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Over the last decade we have taken steps towards removing the stigma around mental health. With this has come a rise in treatment availability, and more research on mental health cures.
But we are not there yet.
It is estimated more than 16 million American adults are suffering from depression. With 40 million more are suffering from anxiety, it is apparent that we still need more mental health treatment options.
Like the five listed right here, for example.
Before the world of social media,we used to talk to our friends and family. We would discuss our problems, fears, and yes, even our feelings.
These conversations allowed us to connect with one another. It was where meaningful relationships were born. They also provided much needed opportunity to destress.
But now we don’t really talk about anything at all– especially mental health.
Which is why talk therapy can play an important part in the fight against depression and anxiety.
Talk therapy describes you talking through your problems, feelings, and fears with a trained professional (typically a psychoanalyst or psychiatrist).
All without fear of judgement.
These discussions help you find the cause of your mental health issues. They also teach you to better handle your emotions.
As a result, talk therapy has a huge impact on depression and anxiety.
For thousands of years ancient civilizations believed in the power of the sun (hell, some even worshipped it). They believed it healed the body and the spirit, increased vitality, and sharpened the mind.
Sounds a bit crazy to be honest.
But the really crazy thing is they were not far from the truth.
Research has shown when you make contact with sunlight, it increases the secretion of “feel good” hormones in your body. In this manner, it has been shown to improve emotional well being and protect against mental illness.
But the hard part comes down to actually getting in the sun often enough.
Hence the need for light therapy.
This great new treatment gets you standing (or sitting, your choice) next to a cool contraption known as a ‘light therapy box’ for between 30 and 60 minutes per day. This box exposes you to light that is exactly the same as sunlight.
With this in mind, light therapy improves your mental health in a massive way.
Most people realize their diet is important for physical health — but what they fail to realize is it’s important for mental health too.
Research has shown what you eat can play a role in the development and severity of depression.
If you eat a diet that is full to the brim with whole grains, beans, eggs, cheese, yogurt, green leafy vegetables, fish, poultry, and red meat, then you will get a number of key nutrients that are important for mental health.
Looking at this list of foods, it should come as no surprise that those who eat a Mediterranean diet often have much lower levels of depression and anxiety.
Conversely, if you eat a diet that is full of refined carbohydrates and sugars (like the modern western diet, for example…) then your risk of depression and anxiety increases.
Furthermore,alcohol consumption is also a known risk factor for nearly every mental illness under the sun — including depression and anxiety.
So avoid it where you can.
TMS (short for transcranial magnetic stimulation) is an interesting mental health treatment that was first developed in 1985.
Although it has only hit the mainstream over the last decade or so.
I use the word ‘interesting’ because TMS involves using small magnetic fields to stimulate your brain.
Like I said — interesting.
During a session of TMS, a small electromagnetic pad is placed on your forehead. This pad then sends a magnetic pulse directly into your brain, stimulating cells that manage your mood and emotional wellbeing.
As crazy as it may sound, these magnetic waves actually increase the activity of those brain cells, improving your mood and emotional wellbeing in the process.
TMS has proven to be effective at treating a number of nasty mental illnesses, it’s not only used for one specific task and that’s it. TMS helps anxiety, depression, OCD and much more!
I could not get to the end of this article without touching on exercise.
Like diet, when it comes to mental health, exercise can play an important role. To put it simply, exercise is one of the mostpowerful natural antidepressants on the planet.
I should also mention that it happens to be free.
Exercising in any way, shape, or form (yes, cardio and weights are included here) releases compounds called ‘neurotrophic growth factors’ into your brain. These compounds cause the nerves in your brain to grow larger and create new connections.
This is extremely important, because it has been shown to cause vast improvements in your mood and wellbeing.
Now, as important as this physiological phenomenon is, I should also note that even just the act of exercising can increase feelings of confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth.
All of which helps treat depression and anxiety even further.
Like I said — exercise is one of the most potent antidepressants on the planet.
Take Home Message
As common as depression and anxiety are in today’s society, there are certain steps you can take that can have a huge impact.
By implementing any of the treatments in this article, you can have a profound effect on your mental state and destroy your depression and anxiety. The more we talk about this, the less of a taboo topic it will become. Mental health is and always will be important, so take care of yourself and those close to you!
About the Author
About the Author Dr. Lindsay Israel is a board-certified psychiatrist. Her goal is to help patients feel empowered because their symptoms can leave them feeling powerless. She specializes in Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) therapy for the treatment of various psychiatric disorders.
TMS is FDA-approved for depression and is a non-invasive, non-medication alternative to traditional treatments. Dr. Israel’s depression treatment center, Success TMS, focuses on this advanced therapy which allows patients to achieve remission from depression and return back to their best lives.
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