Depression Treatment: Can Seaweeds Really Cure Depression?

How much do you know about seaweeds? You’ve probably had the experience of some of them clinging to you as you were jumping around in the ocean. You have also probably encountered them when eating sushi. But have you ever stopped to wonder about them?

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For many of us, the answers to those questions are “Not much” and “Not really” respectively. The topic of seaweeds is not one that will arise in any of our conversations. Yet, they are touted as one of the most beneficial plant matter in our world today.

Seaweeds are marine algae that are found in our oceans and seabeds. There are several types: kelp, wakame, arame, hijiki, dulse, agar, nori and kombu.

Benefits of Seaweeds

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Before today, you probably didn’t know seaweeds are good for you. The following are some of their benefits:

  • They are rich in nutrients as a food source e.g. iodine, potassium, magnesium and even protein.
  • Can be used as a toothpaste
  • Helps in weight loss
  • Promotes health by providing essential vitamins and minerals
  • Seaweed baths are said to cure diseases such as arthritis. They cleanse the body of toxins and they are also known to deal with fatigue and tension. Seaweed baths also re-hydrate your skin.
  • Source of alternative energy
  • Increases libido
  • Increases metabolism
What about the link to Depression?

Issues relating to depression are not only about emotional health and well-being but also about nutritional well-being. Some authors from the past understood the relationship between what we ate and how it affected us.

Ludwig Feurebach wrote in his 1860s essay, Concerning Spiritualism and Materialism, that “You are what you eat.” [translation]. Even the famous writer Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

You see, the quality of our health is intrinsically linked with the quality (and availability) of vitamins and minerals in our system. What is scurvy other than a vitamin C deficiency? What is hypothyroidism and goitre if not problems caused by iodine deficiencies?

The same concept is true of depression. While there are other factors that might lead to depression, there are nutritional causes as well. Here are some of the nutritional deficiencies that lead to depression:

  • Iodine
  • Vitamins B, C and D
  • Zinc
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Calcium

With these deficiencies in mind, this is where seaweed comes in.

As already mentioned, seaweeds have great nutritional value. They provide all the minerals mentioned above as the deficiencies that lead to depression. Plus, they are high in fiber, which is useful for digestive health.

Therefore, it is expected that incorporating seaweeds into your dietary plans – as well as fixing other issues in your life – will help ward off depression.

I was tempted to write in my introduction that this is the “strangest news you have heard recently”. I realize now, that everything that deals with mental health issues is outside what many consider the ‘norm’. Despite having the term ‘weed’ in its name, seaweeds offer more favourable outcomes to our health and to our lives if used in the proper manner.

If you’ve been looking for an alternative way to treat your depression, then perhaps seaweeds are the solution for you.

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Depressing Music: Is it Bad for You?

Some songs seem to resonate deep inside you. You don’t know why and you don’t know how, but every core of your being tells you that this song was made just for you.

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Even with all the dangers that depression poses to our lives, we seem unabashedly drawn to sad songs. You feel the sadness coursing through you. Your eyes well up as you feel the pain the artist is expressing. All the experiences you’ve ever had that relate to the song spring quickly to your mind. This song was made just for you.

Why are we so drawn to depressing music?

Music has always been an integral part of human culture. Particular sounds – even the basic humming of a song – arouse our curiosity and activate our pleasure centers. Everything about life is about rhythm. Our hearts move to a particular beat. We walk to a particular rhythm. Even the birds gliding together in the sky seem to be moving to a particular rhythm. They are the unnoticed songs of our lives.

But with a wide variety of music that we can choose from, why do we seem extremely drawn to sad songs?

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A study published in 2013 on Interpersonal Relationships and Preferences for Mood-Congruency in Aesthetic Experiences by  Chan Jean Lee, Eduardo B. Andrade, and Stephen E. Palmer said that the songs we choose to listen to are influenced by our most recent life experiences.

In another part of the world, researchers from the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany, concluded in their journal that sad music comforts us and acts as a coping mechanism during trying times. In her interview on Today Health, one of the researchers, Liila Taruffi, said that sad music has the “potential to regulate negative moods and emotions, as well as to provide consolation… In this sense, sad music can play a role in well-being.” She also pointed out that sometimes we listen to sad music for “pleasure”.

This positive effect conclusion was also reached by researchers from the Tokyo University of the Arts and the RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan. In their published study in the Frontiers in Psychology journalthe consensus was that “Emotion experienced by music has no direct danger or harm unlike the emotion experienced in everyday life. Therefore, we can even enjoy unpleasant emotion such as sadness.”

Another study by researchers in the University of Kent and Limerick found that sad music improved people’s moods especially if the song was held in high aesthetic regard. Dr Annemieke van den Tol explained that “people’s music choice is linked to the individual’s own expectations for listening to music and its effects on them.”

Despite this glowing praise for depressing music – and the fact that we are the ones who choose to listen to it – is it possible that it has the potential to affect our health negatively? Unfortunately, Yes!

Potential Danger of Listening to Depressing Music

As we have said in past articles here and here, depression isn’t something that strikes you overnight. It is an insidious threat; slowly getting more and more power over your life until you feel overwhelmed. So why would you risk feeding such a dangerous adversary?

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Dr. Brian Primark, ​Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health and Society in the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences and Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Research on Media, Technology, and Health, undertook a study on the effect of music on teens. He concludes that, “It is not clear whether depressed people begin to listen to more music to escape, or whether listening to large amounts of music can lead to depression, or both.

In the above quote he does not specify whether depressing music causes depression. He merely states that listening to music for long hours can cause depression. Very interesting.

But in the next quote he seems to draw the same conclusions as those from the researchers mentioned above:

“Sadness is a common theme in popular music, and it may be that individuals with depression turn to these messages to make themselves feel less alone in their sadness. Conversely, it may also be that individuals with MDD (Major Depressive Disorder) turn to happy music to ‘tune out’ their negative moods or to elevate their moods.”

We tend to become what we normally feed our minds and what we repeatedly do. If we continually listen to dark and depressing music, this constant state of sadness, re enacting negative experiences and ruminating about our failures can turn into depression.

It is a fine line between allowing ourselves to feel pain and sadness in order to let it go, and actually letting sadness become our state of being. Those who already have a genetic disposition toward depression are even at greater risk.

Even though people use depressing music as an escape from their actual pain, it still holds sway over their feelings and emotions. Once the emotions get raw and intense, it can lead to other negative feelings of guilt, self-pity, anger and feeling unloved. Remember, depression takes over slowly.

Thoughts

So yet again, why would you risk feeding such a dangerous adversary? Is the pleasure you derive from the beautiful but depressing song worth the potential danger that it poses to your health? Does our desire to temporarily allow ourselves to feel sad enable us to cope with our feelings or are we slowly and slowly plunging ourselves into the clutches of depression?

We are using music to escape from our lives. We are trying to avoid facing the reality that we are in pain because of a negative experience that we have gone through. Feeding that pain and searing our hearts with the sad emotions that ensue when we listen to depressing music can alter the brain chemistry. Once the brain is affected, then we are already treading on a dangerous path. The question you need to ask yourself is, “Is it worth it?”.

Even as we come to terms with the potential pitfalls of music, we must still pay homage to something that is part of our being; something that moves us and inspires us to the greatest ideals in living. Friedrich Nietzsche put it best when he said, “Without music, life would be a mistake”.

What’s Your Take on Assisted Suicide?

It’s a story that seems to be cropping up more often these days. It’s in the newspapers, on online magazines, on Twitter feeds and other news streams. There always seems to be some kind of legal case going on where the defendants are fighting for the right to end their lives.

In a time where freedom and rights of expression are fought for valiantly across continents and through the internet, having the power to take your own life ‘legally’ is still a thorny issue.

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There are countries that allow assisted suicide; these include Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Canada and some states in America. The scope of these versions of assisted suicide is different in all states, with Switzerland being the most liberal of them all. The rest mostly fall in the “you can only end your life legally if you are diagnosed as having less than half a year to live”.

There has always been that paradox whereby you are asked, “If killing one person could save the lives of many, would you do it?” At first it seems that the obvious answer is “Yes”, till you are confronted with the realization that you will still have to take a life. It is here that most people falter. You come to the conclusion that every single life is sacred.

Life of Pain Versus Assisted Suicide

Why is there an increasing number of people who support assisted suicide? Is it that our moral compass is not as strong as it used to be in the old days? After all, the laws banning suicide are from a bygone era. In those days, they knew that they could not give anyone an escape from life. You had to bear your burdens and your fate.

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Or have we all become just more empathetic than our forebears? We are filled with tears when we see young people who have barely reached puberty dying slowly from cancer or from other life threatening health conditions. Who can say no to a fellow human being who feels pain coursing through their bodies with every breath they take? Is any one of us justified in making laws that deny people the right to make a decision about their own lives?

The Value of Life

We have talked before about how life is a shared experience; how we are all connected by invisible threads. It is thought that the individual is not merely responsible for his/her own life but rather it is society as a whole which is responsible for an individual’s life. You’ve probably spotted police officers encouraging someone not to commit suicide. You have also probably watched movies whereby they depict the lead actor/actress as talking to a person standing on the ledge of a tall building telling him/her that their life is important and that they should step down. If movies represent the ideals of the society, are we saying we believe that life should be safeguarded no matter who it belongs to? If not, do we differentiate between committing suicide and having assisted suicide for medical reasons?

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Again, the waters get murky. Is it really right for me as a human being to sit idly by while someone suffers the pain of terminal illness? Is it even right for people to end their lives on their own terms? By participating in the assisted suicide situation, does that make you a killer?

So we are caught between a rock and a hard place: should we help those in need? Yes. Does participating in assisted suicide mean that you will be responsible for someone’s death (thereby making you a murderer)? Should we legalize assisted suicide?

Conclusion

It seems there are more questions than answers. At the end of the day, you have to look within yourself and decide what you believe in and how you can make the world around you a better place.

What’s your take on assisted suicide?

No Matter What Happens, Never Give Up!

You are going to go through a lot of pain in this world; that is guaranteed. There will be sickness, heartbreak, loss and failure. These things will make you feel weak and insignificant. In other moments, you will find yourself feeling alone and judged. In others, you will be indifferent to what is going on around you. Worse still, there will be moments when you will believe that the world would be a better place if you were dead.

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No one signed up for this. You were put here for a reason. It is up to everyone to find their own purpose in life. Finding one’s purpose can also become a pain. After all, what are you supposed to do if you don’t know what you are meant to be doing? Sometimes it can even take a lifetime to discover what your purpose is and it’s frustrating when you look around and everyone else seems to know what their purpose is. You see your friends, your neighbours and your family members waking dutifully everyday to fulfil whatever their purpose might be and you are just there wasting away into insignificance.

How can you not get jealous? You look around and all your peers seem to have ‘made it’ in life. Look at their big house; their amazing spouse; look at the big, expensive car they are driving. Where did you go wrong? How will you get out of your rut? Even the people closest to you don’t believe in you anymore. You could have been this; you could have been that. Just face the facts, you are a failure. The world would be better off without you in it.

Don’t Believe Them. You Have a Purpose in the World

Despite how harsh life may seem, there is always one constant: Everything in life happens for a Reason.

No matter what happens to you, there is a reason; a story that is being created from that moment you have experienced. The reality is that every important lesson you learn is going to be painful, in one way or another. There is no escaping it. Life will lift you up and throw you down and there is no guarantee you will land on a pillow. You are going to get hurt mentally and emotionally.

Wherever you are and no matter what it is you are going through, don’t ever give up. It may take a while for you to get out of the rut you are in but if you stay positive, eventually you will make it out. Your painful journey changes you in so many imperceptible ways. But at the end of it all, you will realize that all your struggles were merely chipping away at the person you are not in order to reveal to you who you really are.

You are stronger than you have ever known or imagined. Problems in your life seem greater than you but they can be overcome.

Ryan Blair, in his book ‘Nothing to Lose’, says that, “All pain in life is derived to make you stronger; a battle test from God. The greater the test, the greater the strength you will derive from it”. No matter where you run to you will not be able to escape pain. It is inevitable. Dr. Viktor Frankl says in his book ‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’, that we can never truly lose everything because we are still left with the power to choose how we will respond to the problems in our lives. We have the power to decide our attitude toward our problems.

In life, you are not meant to have the same experiences as your family members, neighbours or friends. Everyone will get what is meant for them and so will you. Comparing yourself to other people will only make you bitter and jealous. You will pierce your soul with envy. The better thing to do, instead, is to choose what you will focus on. Look closely at your life and you will find you have a lot of things to be grateful for. You might not have the big car or the house but you have your body. You might not have the latest smartphone but you have your mind intact. These are just examples of things you can be grateful for. You will be happier when you do so.

What do you do now?

As Anthony Robbins says, “It’s not what’s happening to you now or what has happened in your past that determines who you become. Rather, it’s your decisions about what to focus on, what things mean to you, and what you’re going to do about them that will determine your ultimate destiny”.

Everyone who has achieved anything significant has gone through failure. Failure is not a bad thing. It just shows you what you need to correct in order to succeed. If the people around you mock you or make you feel unworthy of love then you need to leave them behind. All the people who truly care about you will want the best for you and will encourage you. Those are the people you need to surround yourself with.

Just remember that the “Night is darkest just before dawn”. You will go through tough times. Believe me, you can bear the pain and come out a better and stronger person. So no matter what happens, never give up!

Coping With Depression

It’s not easy dealing with depression. At times, you don’t even know you are depressed until you get to the point where you believe death is your only solution to life’s problems.

For those who have experienced depression, it is a memory that brings a tinge of regret at having fallen way off on the goals you had set for your life. No one ever imagines themselves being in such a desperate situation. Yet, it happens to many of us. Not even the high and mighty in society are immune to it. It is an insidious foe that leads our lives to despair.

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Symptoms of Depression

Depression starts slowly and can even develop over a couple of years. What’s important to note with mental health issues is that, some problems are genetically linked while others are due to external circumstances. There are some symptoms one needs to look out for to identify depression before it takes root in our lives:

  • excessive stress;
  • constant fatigue even when you have not done a lot of work;
  • changes in our sleeping patterns e.g. oversleeping excessively;
  • indifference to day-to-day life issues;
  • irritability;
  • wanting to be alone more often;
  • experiencing loneliness even when you are around people;
  • feeling hopeless and miserable;
  • reduced productivity at work;
  • inability to concentrate on any task;
  • loss of enthusiasm;
  • lack of appetite or interest in eating;

Some of these symptoms become significant once depression has started taking shape in our lives. Depression manifests when our world is out of balance; when we feel (even without realizing it) that we no longer have control over what happens in our lives. It is this lack of control that leads to suicidal thoughts.

Unfortunately, we only ever research such issues once they have affected our lives; sometimes with drastic effects. Before we become mental health victims or know someone who is affected, none of these issues are ever relevant. Nevertheless, we can learn to cope with depression once we understand how it affects us.

How to Cope

There are a couple of things you can do to help you cope with depression:

  1. Establish a support system

We all need a confidant; someone who we can share our life’s goals, dreams and problems. It can be a family member or a friend. Having someone you can talk to about your problems gives you a different perspective of what you are going through. Sometimes we just need to get something off our chests to help us feel better. Having someone you can trust, who will listen to your problems without judging you, will enable you to understand issues better and perhaps even help you get a solution faster.

Depression pops up because we bottle a lot of problems. Life is not easy. Everyone is going through some sort of struggle in their lives. The more you keep unresolved issues inside you, the more likely you will get anxious about it. Once you feel you are losing control over your life, you start getting stressed. It is vicious cycle. Find a group of people who care about you and want to help you resolve your problems. It will keep you from suffering a relapse into depression.

  1. Address Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety and stress always tie in with depression. When you are constantly anxious and stressed, it might feel like the walls are closing in on you. You have nowhere to run and no one to help you. The people closest to you can even make you feel worthless. They might not understand what you are going through and therefore they can put pressure on you to resolve whatever it is that is troubling you.

What people on the outside might not understand is that you feel helpless in your situation. Depression is the same. You feel all alone; all your problems are yours to solve. What can you do to get yourself out of this mess? Should you even bother anymore?

Once you get out of a depressive state, you learn about all the triggers that brought you this mental health issue. Therefore, from now on, you have to learn to resolve any problem in your life that is causing you a lot of anxiety and stress. Get your support system to help you tackle everything quickly and move on.

  1. Get outside

One of the key issues that leads to depression is not getting enough sunlight. It is strange how important the sun is to our health. People who are depressed spend all their time indoors wallowing in their suffering. Getting some sun rays and a breath of fresh air outdoors has a massive impact on our health and overall well-being. So go outside more often and take walks near parks and rivers. You will feel rejuvenated.

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  1. Exercise Regularly

Exercise is important, not only for those who are fighting depression, but also for every other health problem in our lives. Exercise contributes to our well-being by releasing beneficial chemicals into our blood stream and helping our bodies combat illness. Exercising also keeps the mind fresh and active thereby boosting mental health.

  1. Sleep Well

Sleep deprivation is now linked to a host of health issues in our lives. Depression is one of them. Solving your sleeping problem will go a long way in helping you cope with depression. Poor sleeping patterns lead to other health problems such as diabetes and heart disease, which will in turn cause you stress and anxiety. Everything is cycle. You have to cut off all problems at their root before they cause other issues that can reignite your battle against depression.

Nowadays, there are sleep monitors and sleep tracking devices that can help you figure out the changes you can make in order to get the most out of your sleeping time.

  1. Seek Professional Help

People often turn to professionals when they are overwhelmed. Depression is an overwhelming problem that requires patience and assistance from others in order to manage it fully. A medical professional can prescribe medication that can help you with this problem. Doctors and therapists are also adept at giving advice and guidance that can help you to cope with depression and move on in your life.

Thoughts

Dealing with depression is not easy and it will require great effort from you in order to cope with it. For those who have not experienced it, you can try to keep it at bay by following some of the ideas listed here.

Please remember one thing: You are stronger than you realize. Many other people have faced depression and overcome it. You can do it too. Accept that despite all the challenges you face, life is still beautiful. Find your purpose in life and go out boldly to try to achieve it. Remember to give to others. What you give, you will receive tenfold. Be there for other people who are struggling in life and it will give you a better perspective of your own life and what you need to do to improve it.

When You Feel All Alone

You have no one to talk to. Even when you are in a room full of people, you can’t seem to fit in. You are isolated. You are invisible. There is no one you can trust anymore; everyone you know is unreliable. You have so much you want to share; so much you want to say. But, you know deep down that no one will understand.

Everything that was once good in your life is now bad. Your relationships are broken. All the people you depended on have turned their back on you. No one wants to support your goals. They all think you are a fool. They sneer at you; waiting for you to fail so that they can gloat that they had warned you but you didn’t listen. You keep trying to prove yourself but, no matter what you do, it’s always one step forward and two steps back. You have failed at everything but there is no one to pick you up except yourself. But how can you raise your spirits when you no longer believe in yourself?

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It’s a hard truth to take; but let’s face it: You are all alone!

The Pain of Feeling All Alone

There is a saying (I’m paraphrasing) that says, “We can’t live alone because we are all connected by invisible threads”. Akin to the overused “No man is an island” quote, this saying goes to show that we are not meant to exist in solitude. Humans are social creatures. We crave interaction with others. That’s how some people get lonely. You find yourself in a room full of people who you don’t have a connection with and, therefore, you feel isolated. You might even feel sorry for yourself and start thinking that there is something wrong with you.

Being lonely, though, is different from feeling alone. That feeling of being alone goes a little bit deeper into the core of our being. When your emotional standing and your mind are overwhelmed by sadness and hopelessness, then depression is at your door.

Loneliness can be cured by establishing a worthwhile connection with someone. Feeling alone incorporates loneliness, sadness, hopelessness, anger directed at yourself and at the world, and the pain of failure. What is it about you that makes you so unlovable? Why won’t people listen to you? Why doesn’t anyone understand you? Does anyone even care about you?

Enemy at the Gate

There is a reason why people go mad when they are cut off from the world. Anyone who has been shipwrecked or survived a plane crash in some jungle somewhere has started experiencing hallucinations as they desperately call out for a much-needed companion. Even children are known to exhibit this desire for connection by having ‘imaginary friends’. Having ‘a friend’ they can trust serves as a coping mechanism to what life brings their way.

For adults, it is important to have someone you can share ideas with; someone who you can turn to when you are stressed or going through trying situations in your life; or someone to just share a laugh with. It is a social phenomenon that psychologists continue studying. Even in the Christian Bible, there is the instance whereby Adam in the Creation Story found himself feeling lonely and God provided a companion for him. We all need someone.

That is not to say we are not self-sufficient. That’s also not to say that we can’t deliberately isolate ourselves for the purpose of meditation or rebooting our systems. Feeling all alone is a desperate situation for anyone to go through.

What to do When You Feel All Alone

Unfortunately, there isn’t a ‘one-size fits all’ solution. Humans are complex creatures having different experiences in the world. Nevertheless, you bear the great responsibility of getting out of the rut. You need to analyze your choices, your circumstances and your thoughts to determine where you have gone wrong. You need to see everything with new eyes.

  1. Fight Depression

If you are lucky to spot the symptoms of sinking into depression, it is important to get yourself out of it before it takes hold over your life. Depression is a different beast to deal with and it has feeling alone as one of its symptoms. You can read some articles about depression here and here.

  1. Do away with toxic relationships

If you don’t feel you can trust the people in your life, go ahead and make new friends and connections. We make the mistake of holding on to people and relationships that do more harm than good. Why would you want to keep around someone who makes you feel insignificant? Why would you let someone break you down everyday telling you how worthless you are?

  1. Seek out positive people

Realize how valuable you are and seek out people who see your value and encourage you to be better. If someone really loves and cares about you, they will do everything to be in your life and to contribute positively to it.

  1. Communicate your feelings and move on

This is difficult to do. One of the reasons you feel alone is because you think no one ever listens to you. Give people a chance and find a way to get them to sit down and hear you out without commenting. Share your feelings to them and how their actions have affected you. The people who care about you will acknowledge their mistakes. Some might even be shocked that this is how you’ve been feeling and they didn’t know they were hurting you. Take note of those who dismiss what you have shared with them and cull them from your life. You don’t need them.

  1. Have a plan and purpose for your life

Many of the mental, emotional and physical problems we encounter in our lives can all be tied back to our life plans and life purpose. You are where you are because of the choices you have made and the circumstances that surround your life. Once you take responsibility for where you are in life, you can plan out what you need to do to improve your life. Having a purpose will guide that plan and it will serve as a plane of reference every time you start feeling lost.

In life, there will always be moments when circumstances batter you and you find yourself fighting fire on your own. Years of experience teach us that only true friends will stick around when your world is in turmoil. These are the people you need to find and have in your life.

I have always said this and I ask you yet again to be there for others. Everyone is going through a battle in life and it takes just a moment of your time to change their lives. Today, decide to be there for someone. You might think you have nothing to offer because you are also going through some things in your life. But what you give in life always comes back to you tenfold. Share the love and be there for someone and tomorrow you will not need to look far for a friend.

2015: The Keys to a Healthier You

The new year brings a sense of pride in having survived 2014 and a sense of optimism for what the future holds in store in 2015.

There are those who are excited about what they are setting out to accomplish, whereas others are merely trudging along, dealing with situations in their lives as they arise. For those with mental health issues or know someone with a mental health problem, life is looked upon with different eyes. There are challenges that seem more daunting than they really are while others are simply overwhelming.

Looking to the future

This year, 2015, provides a great opportunity to utilize all the information we have gathered in the previous year to set ourselves on the path of being healthy. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Go for a medical check-up

With sky-rocketing costs of medicine and healthcare insurance premiums, it is easy to avoid visiting the hospital when you are ‘feeling fine’. There are many diseases which don’t exhibit any symptoms until your immune system is fully compromised and overwhelmed. Going to the hospital for a check-up has helped a lot of people to spot life-threatening diseases before they took hold over the body. So, no matter what the prices look like, remember that you are saving yourself more money by knowing the status of your health.

As recently mentioned, you can ask your doctor to test for the MTFHR gene mutation which will give you a heads up on whether your family will be beset with mental health issues. While some mental health issues can be linked with one’s lifestyle, the key cause of mental health issues lies within this gene mutation. You can spare your family a lot of heartache by getting tested and knowing your status, so that you can live responsibly and also so that you can be better taken care of. It is always better to know the monster you are facing.

  1. Learn to Manage Stress

Stress is an essential component of our lives. It makes us more aware of our decisions and choices, and it also helps us identify problems and solve them. In our society today, stress can become unmanageable to the extent that one’s quality of life deteriorates. Stress affects relationships, hinders personal development and even weakens the body’s immune system thus making people prone to diseases such as heart disease and high blood pressure.

You need to find ways of managing stress. The first thing you should do is identify the stressors and take charge. If you are always reacting to the stress that means you are not in control of your life. Be more assertive and don’t take on more than you can handle. But most importantly, you should approach any problem with a positive attitude and perspective.

  1. Keep depression at bay

Depression is a silent killer. Many people never know they are depressed until their lives break down completely. Other people never know that someone – including a loved one – is suffering from depression until that person shares their problem or attempts to commit suicide. Everyone is going through some sort of struggle and it is easy to suffer in silence because no one seems to care about you.

Stay healthy and free from depression by managing your stress better. Ensure that you maintain your social life and interact with other people. Go outside and get some sunshine and some fresh air. Find a purpose in life that excites you and pursue it. These are just some ideas to tackle depression before it ruins your life.

For more information on how to keep depression at bay, you can read my article here.

  1. Help others. It will help you.

We spend our whole lives focussing on ourselves: our problems, our relationships, our happiness etc. There’s just too much going on in our lives to focus on other people. Life however shows that by helping others, we help ourselves. Once you shift your focus from your life and struggles and focus on someone else, you begin to see life in different eyes. You get a new perspective on what is important in life.

One issue that I highlighted last year was that, people don’t ask others how they are doing. Sometimes people struggle in silence and it takes someone who cares to understand them and uplift their spirits by sharing in their pain. Aim to be that person this year. It will work wonders on your health as you will have different approach to life. Empathising with others also gifts you a mental fortitude to help you in your life’s journey.

  1. Keep your mind active

Parkinson’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease. These are all mental health diseases that have brought fear and pain to our society. Some mental health illnesses can be kept at bay by constantly keeping your brain active. This year, choose to become a reader. Read a lot and gather a lot of information. Analyse things in your mind and challenge your brain to solve complex issues and recall information.

There is a fear amongst people that as you get older, your memory wanes. Well, if you don’t exercise your brain, this issue will become your reality sooner rather than later. Exercise your mind. It will protect you from diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

Staying healthy this year and beyond, is important not only for you but for the people who love you. Keep yourself healthy and have a positive outlook on life. Things are not always as bad as they seem.

Happy New Year. Have a Blessed 2015!