Depression And The Body, Mind And Spirit
A great deal of modern depression stems from a mismatch between our human bodies (and brains) and our modern environment. Human beings were never meant to be so sedentary, so alone, and to eat such highly processed, nutrient-deficient food. This mismatch is responsible for much of the poor physical health that physicians see daily, and it is equally at fault for the modern depression epidemic.
Many of the treatments that we will cover in this blog will address this mismatch and will be roughly divisible into three realms:
- Body: According to the principles of integrative medicine, body and mind are inextricably linked. This is because the brain in not only the “residence” of the mind, it is also a physical organ with very specific needs. It must receive the proper flow of properly oxygenated blood, it must be shielded from effects of alcohol and other potentially harmful drugs and so on. This means that the same therapies that lead to physical well-being – proper exercise, nutrition and periodic rest – are essential to emotional health as well.
- Mind: While caring for the body can support a healthy brain, the mind requires its own “nutrients” to function optimally – nutrients like stimulation, a sense of self-esteem, an ability to circumvent negative thoughts and so on. Mental nutrition can be part of day-to-day life – such as becoming more social, or eliminating negative or painful human relationships – but can also be pursued in a more specific, focused way, such as pursuing a course of psychotherapy.
- Spirit: Spirit-based therapies aim to nurture the unchanged essence within all of us, the core that defines our being. Meditation, for example, is held by practitioners to facilitate communion with a higher, deeper reality, one that we need to contact periodically for refreshment and strength at the most profound levels of our being. If you are uncomfortable with “spiritual” ideas, simply think of these therapies as extensions of ones covered in the “Mind” strategies.
When body, mind and spirit work together in harmony, physical and mental wellness are likely to follow. Visit often for tips, articles and more on how to promote the health of your body, mind and spirit.