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Are you suffering from depression?

by Elizabeth Girard, MS, L.Ac.

Western Massachusetts Acupuncture BlogAfter hearing about the death of Robin Williams, an amazing actor and comedian, I started thinking about depression. Like many people I have had bouts of depression and anxiety. I know firsthand how hard that cycle can be to get out of. I am not a clinical psychologist but do work with many people who suffer from depression using acupuncture and Chinese herbs. I also use affirmations and other self-healing techniques that I have learn throughout my practice. The key to healing  all diseases is treating a persons mind, body and spirit.

The first thing I look at when treating depression and anxiety is your overall health. Are you eating healthy foods that are providing the nutrients your body needs. There are mineral deficiencies that can contribute to anxiety as well as depression. Every person is different but sometimes a good calcium/ magnesium powder is required. This helps to relax you and can help with sleep. There are numerous supplements that you can take depending on what is going on. There are also Chinese herbal formulas that are designed specifically for depression and anxiety.

Next are you getting a proper amount of exercise? This is different for everyone. If you don’t exercise regularly just taking a light short walk 3 times a week is a good starting point. You can also just put on some slow quiet music and stretch for 15 minutes. If strong cardio with fast beat music is what works for you then great use that. Movement of some sort is required for everyone. Our bodies crave movement and aren’t meant to be sedentary for long periods of time.

Lastly self-love or at least self-respect. This is the most important factor when working with depression. Like Robin Williams who everyone saw to be amazing, if you do not see yourself as amazing then you will never be happy. It does not matter how great everyone else thinks you are if you do not see it. How can you change this? A very basic technique that I suggest is affirmations. Once a day (first thing in the morning or before you go to bed is usually the easiest to remember), say to yourself;

"I am healthy"
"I am happy"
"I am loved"
"I love myself."

At first this is going to be hard and sound silly. You can say them quietly to yourself or better yet out loud to yourself in the mirror. Repeat this mantra 3 times. I don’t care if you do not believe them, say them every day for at least a week. You can make up your own that feels right to you, “I am a hard worker”, “I am a loving person”, “I am a successful business woman”, whatever resonates with you. 

These are only 3 very basic techniques that I use at my office. There are many more Chinese herbal remedies, acupuncture points and other healing modalities that can be used. Please if you are suffering from depression and feel like you can’t go on, seek help from a professional. Please call your doctor or someone you trust and speak to them about how you are feeling. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! 

 To Health, Healing and Happiness! 

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