get up and move

I’m so excited. Years ago I started a book about depression.  I’ve yet to get up enough nerve to send it to a publisher. I did a lot of research and ninety percent of everything I suggest in the book is based on that research.

Except for one suggestion.

I knew this idea worked because it worked for me and everyone else who tried it.  It was so simple and seemed so “out there” that I almost took it out of the book.  But I knew it worked. It worked for me. It worked for my friends. It worked for a lot of people.

Well, wouldn’t you know on a segment of Good Morning America medical researchers have discovered the same thing. But here’s what I wrote years before in a chapter in my book called “Re-tooling”.

Get up and move every hour or so. Mindless sitting (actually mindless anything), is a breeding ground for depression. Even on your job, keep moving if you can. The depressed mind (influenced greatly by the body) left unfocused for very long will eventually sink to its lowest common denominator.

When we move, a number of good things take place in our bodies.  

First of all, our blood circulation improves. We breathe better when we’re upright. When we’re physically active, those good hormones kick in and give us a mental boost. All research on depression encourages physical activity. We simply become more motivated once we’re moving. One thing leads to another and pretty soon we find our mood has lightened. Activity of any kind prompts further activity and we become distracted away from our depressed thinking and distraction is a wonderful thing. Some days this has been my mantra.

When we move, a number of good things take place in our bodies.  First of all, our blood circulation improves. We breathe better when we’re upright. When we’re physically active, those good hormones kick in and give us a mental boost. All research on depression encourages physical activity. We simply become more motivated once we’re moving. One thing leads to another and pretty soon we find our mood has lightened. Activity of any kind prompts further activity and we become distracted away from our depressed thinking and distraction is a wonderful thing. Some days this has been my mantra.

The medical community is now suggesting the very same thing.  In fact, they have discovered than sitting six hours a day can shave seven years of a quality life.  It raises blood sugar levels, cholesterol and decreases circulation and increases the possibility of heart disease by sixty-four percent. However, a medical study from Australia suggests short breaks from sitting once an hour can alleviate most of the problems. While these studies didn’t target mental health, I don’t think it’s much of a leap to see how this very same activity can affect our low moods as well.

I feel so validated. I knew I should’ve hung out my shingle.:)

For your overall health, why not just try this simple little step for a few days and see if you think it makes a difference.  What could it possibly hurt?

When competition spoils enjoyment

competition versus enjoyment/google images

google images

Whoa!  I’m too competitive.  I’ve been playing “Words with Friends”.  I really like the game, but it wasn’t until today that I realized I don’t always enjoy it because I’m so focused on winning.  That has to change.

What’s the point of playing if it can’t also be fun?

So today I’m choosing to have fun.  It’s o.k. if I lose. I’m learning lots of new words, words I’ll never use. And I at least have the honor of beating my husband for the first time. Never up to this point has he lost a game to anyone. I feel so cerebral now.

I’ve never connected depression with competition but I think there just might be one. When we can’t “play” because we have to win, we set ourselves up for anger and anxiety. We spiral down to, “I’m not smart.  I’m not good at anything. I’m a loser”.

I’m playing against some tough opponents today. (I hope they’re not twelve years old!) I might lose and if I do I’m going to try and convince myself it’s only a game and who would know anyway.

Anyway, how are you at losing? Does it throw you into a tailspin? Does it cause you to think of yourself as a ‘loser”?

We’re all going to lose something, or someone. Maybe if we learn to handle loss we will better appreciate what we still have.

doing the right thing

why is it so hard to do the right thing?

hydrangas from my mom's garden

hydrangas from my mom’s garden

I love it when I do the right thing. But I don’t always know the right thing to do and even when I do, I don’t always do it. (Just being real here.) Especially if I’m tired. Especially if it interrupts my plans. (I hate to have my plans interrupted.)

But most especially I hate it when I know that doing the right thing isn’t going to result in anything beneficial for me. There, I said it.

I’m self-centered at times. Yet, in the end, I’m always glad when my compassion overrides my selfishness.

Is there anyone out there as conflicted as I am about doing the right thing?

But today I did do the right thing. There were no rewards. No one said, “Thank you.”

There was only my inner awareness that I pleased God. For me, that’s enough. After all, everything we do, good or bad, reflects on God.

There is a saying I remind myself of often. I tried to find its source but Mr. Google didn’t know.  It’s just another way of saying ,”do the right thing’.

“Do as much good  as you can,

 to as many people as you can ,

for as long as you can,

in any way that you can.”

Is there anyone you need to do the right thing by today? No matter how inconvenient, no matter how little you might be rewarded?

God  bless and I hope you have a good day.

 

Why blogging frustrates me so much

still frustrated, google images

still frustrated/google images

I’m still frustrated because I’m trying to figure out how to add tags and categories that are relevant to each post. I checked out a book from  the library called “Blogging all in one for Dummies”.  It’s at least 3″ thick and I have so many sticky tabs on so many pages, I knew I had to buy my own copy.  It’s on its way. Yea!!

Speaking of tags and categories, after looking at mine more closely, I realized I sound like a miserable woman.  I’m not. I’m actually very happy despite my ever present concern that anxiety or depression is lurking in the corners. This should prove encouraging as:

it shows that the fear of depression doesn’t have to rob us of the joy of living.

Today was a good day but I did have a couple of moments when I had to reprogram my mind a little. As usual, it was exposure to a certain person that triggered a very slight anxiety attack. They just managed to hit the right buttons. But I’m a firm believer that I’m responsible for my own happiness.  So I had a good talk with myself, adjusted my thinking and I’m fine now.

What about you? Is there a certain situation or person that does that to you? Do you have a plan to keep it from escalating and spoiling your mood?

What do a DIY project and depression have in common?

This blog finally became reality when I decided (after years of procrastination) to paint my dining room hutch. I love it and wish I’d painted it years ago! The thought of possibly ruining it kept me paralyzed.

dining room hutch/furniture

dining room hutch

dining room hutch

But last Wednesday morning I knew the time had come.  I was up early and painting by 10:00.  For some reason, that morning’s resolve was an epiphany. After years of studying my nemesis, depression, and coming to terms with where I wanted my life to go, it just all finally came together like a really good recipe.

It seemed as though during the night God had silently imprinted on my mind,  “You can be happy.  It’s o.k. I approve.”

It seems there has always  been a “worm in my apple”.  There’s always something that wants to take away the sweetness of life. It’s like I don’t think I deserve to be healthy, to be happy, to make a mistake. 

Nine years ago, with my doctor’s permission, I decided to fly solo in my depression-no more antidepressants.  No safety net. The time had come to face my demons.  This blog will share many of the techniques and strategies I’ve learned these past nine years that have kept me medication free.

I promise not to sugar coat my struggles. Managing depression (or better yet defeating it)  is very hard work.  It means getting real with yourself and the part yourself play in your depression.  And no matter what the cause we all leave our own footsteps along the path of our depression.

The research is overwhelming to support the fact that most of us contribute to our own depression by the way we think, the things we do (or don’t do), how we take care of bodies, physically and mentally, etc.  

Medication can only do so much as most researchers now agree.

I’m not an authority but I’m not a novice, either.  I have a degree in psychology and worked as a hospital chaplain after completing two quarters of Clinical Pastoral Education. I have counseled many women and facilitated many self-help groups.

I am not a pastor.  I am, however, a Christian, and while I feel God was the power behind my ability to conquer my depression, many techniques I will share with you are applicable whether you believe the same way I do or not.  I won’t try to convince anybody to believe as I do. That’s up to God. 

This blog will be a little unusual because I will also post some of my latest DIY projects as I’m an avid “pinner”.  And there might be weeks that go by when I don’t even use the word “depression”.

But rest assured most of my posts will contain little gems of information meant to help you in your struggle.  

Life isn’t compartmentalized or narrowly defined. We are total beings.  One part of our life affects the others. 

Painting the hutch, exercising, eating, reading, praying etc are all part of who I am. Painting my hutch was the result of realizing that tomorrow was going to come  anyway (God willing) whether I painted that hutch or not. That doesn’t sound very profound until you really think about it.

I decided I want my tomorrows to be full of dreams realized and new dreams emerging. I want my tomorrows to be depression-free which means I need to take care of today.  I don’t want to always be afraid of making a mistake.

Tomorrow is coming for you as well.  What do you want it to be?

God bless and have a good day.

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