Gratitude


There are many protective factors against depression and mental illness.

Perhaps the most surprising?  A common trait of those who recover more quickly and more fully from a depressive episode is GRATITUDE.

“Appreciation is the strongest form of love. When in a state of appreciation, messages from the amygdala (our brain’s fear center) don’t register” (source below). 

This is SCIENCE guys.

So, if you need a lift in your mood, I would encourage the simple practice of keeping a gratitude journal. 

Buy a new notebook for this. 

Or use one you already have.

Or scribble on old Target receipts or a McDonald’s bag. 

Use what you have, and turn it into a record of gratitude.

Writing down even just 3 things daily will do wonders for reducing anxiety/depression, NOT because your circumstances have changed, but because your outlook has changed.

It goes back to the rationale for why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is so effective. Change the way you THINK, and you’ll change the way you FEEL.

“The best way to overcome fear is with love.”

 

Sources (in a readable, less-formal format)

How Expressing Gratitude Might Change Your Brain by Christian Jarrett (http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/01/how-expressing-gratitude-change-your-brain.html)

Integrative Psychiatry by Dr. Daniel Monti

Strength-based positive interventions: Further evidence for their potential in enhancing well-being and alleviating depression by Gander-Rene, et. al.

 

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Focus on Me, Bae: Treating ADHD

So first of all, let’s just skip the discussion on whether we think this is an actual disorder or not. There’s no use arguing.

If your poor focus is affecting your day-to-day life and leading to some dysfunctional performance in some area of your life, you might want to keep reading.

OR if you feel like your focus is ok, but you wonder what it might be like to have the genius information-retention skills (albeit, awkward social interactions) of Dr. Sheldon Cooper one day you can keep reading too.

These are the top supplements to help with FOCUS and CONCENTRATION (I could give explanations, but let's face it, you're going to Wikipedia this anyway):

Omega 3 fatty acid fish oil

L-phenylalanine

B3, B5 and B6 vitamins - but WATCH liver function with these.

Zinc

Magnesium

Phosphatidy-l-serine is great for recall, especially in combo with L-tyrosine.

FOCUS from Solaray is a brand with a good combo of some of the above ingredients.

Other recommendations for kick-starting your brain:

Yerba-mate tea is helpful for mental sharpness.

Rosemary, sage, and jasmine are appropriate essential oils to enhance attention.

Keep a rigid schedule. Your brain likes predictability. Set cell phone alarms as reminders if you’re unreliable or forgetful. Exercise your butt off. Don’t overload your brain with too much alcohol or sugar. Consider that very-much-talked-about gluten-free diet  (it’s a passing fancy for good reason).

As always, a thorough blood work-up should be performed to rule out any metabolic issues. Review this post and also check testosterone, zinc, and ferritin.

Remember the rules of supplement purchasing by reviewing this post.

When it comes to medications, stimulants should be saved as a last resort. Strattera, Clonidine, Intuniv are possible options too.

DISCLAIMER: Thanks for reading the above, but whoever you are: unless you are living in my household (which I think I would have noticed), it’s very unlikely that I have any idea what sort of medical history, medication regimen, allergies, and any other health intricacies you carry. Therefore, you should NOT interpret the above as medical advice for yourself, and instead present this information to your personal clinician for consideration.

Another DISCLAIMER: Obviously, the best way to get the best nutrition is through FOOD, not supplements. But for those of us who are still getting the hang of this work-life balance thing, supplements are a way to stay sane when you don’t have time & dinero for meal-planning & organics. Don’t beat yourself up.

 

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