What Are You Carrying?

In portaging from one river to another, Wabanakis had to carry their canoes and all other possessions. Everyone knew the value of traveling light and understood that it required leaving some things behind. Nothing encumbered movement more than fear, which was often the most difficult burden to surrender –Bunny McBride, Women of the...

4 Steps To A More Confident You

 This week, as in every week, I notice a theme, something that all clients seem to speak about, in my office. I’m not sure if there’s a particular reason for this. Perhaps the winds of Minnesota bring ideas and thoughts to all who come to my office. More likely is that each week I hear something common among those whom I see. Whatever the reason, I find it useful to think about these things and have decided to share some commonalities that all seem to experience.  The reason for this is that often times we feel isolated in our own thoughts. We assume that no one else feels this way. In a recent study researchers looked at how comparing ourselves to others contributes to feels of depression. Specifically, they looked at Facebook. But before we go further, I’m not saying Facebook causes depression only that it’s a place that can be studied as there are 1.7 billion users world wide. What they found is because people post mostly positive statements and photos about their life, others who view those posts often feel less than or down. But why is this? Why should looking at other’s lives cause us to question our own life AND then feel like we’re lacking? It’s a complicated answer, but one aspect of it is that we lack confidence and self-esteem, at least in some parts of our life. So let’s start at the beginning. In order to feel confident, you must have a solid core. I like to compare this to weight lifting. In order for us to lift weights, or even get up...

Top 5 Foods for Mental Health

Just what role does nutrition play in mental health? Why is it important? And what can we do to feel better by eating? Let’s start by defining nutrition and diet. Nutrition is “the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food (e.g. protein, carbs, fat, etc.) in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism.” While diet is what we eat.  With that said, what we want is to change our diet to allow for more nutrition. The reason this is so important is that nutrition is what helps us cope and deal with stress, anxiety, depression, and all that life hurls at us. What I mean by this is that if we eat a serving of meat, for example chicken, it is the nutrients that help us build serotonin, immunity, and the such that will combat colds, flus, and mental health issues.  To that end, here are the 5 best foods to help with mental health: Fish In study after study, research has shown that those who consume omega-3 fatty acids are less likely to experience depression, and more likely to have heart health, as well as cognitive and affect benefits. One reason this is important is that our brains are made of mostly fat. We need to nourish them with healthy, positive sources and omega-3s are just such a source (we can’t manufacture omega-3s, so we need to get them from our foods). Omega-3s have also been shown to fight off depression. In a study out of Norway, in the Journal of Affect Disorders, researchers showed that “those who regularly...

Mental illness IS a physical illness

This week a german airline pilot, Andreas Lubitz, apparently intentionally crashed the jet he was flying, killing himself and all 149 passengers on board. The world wide response has been one of grief and sadness, appropriately. Questions have been asked about how and why this happened. And leaders from around the world have called this the saddest day. They have also accused the pilot of being crazy. But what’s the implication of that. It seems that they are linking his depression with crazy. And if this is the case, that’s a problem for many reasons, not the least of which is it perpetuates the stigma of depression. What is depression? Perhaps it’s important to start with what depression is and isn’t before the term crazy gets bandied about. Depression is a disease, the same as cancer or diabetes, that affects the brain of a person which than causes issues with weight, thinking, sleep, and and decision making ability. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 350 million people world-wide suffer from depression, it is the leading cause of disability world wide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.  But just what is depression? Depression, according the the DSM-V, has the following symptoms, to name a few: depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day, Insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day, psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day, fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day, symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational...

Top 5 Tips to Help Manage Depression

Do you have difficulty getting out of bed? Have you lost your appetite or perhaps you’re eating more than usual? Have others noticed that you’re somehow different, somehow not as up or happy as you usually are? Have your coworkers or boss noticed that you have been missing more work lately or coming in late? If this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from depression. Depression is a word that is often thrown around without much care being given to what it actually means. It seems that if you’re sad, than you’re depressed. And while sadness is part of depression, that’s only part of it. Depression is a life changing, and at times, life threatening condition. According to the DSM-IV (Diagnostic Statistic Manual-the book therapists use for diagnosis) depression consists of having certain feelings, behaviors, and thoughts. They include, but are not limited to: a depressed mood; loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to like and enjoy; diminished interest in all or almost all activities; significant weight loss when not dieting or, conversely, significant increase in appetite; insomnia; fatigue or loss of energy; feelings of worthlessness or guilt; loss of concentration, and recurrent thoughts of death. These things need to be present all day, everyday or nearly every day in order to be considered clinical depression. The good news is that depression is treatable. Depression can be managed. It does not have to define you. Most people who suffer from depression are able to live the life they want by taking certain steps that have been proven to work. Here are 5 tools that have been...