5 Ways to Boost Your Mental Health

Scientists tell us there are certain things we can do to improve our mental wellbeing. These techniques will help you feel more positive about yourself.

They teach you how to ride the lows and wait out the lows. Once you know that, nothing can stop you from getting what you want out of life.

Today, we’re going to share with you five ways to boost your mental health. Keep reading for more.

1. Connect With Others

Good relationships don’t need years to build. They can form in a matter of months, or weeks even. Plus, they don’t have to be an all-in, best-friends-for-life type of relationship.

Just talking to a neighbor or members of your church can have a great impact on your mental health. You learn to listen, empathize, and build a strong sense of self-worth and value.

Have you and a friend not seen each other in a while? Then, reach out and try to arrange a coffee date so you can get together and catch up.

How about your children or other family members? Why not try to set an hour during the day where you talk or play games?

We all know how social media has become an important part of our lives. And it’s made it easier to stay in touch with important people in our lives, especially if they live far away.

It’s good to text and chat on a regular basis. Just make sure technology isn’t replacing your face-to-face communications with people.

2. Learn New Skills

Learning a new skill or hobby can have a significant boost on your mental health. It’s an excellent way to meet new people and improve your self-esteem.

It’s nice to have a sense of purpose, other than your work. It gives you something to look forward to each day.

The problem, however, is many people complain they don’t have enough hours in the day. Luckily, though, technology has made learning more accessible.

Here are some of the ways you can use those high-tech gadgets you have to good use:

• Sign up for an online course, like learning a new language or a practical skill like programming

• Look for free video tutorials online to help you out with a DIY project

• If you enjoy cooking, find healthy recipes and learn how to make them

• Try a new hobby that challenges and entertains you, like painting, writing, or gardening

• Learn to play a new sport or physical activity

3. Pay More Attention

We’re all guilty of not paying attention to people and things going on around us. We’re always busy with work or scrolling through our social media feed.

Learning to focus all your senses on the present moment can improve your mental well-being. It also boosts your mood and lowers stress levels. Experts call this type of focus ‘mindfulness’.

When you practice mindfulness, you enjoy the little things in life. Things like watching a bird soar overhead or taking in the nuances of nature are just two small examples.

When you’re in tune with the small details, you feel more relaxed and at peace. Plus, you start to get a better understanding of what makes you happy or anxious, which is a healthy way to approach life’s challenges.

4. Get Physically Active

When you do any type of physical activity, you boost your physical fitness, as well as your mental wellness. It could be a short 15-minute walk, an hour of cycling each week, or 30 minutes at the gym. You pick the activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good.

Then, once you start noticing the difference, you start to feel good about your looks. That’s when your confidence will soar through the roof.

In addition, your brain signals the nervous central system to release ‘feel-good’ hormones known as endorphins. These wonder chemicals trigger a positive response, which boosts your mood. They also reduce feelings of pain and anxiety.

Check out the following tips on how to get moving to boost your mental health:

• Look online for free activities catered to your fitness level

• Find local centers where you can dance, swim, or cycle

• Try running with a ‘couch to 5K’ app or podcast

• If you have a chronic health condition or a disability, there are many exercise’s and physical activities that can be customized to meet your needs

5. Give to Others

According to research, acts of kindness and giving are great ways to improve your mental well-being. The reason is that when we help others, our brains trigger the release of another ‘feel-good’ hormone called oxytocin.

This chemical promotes feelings of empathy and trust. It also makes us calmer, happier, and more inspired to do more.

Giving to others could be volunteering at a local shelter or helping out someone on a personal level. The point is to offer your time and energy doing something for other people. In return, you’ll feel good about yourself, knowing that you’re valued and appreciated

Are you in a mood?

How’s your mood? Is it cheerful, irritable, fearful, or optimistic? Does your mood change from day to day, or is it relatively constant? Do you find that your mood creates problems in your relationship at home, school, or work?

When someone asks you how your mood is doing, it’s usually not because your mood is cheery and light, right? Someone has noticed a change in your attitude or demeanor. Perhaps this has been going on for some time, or it changes from day to day. People often get offended by this question precisely because of their negative feelings. It can feel like criticism or a put-down like you are a problem to them. But asking about your mood may be an attempt for others to understand what is going on. They may want to help but don’t know how difficult it is to explain when you are unsure about what is happening!

No one wants to feel sad or grumpy. We want to be happier, optimistic, open to new experiences, and deeply connected to others. That is not always the reality. Some people may not shake their negative moods, no matter how hard they try. Is this your situation?

If you could flip a switch on your mood, you would, wouldn’t you? It is hard to have a greater thought than your most intense feeling.

Let Ron Huxley help you today!

What is a “mood”?

A mood is an affective state that can last for days, months, or even a lifetime. In contrast to emotions or feelings, moods are not as intense, may reflect a general state of mind, or, if persistent, become descriptive of your personality. Moods aren’t usually swayed by external events, or not for very long. You might be intensely happy about a job promotion or getting an “A” on a test, but you quickly return to feeling angry or sad. What happened? There is no reason to feel this way. The reason is due to the nature of mood.

We describe the mood as an attitude, spirit, temper, tenor, disposition, tendency, or character. A parent might say that their teenager is “in a mood.” A spouse might tell a friend, “don’t bother him right now; he’s in one of his moods.” It can also be a way to describe a strong desire or craving, as in, “I am in the mood for ice cream” or, like the famous song states: “I am in the mood for love.”

Creative works of art can be said to have a mood. Masterful literature or film has light, cheery, or dark moods and is somber in tone. The story, song, or painting might be reflective, gloomy, romantic, mysterious, calm, hopeful, angry, fearful, tense, or lonely. These works of art resonate with our current mood. Comfort can be found in a book, movie, or lyric. Soundtracks give scenes in a film a mood that creates tension, fear, and drama.

We are so moody or easily swayed in our moods because human beings are hardwired social-emotional creatures. Moods can be contagious and quickly picked up by being around someone else who is in a different mood than us. A dark and depressing mood can promptly shift the atmosphere of the room. You weren’t depressed before you walked into the room, but now, one second later, you are. We think we are “bipolar,” but this is just being social-emotional creatures.

Test this out: the next time you have a sudden mood switch, look around you and notice who is in the room and how they are acting? You might spot the culprit giving off negative vibes that you are picking up.

Take a deep breath of relief and let your confusion and negative energy on. Breathe in and tell yourself: “the feeling is not about me,” and on the exhale, release it. Want this means about yourself is that you are empathic and sensitive, two wonderful human traits.

As a therapist with three decades of experience working with people with mood disorders and trauma, I have discovered some practical tools to help “flip the switch.” Schedule a session today!

Depression Screening Tool

* If you are experiencing severe depression and feel that you no longer want to live, please call 911 immediately. This tool is not a replacement for depression treatment or psychotherapy. If want to schedule an appointment with Ron Huxley for therapy, please click here!




Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which stops you from doing your normal activities. Different types of depression exist, with symptoms ranging from relatively minor to severe. Generally, depression does not result from a single event, but from a mix of events and factors.

Depression Screening Tool:

(The following criteria may be noticed by you or observed by others within the same two week period)

Do you feel sad or empty most of the day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Have you been lacking interest or pleasure in all, or almost all,
activities most of the day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Have you noticed a significant weight loss when not dieting or
weight gain or major change in appetite nearly every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Do you have trouble going to sleep or sleeping too much nearly every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Are you feeling agitated or sluggish nearly every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Do you experience fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Have you been feeling worthless or experiencing an excessive amount
of guilt nearly every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

Are you having trouble thinking, concentrating, or being indecisive, nearly
every day?
Yes – 1 point/ NO –0 points

*Need five points minimum to qualify as Major Depressive Disorder. This screen should not be confused with an actual diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. If you feel you are having a problem in this area, please consult with a professional, such as your physician.

Need a Mood Boost?

As we enter the holiday season, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, we could all use a little boost in our mood. For some, this is not a time of good cheer. It is a time for increased depression and anxiety.

How do we improve our mood?

How To Actively Improve Your Mood

There are many ways to actively improve your mood. The most obvious is to feel good about yourself.

Other reasons are probably not as obvious to you. Although, they’re pretty obvious to your mental and physical health.

Let’s talk about some of these reasons and how they can influence everything that goes on in our lives.

Improve Your Mental Health

Your mental wellness affects your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. It helps reduce stress, as well as help you cope with challenges and setbacks.

Having strong mental health doesn’t mean the absence of anxiety, fears, and worries. Going through difficult times is a natural part of living.

Yet, when you’re in good shape mentally and emotionally, you bounce back faster. You have the tools needed to face all these things head-on with confidence and resilience.

Being resilient means you stay flexible and focused when life throws you a curveball. You have confidence in your abilities to deal with whatever the future has in store.

Here are some extra perks that come when you boost your mental wellbeing and improve your mood.

  • You have a sense of contentment with life in general
  • You maintain a hearty dose of confidence and self-esteem
  • You see opportunities where others see none
  • You enjoy living and can laugh at yourself
  • You balance work and play
  • You build healthy relationships

Polish Up on Your Social Skills

We’re social creatures. We thrive when we feel connected to others.

This doesn’t mean we have to be surrounded by people all the time every day. It just means that our brains crave companionship in varying degrees.

Yes, you can always call or text. They certainly have their place and time in our busy, hectic lives.

Still, nothing beats the mood-boosting power of sitting down with family or friends. That quality face-to-face time is priceless.

You sit, you talk, and you listen — pretty basic right? But for your brain, it’s revolutionary!

Here’s why: studies show that our brains are wired for connectivity. Certain areas of our brains light up when we do volunteer work or spend some time with a friend.

Not only that, but the brain rewards us for being socially outgoing. It does so by signaling the release of two happy hormones, oxytocin, and serotonin. So, by being out with your partner, friends, or even colleagues, you’re actively seeking ways to improve your mood.

You should also make the most of those fleeting encounters you have with strangers each day. Make a point of looking your neighbor in the eye as you wish them a good day.

Look up from what you’re doing and take a couple of seconds to thank the barista or the cashier. You can even add a smile to go with it.

Despite taking mere seconds out of your day, those little acts of kindness are terrific mood boosters. They’ll do wonders for your day and theirs!

Stay Active

The link between the mind and body is complementary. When you take care of your physical health, you’re nourishing your mental well-being.

Anytime you exercise for at least 20 minutes, your brain releases endorphins. These are one of the four happy chemicals that help stabilize your mood and boost energy levels.

Regular physical activity also has a big impact on your memory and concentration. Plus, it relieves stress and promotes better sleep.

The trick is to find an activity you like and do it several times a week. Take a walk, cycle, throw a Frisbee with your dog—the point is to enjoy what you’re doing.

Better still, find a group of friends and be active in a group. This will hold you accountable, boost your motivation, and improve your mood.

Regulate Stress Levels

Almost everyone on the planet knows by now that stress is a major problem. It affects our mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

We also know that stress can’t be avoided, especially in this busy day and age. However, certain stress management strategies can help regulate stress in your life.

These tactics allow you to cope with life’s ups and downs. They allow you to improve your mood and feel good about yourself.

Here are some things you can do to reduce your stress:

  • Enhance the quality of your sleep
  • Eat mood-enhancing foods, such as fresh fruits, fatty fish, nuts, avocados, and beans
  • Practice relaxation techniques, like mindful meditation, yoga, and deep breathing
  • Make time for yourself and do something you enjoy
  • Find somewhere to sit at a local park and soak in some sunshine
  • Laugh more

If you need more help with your mood, contact Ron Huxley today to schedule a session!

Anxiety can ruin your life…

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FACT: Anxiety and depression are the biggest causes of disability in the developed world. One in five Americans suffers from some type of diagnosable anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety, panic, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Eighty-five percent of sufferers never get any help!

FACT: Between 50 and 75% of all visits to primary-care doctors in the United State are related to stress or unresolved emotional upsets.

FACT: Anxiety is 2x more likely in women than in men.

FACT: Another 60 to 100 million people struggle with addictions and toxic lifestyles and mental health disorders!

FACT: Almost everyone else is nervous or worried about something every single day of their life!

FACT: Anxiety can destroy relationships, sabotage job opportunities, and ruin your physical and mental health. 

This doesn’t have to be you! You can walk confidently in social situations at school and at work; live without fear of a panic attack; find that intimate relationship you desire; sleep peacefully knowing you have a positive future waiting for you.

Get FREE access to our online course: “Freedom From Anxiety” but this is only open until September 1st, 2017. So get it now…

Your Body is a Brain…

Great writers and painters have known this fact for decades: The body acts like a brain…

Walt Whitman understood that the flesh was the source of meaning; Auguste Escoffier discovered that taste is actually a smell; Paul Cézanne realized that the brain can decipher an image from minimal brushstrokes.

Jonah Lehrer has written a book called Proust Was a Neuroscientist

In my own trauma-informed trainings I discuss how our central nervous system, specifically the nerves surrounding our “guts”, acts as a second brain.

Did you know that there are 43 different pairs of nerves which connect the nervous system to every part of our body. Twelve of these nerve pairs are connected to the brain, while the remaining 31 are connected to the spinal cord.

Did you know that the gut has 100 million nerve cells that make up it’s own nervous system separate from the brain!

Did you know that one of the major nerve pathways from the gut to the brain is called the Vagus Nerve. The brain interprets signals from the Vagus Nerve as actual emotional information. It really doesn’t know the difference. 

Did you know that there is more and more research on how the gut and gastrointestinal conditions are linked to depression, anxiety, autism, and ADHD. What we are talking about here is nutrition and not just medication can change our mental health.

And did you know that there is a reason we call certain kinds of food “comfort food”? Comfort foods affect our moods. Can someone say chocolate please?

Understanding the brain/body connection can help us overcome trauma in ways that traditional talk therapy cannot. This is because a lot of times there are no words to express what trauma is doing in our lives or the trauma is so far back in infancy and during pregnancy that there was no ability to form words.

This will require a new approach to doing therapy that involves movement, sensory processing, art therapy and my own NeuroResilience Play Therapy Approach. Click here for more info.

What is your body telling you?  Perhaps its time to follow your “gut” instincts today and find the help you need. Hey, writers and artists have been telling us for years this truth about our body acting like a brain. Let’s listen to what it is saying!

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Need trauma-informed training for your organization or up coming conference? Contact Ron today.

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6 Ways to Heal Your Vagus Nerve

inner-healing:

6 Ways to Instantly Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve to Relieve Inflammation, Depression, Migraines And More

Source: http://healthycures.org/6-ways-to-instantly-stimulate-your-vagus-nerve-to-relieve-inflammation-depression-migraines-and-more/

I read an article yesterday that has me extremely excited about the implications. The article is called “Hacking the Nervous System” by Gaia Vince (http://mosaicscience.com/story/hacking-nervous-system). In the article, the author describes the experience of a woman who suffered from severe, debilitating rheumatoid arthritis and her eventual treatment with a device which minimized inflammation by simply stimulating the vagus nerve. What this means, is that by activating the vagus nerve which works through the parasympathetic nervous system, we can greatly influence inflammation and the immune system. The role of the brain on body inflammation can be profound. If you suffer from digestive complaints, high blood pressure, depression or any inflammatory condition, please read on. Let me explain the possible implications step by step.
What is the vagus nerve?
Ways to Instantly Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve to Relieve Inflammation, Depression, Migraines And More 6 Ways to Instantly Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve to Relieve Inflammation, Depression, Migraines And More vagus nerveFirst of all, the vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body which originates in the brain as cranial nerve ten, travels down the from go the neck and then passes around the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs. This nerve is a major player in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is the ‘rest and digest’ part (opposite to the sympathetic nervous system which is ‘fight of flight’).

Vagal tone
The tone of the vagus nerve is key to activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Vagal tone is measured by tracking your heart-rate alongside your breathing rate. Your heart-rate speeds up a little when your breathe in, and slows down a little when you breathe out. The bigger the difference between your inhalation heart-rate and your exhalation heart-rate, the higher your vagal tone. Higher vagal tone means that your body can relax faster after stress.

What is high vagal tone associated with?
High vagal tone improves the function of many body systems, causing better blood sugar regulation, reduced risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure, improved digestion via better production of stomach basic and digestive enzymes, and reduced migraines. Higher vagal tone is also associated with better mood, less anxiety and more stress resilience. One of the most interesting roles of the vagus nerve is that it essentially reads the gut microbiome and initiates a response to modulate inflammation based on whether or not it detects pathogenic versus non-pathogenic organisms. In this way, the gut microbiome can have an affect on your mood, stress levels and overall inflammation.

What is low vagal tone associated with?
Low vagal tone is associated with cardiovascular conditions and strokes, depression, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, cognitive impairment, and much higher rates of inflammatory conditions. Inflammatory conditions include all autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, endometriosis, autoimmune thyroid conditions, lupus and more).

How do we increase vagal tone?
In the article above, vagal tone was increased through a device that stimulated the vagus nerve. The good news is that you have access to this on your own, but it does require regular practice. To some degree, you are genetically predisposed to varying levels of vagal tone, but this still doesn’t mean that you can’t change it. Here are some ways to tone the vagus nerve:

Slow, rhythmic, diaphragmatic breathing. Breathing from your diaphragm, rather than shallowly from the top of the lungs stimulates and tones the vagus nerve.
Humming. Since the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords, humming mechanically stimulates it. You can hum a song, or even better repeat the sound ‘OM’.
Speaking. Similarly speaking is helpful for vagal tone, due to the connection to the vocal cords.
Washing your face with cold water. The mechanism her is not known, but cold water on your face stimulates the vagus nerve.
Meditation, especially loving kindness meditation which promotes feelings of goodwill towards yourself and others. A 2010 study by Barbara Fredrickson and Bethany Kik found that increasing positive emotions led to increased social closeness, and an improvement in vagal tone.
Balancing the gut microbiome. The presence of healthy bacteria in the gut creates a positive feedback loop through the vagus nerve, increasing its tone.
The implications of such simple and basic practices on your overall health, and in particular on inflammation are far-reaching. If you suffer from an inflammatory condition, digestive upset, high blood pressure or depression, a closer look at vagal tone is highly recommended. We’ve known for years that breathing exercises and meditation are helpful for our health, but it is so fascinating to learn the mechanism by which they work. I hope this short article has inspired you to begin a meditation practice, as it has for me, and also to look for other means to manage the body’s inflammatory response.

References:

Forsythe P, Bienenstock J, Kunze WA.Vagal pathways for microbiome-brain-gut axis communication. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2014;817:115-33.

Kok, B, Fredrickson, B, Coffey, K, et al. How Positive Emotions Build Physical Health: Perceived Positive Social Connections Account for the Upward Spiral Between Positive Emotions and Vagal Tone. Psychological Science 2013 24: 1123

Don’t Let Depression Destroy Your Life

Don’t Let Depression Destroy Your Life: A Special Report on Treatment

Edited by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Since the end of the Second World War, the rates of depression around the world have soared. Depression is an illness that can destroy lives ad families. Many people try various forms of treatment before any improvement is realized. Many are not so lucky and end up paying the ultimate price. Drugs and medication are one way to treat depression. However there has been a lot of criticism in recent years over the amount of medication we are taking. Depression can be treated naturally and the natural approach should be attempted first if possible.

Natural Treatments:

Getting good nights sleep is essential. Sleep and mood are closely linked. When we are tired we react to things differently than we do when we have had adequate rest. Remember to sleep well and regularly.

Caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided. They do give you temporary energy but have been known to deplete your serotonin levels. Low serotonin levels are a prime cause of depression.

Take a multi vitamin everyday. This is especially important if your lifestyle causes you to skip meals. Low vitamin deficiency has been linked to depression.

You may want to try getting in touch with your spiritual side. This can be done in a variety of ways. If you enjoy going to church, this is a good opportunity. You may want to look at prayer and meditation as well. You do not have to be overly religious to be spiritual. There are many ways to get there.

Finally, you may want to try getting more exercise. This doesn’t mean marathon training. Start out slow and build up if you feel the need. Exercise helps release endorphins which make you feel more empowered. There is also the health benefits attached to more activity.

The natural approach may be effective. It can also have other positive influences on your overall health.

The natural approach isn’t always the best or most effective. However, if the depression isn’t severe and the person isn’t suicidal or incapacitated, then it is recommended to at least give the natural way a chance.

There are many natural remedies that can be tried before trying drugs and medication. Some have tried that natural remedy known as St. John’s wort. This has been known to improve the mood of some depression sufferers without any side effects.

Those that suffer from depression should avoid excessive alcohol intake. Alcohol is a depressant so it will slow your body down. It could react with your body’s chemistry and make your condition worse. Alcohol is also a toxin that they body does not need.

Try to eat a well balances diet. Loss of vitamins and minerals are directly linked with depression. Make time to eat despite the type of lifestyle you have.

You may want to consider cognitive behavior therapy. This will help you refocus your thought and generate a more positive feeling. Your thoughts have a direct bearing on your mood. The more negative they are the more likely you are to become depressed.

Stress Management:

If you lead a stressful lifestyle, then some stress management training could be for you. Stress can be the cause of all kinds of ailments, not only depression. Keeping your stress levels low and learning to deal with highly stressful situations can go a long way in helping your depression.

You may want to try helping others. Sometimes doing volunteer work and helping those less fortunate will help. It can be quite rewarding and can negate some of those negative thoughts about yourself.

If the natural approach does not work, you should not feel bad. It is fine to take medications if this is what will help. You can at least be pleased for giving the natural approach a try.

Family Members With Depression:

If someone you love is suffering from depression, it is only natural to want to help. Family members can provide an incredible amount of support for someone suffering from this illness. However, you must know how to be effective. If not the family member could end up doing more harm than good.

The first thing you should do is read everything you can about depression and its treatments. Being forewarned is being forearmed. By making yourself knowledgeable, you can help make decisions when perhaps the loved one isn’t in a fit state to do so. You should also read up on how your loved one will feel. Getting as much insight as possible as to what depression will do to this person will help you cope with the worst days.

You have to keep in mind that caring for a depressed person is very braining both physically and emotionally. You need to set aside time for yourself. You won’t be any use to your loved one if you are tired and stressed out. In fact you may make things worse. Talk about what you are going through with someone who understand or even join a support group. Take some time to enjoy yourself as well. Don’t let your loved ones depression takes over your life as well.

Depressed people do need lots of love and support. You don’t want to smother them but you need to be there when they need it most. Knowing they can rely on you will help them get through some of the darkest moments.

Don’t deny your own feelings. There will be times when you’re feeling angry and frustrated. You need a support network to help vent these feelings out. A good friend or a support group again can be a great source of comfort. Keeping your feelings bottled up can lead to your own illness.

Dealing with depression is difficult and draining. It puts stress and strain on the life of the depressed person as well as those close to him or her. Many types of therapies may have to be tried and tested before any improvement is seen. One such possibility is talk therapy.

Talk Therapies:

Talking therapies can be of a great help when it comes to treating depression. It involved various types of counseling with a psychologist, Psychiatrist or therapist. Talking therapies allow the depressed person to get their feelings out. They also allow for the two people to work together to try to find the root cause for their depression.

Talking therapies do vary but most involve the same key elements. First there is the listening session. The therapist listens to the person’s problems. Over time the person develops a relationship with the therapist where they feel they are understood. Next there is the emotional release. This is helpful but cannot be done to often. Letting the emotions out too often can have the opposite effect and lead to further depression. Next comes the advice and guidance. The patient may be able to seek the answers on their own through session and homework. Finally, there is information provided. They are giving information in small bits but as progress is made it can be increased. Depressed people can sometimes have poor concentration and memories so information is given carefully.

Talking therapies can be very effective in treating depression but they do take time. Several sessions may be required and the patient’s family may have to be involved. Talking therapies can help mild to moderate depression greatly; however severe cases of depression will usually need a combination of talk and medication.

Inner Healing:

Inner healing is a faith-based approach to dealing with depression. Traumatic events in our lives can interpret our reality and cause us to believe falsehoods about ourselves, our relationships, and our faith in God. Replacing the lies with truth will set us free but it is a battle to renew our minds. It can be done and life can be lived in abundance and not with victim or poverty mindsets.

Need help with Depression? Let Marriage and Family Therapist Ron Huxley assist you and your family members.

Call today at 805-709-2023 or email at rehuxley@gmail.com for an appointment in Ron’s Shell Beach, California office.

Depression Screening Tool

Depression is a serious illness that can be 100% treatable. It is a common problem for parents and can have a big impact on your ability to interact positively with your family. If you are experience severe symptoms, please seek help immediately. Remember, this is completely treatable and you can turn your life around but you must seek help…

Symptoms:
Are you concerned you may be suffering from the burden of a depressive disorder? Find out by completing our simple but accurate Depression Screening Tool.

Treatment:
Most depressive disorders are readily improved through counseling and coaching while more extreme situations may require a combination of
medication and psychotherapy. 

You Are Not Alone:
Of all of the emotional experiences a person will ever suffer during their lifetime is the pain of depression. The fact that more than 20% of
Americans will experience some form of depression in their lifetime is no consolation for your discomfort.  Each year more than 5% of the American population suffers from a depressive disorder. Depression is one of the most common and most serious mental health problems facing people today.

You Are Not to Blame:
Depression is a serious mood disorder which affects a person’s ability to function in every day activities. It affects your work, your studies, your family, and your relationships.

It is a misconception to believe that depression is a problem of weakness, nor is it just a “blue” feeling. Depression is a serious mental health problem that can be alleviated. Today, much is understood about
the causes and treatment of this mental health problem. We know that there are biological and psychological components to every depression.  
Most especially, depression is not your fault.

So What Does Cause It?:
Depression in some forms and at some times is a perfectly natural and “healthy” response to an event such as the feelings of grief after the loss of a loved one. Depression experienced after certain medical
procedures (such as postpartum depression) is however clinically recognized. Your family history and your genetics can also play a part in
the greater likelihood of someone becoming depressed in their lifetime. Increased stress and inadequate coping mechanisms to deal with that
stress may also contribute to depression. Depression has as many potential causes as there are people who suffer it.

Depression caused by medications or substance or alcohol abuse is not typically recognized as a depressive episode.

If I Feel That I Am Depressed What Can I Do Now?:
Take a few moments and complete our online depression screening tool.Review the results and if suggested get the help that you need. 

Surprising Rate of Women Have Depression After Childbirth

CHICAGO — A surprisingly high number of women have postpartum depressive symptoms, according to a new, large-scale study by a Northwestern Medicine® researcher.

This is the largest scale depression screening of postpartum women and the first time a full psychiatric assessment has been done in a study of postpartum women who screened positive for depression.

The study, which included a depression screening of 10,000 women who had recently delivered infants at single obstetrical hospital, revealed a large percentage of women who suffered recurrent episodes of major depression.

The study underscored the importance of prenatal as well as postpartum screening. Mothers’ and infants’ health and lives hang in the balance. The lives of several women who were suicidal when staff members called them for the screening were saved likely as a result of the study’s screening and immediate intervention.

“In the U.S., the vast majority of postpartum women with depression are not identified or treated even though they are at higher risk for psychiatric disorders,” said Northwestern Medicine lead study author Katherine L. Wisner, M.D. “It’s a huge public health problem. A woman’s mental health has a profound effect on fetal development as well as her child’s physical and emotional development.”

Wisner is director of Northwestern’s Asher Center for the Study and Treatment of Depressive Disorders and the Norman and Helen Asher Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She’s also a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“A lot of women do not understand what is happening to them,” Wisner said. “They think they’re just stressed or they believe it is how having a baby is supposed to feel.”

The paper was be published in JAMA Psychiatry March 13. Wisner conducted the research when she was at the University of Pittsburgh.

In the study, 14 percent of the women screened positive for depression. Of that group, 826 received full psychiatric assessments during at-home visits. Some of the key findings from those assessments:

– In women who screened positive for depression, 19.3 percent thought of harming themselves.

“Most of these women would not have been screened and therefore would not have been identified as seriously at risk,” Wisner said. “We believe screening will save lives.”

Suicide accounts for about 20 percent of postpartum deaths and is the second most common cause of mortality in postpartum women.

– Many women who screened positive for major depression postpartum had already experienced at least one episode of depression previously and, in addition, had an anxiety disorder. The study found 30 percent of women had depression onset prior to pregnancy, 40 percent postpartum and 30 percent during pregnancy. More than two-thirds of these women also had an anxiety disorder.

“Clinicians need to know that the most common clinical presentation in the post-birth period is more complex than a single episode of depression,” Wisner said. “The depression is recurrent and superimposed on an anxiety disorder.“

– Of the women who screened positive for major depression, 22 percent had bipolar disorder, the majority of whom had not been diagnosed by their physicians. There is often a delay in correctly diagnosing bipolar disorder, which depends on identifying not only the depressed phase but the manic or hypomanic phase as well. But postpartum is the highest risk period for new episodes of mania in a woman’s life.

“That’s a very high rate of bipolar disorder that has never been reported in a population screened for postpartum depression before,” said Wisner. “It is significant because antidepressant drug treatment alone can worsen the course of bipolar disorder.”

In addition, women who have been pregnant in the past year are less likely to seek treatment for depression than women who have not been pregnant, previous research has shown.

Maximizing a woman’s overall mental and physical health in pregnancy and after childbirth is critically important.

“Depression during pregnancy increases the risk to a woman and her fetus,” Wisner said. “Depression is a physiological dysregulation disorder of the entire body.”

Maternal prenatal stress and depression is linked to preterm birth and low infant birth weight, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Depression also affects a woman’s appetite, nutrition and prenatal care and is associated with increased alcohol and drug use. Women with untreated depression have a higher body mass index preconception, which carries additional risks.

When a new mother is depressed, her emotional state can interfere with child development and increases the rate of insecure attachment and poor cognitive performance of her child, Wisner said.

Screening prenatal and postpartum are essential (Illinois requires mandatory screening for perinatal mental health disorders), but the health care field must develop cost effective and accessible treatment, Wisner emphasized.

“If we identify patients we must have treatment to offer them,” Wisner said.

The study was funded by grant RO1 MH 071825 from the National Institute of Mental Health of the National Institutes of Health.

Surprising Rate of Women Have Depression After Childbirth