Depression May Change the Actual Structure of Your Brain

IN YOUR DAILY DOSE: today is research that demonstrates depression may change your brain structure, which may necessitate a love one help you through this challenging time and ensure you get the right treatment.

MAKING CHANGES: Addressing stress and depression takes multiple steps, not all of which may work for you. However, before dismissing them, it’s vital you engage in the proven activities and potentially reduce your risk for further health conditions.

FACT OR FICTION: You’ll never know how you use knowledge you gain in your earlier years. Hillary Rodham discovered that very fact.


In The News

Researchers from the University of Edinburgh used brain imaging technology to demonstrate changes that occur in the brain when an individual suffers from depression. Alterations were found in white matter your body uses to communicate with other cells in your brain and body.

This study of more than 3000 people shed light on the biology behind depression but cannot pinpoint this as a cause of the condition - rather it is associated with being depressed and points to the urgency of addressing adequate treatment for those who are suffering.


Daily Health Tip

Like we discussed yesterday, dealing with stress and depression is a significant issue in your life and one that requires ACTION on your part.

Making Changes

Reducing your experience with depression takes several steps - not all of which will help you. However, to determine the right approach for your situation it’s important that you or a loved one commit to helping you through this difficult time and thus reduce your risk of death and increase the potential for more joy in your days.

Techniques for stress reduction do an amazing job of helping to improve your attitude and gratitude for the day. If these strategies are not enough, you should consider cognitive behavioral therapy to address the current issue. This type of therapy doesn’t delve into your childhood or dredge up distant memories but helps you to cope with the current life situation you find yourself in.

Staying physically healthy and incorporating stress reduction techniques may help to reduce your stress level and your blood pressure.

  1. Get 8 hours of sleep a night. When exhausted, your brain does not function as well. You will have more problems with focus and with the ability to think through problems. In fact, when tired, your brain functions as if you have been drinking alcohol with reduced reaction time and processing speed.
  2. Get 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine each day. Sun is a great way for your body to manufacture vitamin D, but it also affects your brain and your mood. If you can’t get outside, use a light bulb in the house designed for people with seasonal affective disorder. All of us benefit by being in the sun!
  3. Exercise every day. Whether you are walking after lunch and dinner or working out for an hour at the gym, get some exercise. Your digestive system works better, your arteries will be healthier and your mood better too.
  4. Drink enough water to stay hydrated. Your urine should be light straw color. If it’s darker then you aren’t drinking enough and if it’s lighter you are drinking too much.
  5. Find what works best for your stress reduction. Some people practice yoga, others just exercise and others find that prayer helps to relieve their stress of everyday living. However you choose to manage stress, it’s important that YOU manage stress and not that the stress in your life manages you.

There are several different stress reducing activities you may have tried but the following three are our favorites as they are supported by research and they work, whether you believe they will or not. In other words, there is no placebo effect with these strategies - when you practice them consistently and correctly you WILL enjoy the benefits. And one of the nicest benefits is stress reduction.

Don’t just read these - actually DO THEM.

  1. Exercise - you may not want to hit the gym and sweat to the oldies, but you can go for a 30 minute walk after dinner each night. The combination of being outdoors in the sun and exercise has a calming effect on your nervous system. If being outside is out of the question, try an indoor bike, exercise ball, mini-trampoline or any other activity that raises your heart rate. You aren’t training for the Olympics, you’re just moving.
  2. Emotional Freedom Techniques - this is a bit like acupressure, using specific areas of your body to interrupt energy pathways. This is NOT some new age nonsense, but is based on 1,000s of years of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It helps reduce stress and anxiety and can even help improve your motivation. It’s easy to learn, can be done at home or even in public and takes just minutes. You can learn more about it here:
  3. Yoga - that’s right - yoga. It can be a simple form that isn’t very physically taxing or you can try a Hot Yoga class done in a room heated to near 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Research demonstrates that yoga has a significant number of positive benefits to your health, well above reducing stress and anxiety.  Just 12 minutes a day may reduce your potential for osteoporosis, reduce stress, depression, anxiety and improve your cardiovascular health. Simple, easy and 12 minutes a day - do you have an extra 12 minutes each day to reduce your stress?


Daily Affirmation

Sometimes I make amends directly. When that is impossible, I can still turn the situation around by taking an indirect route. I believe that any virtuous action can help me to pay back what I owe.
If I made fun of a classmate in elementary school who has long since moved away, I can be kind to the children who live in my neighborhood now. If it would hurt my coworkers' feelings to know that I left them out of a meeting, I try to include them in another interesting project.
Fact or Fiction?

You’ll never know how you use knowledge you gain in your earlier years. Hillary Rodham discovered that very fact.

Just after graduating from Yale Law School, Hillary Rodham took a job at the Children’s Defense Fund which was chose to be on the inquiry staff for the Watergate investigation for possible impeachment of then President Nixon.. Just a short 24 years later her husband faced a very similar situation.

Have a wonderful day!

Your Healthy Life America Team


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