I encounter a plethora of people in our society, perhaps a growing majority, whom suffer the maladies of heaviness, excess weight, chronic depression both mental and physical, chronic back issues, frequent illness, stuckness, and general to intense lack of vitality. These people struggle a lot and I feel for them. A good many, probably more than I realize are on antidepressants and the like. Yet, without passing judgment I witness again and again habits and life style patterns that don’t merely contribute but cause these experiences of dis-ease. The most common of these habits, in no particular order, are:
• Sitting for extended periods and for hours a day
• A diet high in starches, sugars, high glycemic and processed foods, wheat, and milk products, and alcohol while scarce in vegetables, lean protein, fiber, omega 3’s, Vit D, B vitamins.
• Inadequate daily sunlight and fresh air
• Insufficient and appropriate sleep patterns out of balance with circadian rhythms
• Excessive amount of time in front of computer and tv screens (usually combined with sitting, staying up late, and eating junk)
• Inadequate if any regular daily exercise and training.
Now any one of these by themselves could and likely will cause the symptoms above. More than one and the experience of dis-ease including increasing the likelihood of more serious disease in the long term, is compounded. This is in fact the exact protocol I’d prescribe for such a disaster! Frankly though they have a valuable place I don’t think taking meds or antidepressants are going to correct things unless there is also lifestyle correction.. you can’t overcome the negative effects of such habits with any medication.
In contrast, to reverse course and reverse it radically so as to become a person of vitality, health, with a positive experience of life the following is prescribed:
• Limit sitting for extended periods, taking regular movement ‘breaks’ when one is required by work or school to sit. Adopt a moving rather than sedentary life.
• Reduce and eliminate sugar, starch, processed, wheat based foods, and alcohol from the diet and replace with vegetables, fiber, high nutrient foods, lean protein, omega 3’s, regular intake of filtered water, and Vit D and B vitamin supplements if necessary.
• Each day get outside for at least one hour of daylight. This not only enables Vit D production during the warmer months but even in the dead of winter affects neural and hormonal function reversing the affects of S.A.D. Note S.A.D. can occur even summer to those whom shut themselves inside for the bulk of the day.
• Make a practice of not only getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night but in tune with circadian cycles by getting to bed by ten more than not and getting up by 6 more than not.
• Limit exposure beyond work and regulated recreational time to computer and tv screens as not only does this affect brain chemistry and circadian rhythms but is too often combined with staying up late, sitting, and inadequate movement, generating disruptions on all fronts. Experts suggest no computer past 8PM at night and or within 2 hours of intended bedtime.
• Make a discipline of daily exercise for your appropriate level of fitness. Outside is even better.
Any single one of these disciplines will empower and heal. Combine them and the total response will be profound in regathering a life of well-being.