Daily Move: Go outside and Play

If you enjoy being outdoors, even simple activities such as gardening, throwing a ball around with your kids, or washing your car may do you some good. That’s because a healthy dose of sunlight has been shown to boost mood, likely due to the fact that sunshine stimulates our serotonin levels (drops in serotonin during the darker, colder months have been linked to seasonal affective disorder, or SAD).

“Just moving your body inside or out is exercise,” says Shoshana Bennett, PhD, a clinical psychologist . “Choose whatever works for you, depending on your functioning level, energy, and preferences.”


Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-7


Daily Move: Get your Walk On

Simply putting one foot in front of the other may be the trick to feeling better — that’s because walking is an aerobic exercise that’s suited for almost everyone. All it takes is a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes, and you’re ready to go.

“Practical wisdom suggests that doing something is better than doing nothing in terms of physical activity,” says Muzina. If depression has made you sedentary, start off slowly and gradually increase time and distance.

Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-5

13 Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

I thought I would share this post real quick, because I am trying to get myself motivated to change my diet and get exercising again this coming week. I didn’t want to make too many changes at once, so this week, adding exercise and diet changes will be my goals. Anyway, I thought sharing this article about the mental health benefits of exercise would be appropriate, we are all trying to get better, this is one huge change that many of us need to make. Speaking for myself, I need to get out of this room and get moving!!!!! What about you? Are you suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, PTSD etc and working out? I am willing to guess that most of us suffering the most have not been doing a good job of keeping this important self care on our priority list!

Daily Move: Become a Yogi

Ohm — in a study of 65 women with depression and anxiety, the 34 women who took a yoga class twice a week for two months showed a significant decrease in depression and anxiety symptoms, compared to the 31 women who were not in the class.

“Eastern traditions such as yoga have a wonderful antidepressant effect in that they improve flexibility; involve mindfulness, which breaks up repetitive negative thoughts; increase strength; make you aware of your breathing; improve balance; and contain a meditative component,” says Norman E. Rosenthal, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. Dr. Rosenthal suggests starting with a yoga class in your area so you can be sure that you’re doing the movements and poses properly.

Source http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-4

Daily Move: Build your muscles

Boost your strength, boost your happiness? A recent study of 45 stroke survivors with depression found that a 10-week strength training program helped reduced symptoms of depression (among numerous other benefits).

“Strength training is about mastery and control,” says Leslie Seppinni, PhD, a clinical psychologist and family therapist in Beverly Hills. “It requires full attention and concentration. More importantly, people can see the results, the outline of the muscles forming, from dedication and training.” Just be sure to start slowly and use the assistance of a personal trainer if needed








Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-2

Beat Depression with a Yogic Breath

Today, we are going to take a break from our yoga practice, and learn about the benefits of the Yogic breath.

Published in Anxiety, Articles, Depression, Practices »

By Amy Weintraub

Meditation (1)

Yoga breathing can help you manage the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. After years of meditating, and learning to observe my anxiety-based depression, I actually recovered from a condition that literally almost killed me. I regained and continue to maintain my optimum mental health with a yoga breathing practice, which I will teach you below.

Let’s begin with how we breathe. The actual process of respiration takes place within the cells of the body. Not only are your nose, trachea (windpipe) and lungs involved, but the process of transporting oxygen from the air and modifying it so that it’s available to your cells also involves your circulatory system and the muscles in your chest. Mechanically, there are two ways in which we draw oxygen into the lungs. We can extend the diaphragm down, which feels like a deep breath into the belly. This is diaphragmatic breathing, and it is the most efficient means of exposing the blood in the capillaries to air. It also circulates oxygenated blood to the lower, gravity-dependent parts of the lungs. This is the way a newborn breathes and it is most suited for efficient breathing in our normal, daily activities.

Unfortunately, most of us have forgotten how to breathe this way. Instead we use thoracic breathing for most of our activities. When we are breathing into the upper chest, we are using thoracic breathing. This breath expands the ribcage, using the intercostals, the muscles located between the ribs. Chest breathing is not as efficient as diaphragmatic breathing, because the lower portions of the lungs are not exposed to air. In order to get the same amount of oxygen to the cells, chest breathing requires a lot more work than does diaphragmatic breathing, and it is ultimately more work for the heart.

But you can train yourself to breathe more deeply. The best practice I know for deepening your breath is Yogic Three-Part Breath (Dirga pranayama), which is taught in many regular yoga classes, and all LifeForce Yoga Workshops and Classes.

Here’s how to do it:

Yogic Three-Part Breath (Dirga Pranayama)
This breath creates a state of mental alertness, even as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system so that the body-mind is calm. An even inhalation and exhalation is best when your mood is depressed. When you lengthen your exhalation you will enhance the calming effect, which helps if you suffer from anxiety or an anxiety-based depression like I did. The ideal ratio for calming and cooling is 1:2, although to learn it, start with a 1:1 ratio, or equal inhalation and exhalation.

There are two methods of practicing Yogic Three-Part Breath. In the traditional method, taught in most lineages, the inhalation is directed to the bottom of the lungs, the midsection, and then the top. The exhalation moves from top to bottom. In some yoga traditions, the breath is drawn in and then exhaled in exactly the opposite direction. From a psychophysical perspective both methods have the same effect. I practice and teach the more traditional method. However, if you have been taught and practice the method that favors inhaling from top to bottom of the lungs, please feel free to continue to practice Yogic Three-Part Breath that way. Remember that both the inhalation and the exhalation are done through the nose.

  1. Begin in a comfortable seated position with the spine erect. Inhale the breath through the nose into the bottom of the lungs so the belly expands. It can help to place the right hand on the abdomen so the extension can be easily felt. Practice this first part at least three times or until the breath is smooth and you can see your client’s abdomen rising with the inhalation and falling with the exhalation.
  2. Inhale the first third of the breath into the bottom of the lungs as above, and then inhale the second third into the midsection of the lungs so that the ribcage expands. Practice this three times or until there is a sense of ease with the breath. 
  3. Place the left hand on your upper chest, and inhale as above with the final third of the breath moving up into the top of the lungs, and feel your upper chest lift.
  4. Slowly release the breath and feel the upper chest lowering first. As you complete the exhale, draw your abdomen up and back toward your spine, completely emptying the bottom of your lungs.
  5. To begin, practice Yogic Three-Part Breath for 3 to 5 minutes.

If the breath is constricted and you have trouble breathing deeply, you can lie down. It is easier to breathe into the bottom of the lung and extend the abdomen while lying in a supine position. You can further open up the chest, increasing lung capacity, by using a prop like a low bolster or folded blanket, as shown in the image to the left.

Daily Move: Getting a runners high

By Wyatt Myers
Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Exercise certainly isn’t a depression cure-all, but a new study published in the Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that heart-pumping, endorphin-boosting workouts actually promote happiness. Researchers say that more physically active people reported greater general feelings of excitement and enthusiasm when compared to less-active people. And beyond its protective effect against feelings of depression, exercise may reduce stress and help you secure a better night’s sleep. That’s why your favorite fitness routine can be an excellent addition to your depression treatment plan.

“Exercise stimulates the release of many of the brain chemicals thought to be in low supply when someone is battling depression,” explains David Muzina, MD, the founding director of the Cleveland Clinic Center for Mood Disorders Treatment and Research.

Over the next few days, we will take a look at which exercises can do best for our depression:

When it comes to workouts that fight depression, aerobic and cardio exercises have the edge. “To date, the strongest evidence seems to support aerobic exercise,” says Dr. Muzina. While the correct “dose” of depression-fighting exercise is up for debate, some experts recommend 20 to 30 minutes most days of the week. A recent review of numerous scientific studies found no association between the intensity level of the exercise and its emotional benefit — so simply moving more is a great start.

Ever heard of runner’s high? “The most tangible example of exercise stimulating certain brain chemicals is the runner’s high that many athletes report experiencing once crossing a certain threshold of exertion while running,” explains Muzina. That euphoria is due to the release of endorphins in the brain in response to the sustained physical activity. “Endorphins are our body’s natural morphine and, when released by special glands in our brains, they can produce a sense of well-being or joy and also decrease pain levels.”


Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/depression-pictures/great-exercises-to-fight-depression.aspx#/slide-2