This epidemic is affecting an estimation of 400 million people globally, being diagnosed and treated for clinical depression. A mood disorder characterized by ongoing sadness, anger, loss or frustration that lasts for weeks, months, or years and interferes with one’s abilities to work, go to school, and perform the functions of normal daily life.
If you are facing a depression or know someone who is depressed below symptoms might be familiar to you.
Feelings linked to depression are
Negative distortion of worldview, negative attitude towards life, feeling hopelessness and helplessness. isolation, worthlessness, having low self-esteem, sadness, self-hate, guilt, agitation, irritability, anxiety, restlessness and being pessimistic. There are usually changes in appetite, with a tendency to weight gain and/or weight loss. Concentration becomes difficult; there are a present fatigue and low energy. This can lead to a headache, stomachache, digestive disturbance, loss of interest and pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed, even to the limit of having suicidal tendencies and being preoccupied with death. Another symptom linked can be insomnia or excessive sleep, worsening of the co-existing chronic disease.
Usually, the individual who suffers it does not want to ask for help; he/she prefers others to change or adjust. They sleep badly, even with the help of somniferous. They do not speak much or just little and have a tendency to flee out of the world. Depression is often confused with exhaustion.
Western medicine point of view does not identify a precise cause of depression, there are theories linking clinical depression to genetics, as well as to abnormalities in brain biochemistry. Depression can be triggered by disruption to normal brain chemistry caused by factors such as long-term sleep disturbance, long-term use of drugs affecting the endocrine system, patterns of drug and alcohol abuse, and diseases of the thyroid. It can also be triggered by stressful or traumatic events.
Allopathic medicine uses as treatment pharmaceutical anti-depressants, which mostly work by affecting the uptake of serotonin in the brain, and psychotherapy, which can help the patient increase awareness of thought patterns, develop skills to fight off negative thoughts, and explore unresolved personal issues, also through support groups. Electroconvulsive therapy (shock therapy) is used in extreme cases of depression, and light therapy is used in seasonal affective disorder, a seasonal form of depression.
Depression results from unresolved emotional wounds from the past, the emotional body has no concept of time, and can keep toxic emotions on its memory, especially if we neglect them, and then, they build up. The environment plays a big role and its crucial; financial problems, stress at work, dysfunctional home and/or work life… Without addressing and eliminating the “depressive” factors including our perception, which does not benefit our development, we will not be able to move on. In Ayurveda, the responsible to digest emotions and process them is Sadhaka Agni, which is sub-dosha of Pitta Dosha.
Strong Sadhaka Agni can be linked to emotional intelligence, being aware of your feelings, accepting them, you process them, without letting them rule you. There is a connection between your heart and head with both centers sending the right signals to one another at the right time. Sadhaka Agni also influences neurohormones. (Released by neuroendocrine cells). These neuroendocrine cells are in the brain, spinal cord, and the heart. The neurohormones in the heart send a signal to the brain to register any experience emotionally, either as negative or positive, according to the strength of your Sadhaka Agni.
How to strengthen and balance your Sadhaka Agni:
1- Connect with the Nature Biorhythm.
Wake up with the sun and sleep at night. Sleep the hours needed for the proper functioning of your constitution. It’s good to keep in mind that Sadhaka Agni gets weaken with sleeping in excess as well. Have your bigger meal in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its higher peak since our digestive capacity will be at its higher too.
2- Practice detachment.
Attachment is considered to be the root of suffering. Everything is temporally and we are in constant change, learn to find the magic of it!
3- Charge your prana.
Being in nature can restore our emotions and reduces our stress level, get some sun, practice “earthing”, walk bare feet, absorb nutrients from the soil, bath in the rivers or sea, let the water brush your emotions away changing your negative ions with positive ones, feel the trees, etc.
4- Balance Kapha Dosha.
Eat sattvic and some rajasic foods, mainly fresh organic plant-based diet filled with prana (vital life force), easy to digest combinations. Animal products are more tamasic and make the mind dull.
5- Yoga practice and exercise.
Exercise for the mind has a great positive impact on your health. Please read what asanas work best for depression here.
6- Meditate facing the sun.
If you are lucky enough to live in a country where the sun says hello to you every day, for you will be easier. Otherwise just try to meditate while you keep smiling. Meditation can give us clarity in order to put things in perspective. It brings awareness to every organ and please thank them for their contribution. Being and feeling grateful increases your vibration.
It is good to make sure that our hormones are balanced, and that we are not lacking minerals as magnesium or vitamins as Vitamin D, due to the lack of sun in the northern countries and the sun protection creams.
8- Avoid electronics use.
The use of electronics especially social media, Facebook and Instagram derange our vital energy since they disconnect us from our senses and our Prana, over-stimulation diminish our awareness and dulls the clarity of our intellect.
9- Raise the Agni.
After knowing your ayurvedic constitution it is important that you know what to consume to bring your Sadhaka Pitta up when it is low, but be careful if you have the tendency of having Pitta dosha higher. Black pepper, coriander, cumin, dried ginger, turmeric, clove, cardamom could assist your digestion.
10- Ayurvedic herbs.
Ayurveda has a wider range of herbs that should be always recommended by a practitioner or doctor, which can help you to overcome depression: Ashwagandha, Arjuna, Amla, Brahmi, Shatavari, Vacha, Ashoka, Manasatmitra, etc. They do not have secondary effects and besides addressing the issue will benefit the rest of the systems and organs. Properties vary per herb, please ask to advise to see which one is better for your situation.
Three different approaches; Western Medicine, Ayurveda, and the emotional conflicts.
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All the best!