds and flowers, hawthorne, lavender, mimosa, angelica root (A. archangelica)
There are many ways to improve depressive symptoms. By following these strategies with food, the wellness wheel, and herbs, you will have three research-proven tools to support your healing journey out of depression.
Want to learn more?
Join us at our FREE webinar on Tuesday February 27th at 5:30pm PST, 8:30pm EST for a FREE hour-long training on Holistic Approaches for Supporting your Healing Process out of Depression.
Make sure you don’t miss future posts from Lori Rose Holistic:
I make your health my priority so you can make your dreams your priority!
Kyria supports clients on their health journey through holistic nutrition, functional blood chemistry analysis, and health coaching to establish nourishing life-long habits. Through her Master’s program in Health Education and Holistic Nutrition from John F. Kennedy University, Kyria has gained the skills necessary to fulfill her life’s passion: to spread the love of health. She recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to health and that each individual is unique. It is her great joy to help others accomplish their personal health goals while also honoring their body, heart, mind, and spirit. Download her free meal plan here: 30 Day Free Meal Plan. Join her Facebook group here: Kickass Health Lovers.
Lori Valentine Rose, PhD, CNP, BCHN, FDN-P, RH (AHG) is a college biology, nutrition, herbal, and wellness instructor, board certified nutrition professional and holistic nutrition consultant, Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner, registered herbalist, wife, mother, organic vegetable, fruit, and medicinal herb gardener, school garden planter, city class teacher, and passionate Zumba dancer! She created, developed, and instructs the Hill College Holistic Wellness Pathway, the most thorough, affordable, degreed wellness program in the country. She also has a video podcast here where she interviews people that have helped her truly embrace real mind-body-spirit holistic wellness. She loves spreading love and light, and helping others feel awesome on the inside and out so they can live their dreams and make this world more awesome! Lori Rose Holistic does not replace medical advice or working with your doctor, and she does not diagnose, treat, or cure disease. Her goal is to educate, and any actions you take are voluntary and of your own free will.
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