Are there any lifestyle changes or self-help strategies that you recommend? ie: meditation, yoga, behaviour modification, strategies for breaking the pattern of negative thinking, etc.
I honestly believe that yoga should be part of everyone's life. There is a level of practise, style, pace for absolutely everyone. It strengthens, lengthens, and even massages the internal organs! The teachings and lifestyle that go with a full on yogic journey are all positive and up lifting. It makes my heart glad that there is those that powerfully emanate that into the world.
What you say, what you hear yourself say and what you hear others say about you has a profound effect on you. Science has recently proven that the speech centre in the brain rules all of the nerves of the body. Simply speaking positive or negative words gives you the power to manipulate the physical complex. Meaning; if you say 'I am old, I'm sick, I'm useless' this sets the mandate for your body to start to decompose. We live in a crazy world, where the amazing gift of free will has run amok and sometimes it is hard to see the positive or feel the positive. I make a note to never watch the news: that is just a big ball of negative. When I had a desk at a workplace I got my friends, partner, and work peers to write down five things they enjoyed or appreciated about me (I did this on days when the two of us would have a good connection) and I would keep them posted where I saw them everyday. I also carry pictures that calm me and uplift me. I use these links most of the time to bring my electrics or brain waves up the bar to a regenerative state.
Call–overs and mantras are powerful only when they are truly believed. So I suggest using wording you can believe in, ie: 'I am in stillness and calm' might not be true at the moment but, 'I am moving towards stillness and calm' might have more influence. I think the best two for those suffering from depression are: 'I am loved' and 'I am worthy of love and happiness'.
Of course! Yes you are and all patterns that are within the negative must be broken for you to stop falling out of love with yourself. If you find that when you become depressed you tend to stay in and try to sleep away days, force yourself to do the opposite. Go for a walk, go lie in the grass; if you must just sleep, sleep on the porch or at a friend’s. Try to break the patterning. If you find you fall deep and don't remember or care to help yourself, leave yourself reminders that you can't overlook; upside down living room chair, cutlery in the bathroom etc.
One thing I have encountered in my work is that some people feel guilty or ashamed at having to take medication for their depression. A word to those people: This is just a weakened system, like some people have a weakened digestive system, reproductive system, or any other system of the body; it is not you, it's just the equipment. I believe anti-depressants are necessary to quickly restore a feeling of balance to the mind. In the long term I would suggest working with your doctor or holistic practitioner, in helping you find an equally good outcome using more body friendly medicines.
Much research has gone into supplements like 5HTP (5- hydroxytryptophan), DHA and EPA from fish oils and high doses of Vitamin D. I personally know more than a few people who have been helped with these items. 5HTP cannot be taken with most anti-depressants and fish oils do have mild blood thinning capacities. High doses of any vitamin can cause imbalance elsewhere, so work closely with your health care professional when changing or adding any medications or supplements.
***In the part 4, Professor Honeybottom will talk about she beats the blues in her own daily life. So stay tuned.
Keeping the horribles at bay: an interview with Honeybottom pt 1
Keeping the horribles at bay: an interview with Honeybottom pt 2