71 Physical Interventions to Defeat Depression: Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery Podcast

71 Physical Interventions to Defeat Depression: Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery Podcast


Hi everybody and welcome to happiness
isn’t brain surgery. Thank you for joining me on this Sunday. We’re trying a
bit of a different format now. We will be broadcasting our recordings live on our
Facebook group which is happiness isn’t brain surgery. So if you want to join
live you can always go to facebook happiness isn’t brain surgery and I
would love to have you in the group. Today we’re going to continue talking
about practical tools to defeat depression. We’re going to look at
physical interventions. You know when some people are feeling
depressed or anxious or or however they’re feeling they may want to work by
adding in happy emotions. They may want to work by changing how they’re thinking
about things, changing their attitude or they may want to start working by trying
to get some more energy and feeling better physically. It really doesn’t
matter where you start with the interventions any positive change in
your life is likely going to produce positive changes in every other area
so today we’re going to talk about why physical interventions are important to
recovery and happiness and explore different types of physical
interventions and I’ll tell you I’m not going to tell you to necessarily go to
the gym or you know workout hard that’s not for everybody so let’s look at some
different things when we’re talking about physical interventions we’re
talking about anything that deals with the body making the body happier
healthier you know functioning better so there’s a bunch of reasons why physical
interventions are so helpful in treating depression and anxiety remember when
you’re depressed you’re feeling hopeless helpless flat apathetic whatever you
want to call it lack of energy difficulty sleeping changes in appetite
you know your body’s just kind of out of whack so how can physical interventions
help well some physical interventions release endorphins serotonin dopamine
and norepinephrine and we’ll learn about this a little bit in each segment but
for example certain foods that you eat increase your serotonin levels exercise
can increase your endorphins so there’s a lot of different things that you can
do physical interventions especially ones that move your body increase
available oxygen in your blood which helps with confusion and foggy head and
this can be anything from stretching and yoga because we tend to breathe deeper
when we’re doing those things to actual full-out exercise and playing with the
dog and everything in between physical interventions have been linked
to improvements in self-esteem and they help you get your mind and thoughts and
body reactions in sync if you’re sitting still and you’re stressed out and your
heart is racing and you’re sweating your body’s going okay you know I’m feeling
like I’m working out or doing something but you’re not moving I don’t understand
what’s going on so we find that when people are stressed out if they move
their body so their body’s more in sync with what everything else is doing then
they’re also able to calm everything back down it’s kind of getting it back
in sync physical interventions often put you in a place where you can engage with
other positive people you know if you go out hiking you’re
gonna engage with people who typically are happy to be out on the trails if you
go to the gym you know we’re not all thrilled to go to the gym but generally
those people that are there are positive influences when you if you go walking
with your friend you know again that may be putting you in a place where you’re
with a positive person they can help you deal with general aches and pains which
can disrupt your sleep and put you in a bad mood now over exercise that
obviously is going to cause more aches and pains but mild exercise or
stretching or some of these other interventions can help
release some tension and balance out muscle imbalances which can cause pain
they can help you turn down the stress response so you sleep better you know
after you’ve had a long day if you’re stressed out and you’re just like uh
still if you go home and you eat dinner and you go to bed and you’re still like
wound up it’s gonna be harder to sleep so if you go to the gym
even though going to the gym does nothing to solve the problems at work it
helps you burn through some of that adrenaline and cortisol so you can get
your head in a different space and sleep better and they can help increase your
energy by increasing oxygenation and increasing your stamina you’ll have more
energy and be clear-headed so there’s a lot of benefits to them so we’re going
to start out with relaxation because that’s you know a good one for a lot of
people when you’re depressed you may feel flat you may not want to get off
the off the sofa out of the bed that’s not relaxed that’s fatigue what we’re
talking about here is relaxation which is calming your brain down and getting
that neuro chemical gaba released which helps deal with anxiety and helps you
relax research has found that yoga produces significant improvements in
tension depression anger fatigue and confusion with about 20 minutes every
day or five days a week group or individual activities that you
can do you know you can get a group of people together you can do it with your
family you can do it with your kids especially if you’ve got little kids
they love practicing yoga you can do a breath focus where you’re focusing on
what you’re breathing in and you’re breathing out it’s not difficult but it
increases you to breathe through your diaphragm and breathe deeper which can
help calm you when you slow that heart rate down when you slow your respiration
down your body goes into a relaxation mode and will start secreting gaba so
deep breathing it can help cued muscular progressive muscular relaxation is
something else you can do and that’s beyond the scope of this
discussion right now but you can google it there are lots of scripts online for
queued progressive muscular relaxation which basically takes you from head to
toe or toe to head depending on which one you take and encourages you to tense
and relax your muscles and notice the difference between tense and relaxed and
then start noticing the tension going out of your muscles and it’s a way to
try to help move that muscle tension out of your body meditation now a lot of
people you know kind of squiggle when I talk about meditation because it gets a
bad rap there are twenty thirty different types of meditation that you
can do so just because you may not want to do the meditation where you sit
cross-legged and repeat a single syllable that’s fine there are a bunch
of different other meditations that you can do one I like to do is called the
single focus meditation and you just find something outside yourself and
focus on it for five minutes or so and just keep your focus there and I’ll look
at the flame on a candle I love doing that since I was a little kid I don’t
know why but that’s one thing that you can do is a single focus meditation
meditation quiets the mind as Americans especially I can’t speak for other
cultures but our mind typically is going a million miles an hour and we’re
thinking about stuff we should have done stuff we gotta do stuff we need to do
right now and it’s emotions and everything else when you’re focusing on
that candle flame or when you’re doing some sort of meditation you’re shutting
out all those thoughts it’s like going into a room and shutting the door and
going don’t bother me for ten minutes so it’s quieting your mind it provides you
a singular all-encompassing present focus you’re not thinking about
yesterday or tomorrow you’re thinking about this flame right here right now
twenty to thirty minutes of meditation per day produces consistent effects for
anxiety and depression you know again a lot of times if we can
rip calm our mind down and reduce some of that anxiety you get a little bit
more energy back which will help with feelings of depression another thing you
can do is consider adding a fish tank at home you know if you’re a therapist you
can add it in your waiting room they found that meditation you know that
single focus meditation people who sit and watch fish swim for you know about
20 minutes tend to be calmer my son loved that when he was little he had a
fish tank in his room and that’s what he would do before he would go to bed every
night was sit there and watch his fish swim and it helped him calm down now you
want to choose the type of fish you know I would suggest not goldfish simply
because they poop a lot and that’s kind of gross when you’re watching a fish
swim by whether trail of poop hanging out um but maybe that’s just me betas
are really good and there’s all kinds of other little fish but I’ve noticed that
goldfish tend to poop more than others you can experiment with different types
of meditation over several sessions and again this is something that you can
google and learn about different types now exercise it had to come in here
somewhere it is a physiological way of relaxing
and improving mood physical activity helps balance muscles release muscle
tension it increases oxygen flow which clears your brain gives you more energy
did you know a lot of people yawn not because they’re tired but because
they’re not getting enough oxygen and it increases serotonin and improve sleep
serotonin the our SSRIs when you think of medications when we increase levels
of serotonin in some people it helps alleviate depression but serotonin is
also responsible for your pain threshold and your ability to sleep because
melatonin is made by breaking down serotonin so it’s really important to
have enough serotonin in your system so think about ten ways that you can make
exercise fun and you know they can be in a like
cos we used to do this around our house when we lived in Florida so it never got
too cold but some days it was you know 108 in the shade and none of us really
wanted to go outside so you can do a balloon toss in your living room you can
learn a new dance you can go on a nature walk a lot of times if you’re you know
in a park where there’s a lot of trees you’re not going to have the Sun beating
down on you so it’s a lot more temperate but think about different activities you
can do go out and play with the dog you know you don’t have to be running and
rolling and doing all that stuff just getting out and moving your body you
know throw in that ball or whatever you’re doing it’s gonna give you more
activity then sit in your butt on the couch so move exercise is movement
that’s all I’m talking about right now I’m not talking about necessarily
starting a exercise program although research has shown that if you do it is
good and it can enhance self-esteem as well as energy levels and improve your
sleep okay stretching maybe you’re not ready to
exercise so much or maybe it’s been a long day and you’re just like oh I just
can’t see going out and walking after after dinner or something okay
oh another way to exercise is to clean you can work up a good sweat mopping the
floors but I digress stretching muscle imbalances caused additional pain and
can impair sleep and mood as well as keep stress chemicals high when we’re in
pain our body says you’re vulnerable when we’re vulnerable it’s triggering
that threat response so when we’re in pain we have more cortisol which means
less serotonin and less quality sleep none of those things are good
imbalances between front and back or right and left can cause pain now most
of our things are front and back like our biceps and our triceps or our
quadriceps and our hamstrings our abs and our low back you know those are
pretty obvious your right and left has more to do with the muscles along your
spine and you know I have scoliosis so in certain places my left side is
stronger and in certain places right side is stronger and they’re
constantly fighting this little war about to see who’s gonna be the
strongest I guess I don’t know but that’s what causes us back spasms so
it’s important to stretch and if you’re sitting at a desk I don’t want to get
too loud if you’re sitting at a desk typing all day we tend to hunch over
when we type you know you may start out sitting really well but then you start
to hunch as the day goes on and you develop a lot of tension throughout your
upper area so it’s really important if you’ve got a desk job well any job to
stretch so what do you want to stretch you want to stretch your biceps and your
triceps your chest and your upper back and those are easy you know press out
and then press behind you want to stretch your abs in your low back your
hamstrings and quadriceps and your calves and even your shins your shins to
the front of your legs where you get shin splints there are lots of places
online where you can watch little videos on this but it’s important to hit those
major muscle groups hobbies can help you use up some of your
nervous energy I’m not a person who can sit still you know when we’re watching
TV when you know in the evening I can’t just sit there and watch a television
show it is beyond me so I’m either playing Scrabble or I’m crocheting or
I’m you know doing something and that’s how I deal with my nervous energy so to
speak some people you know they don’t want to sit still or you know they’ve
had a long day you can use hobbies like cooking or building things
planting crocheting reading or writing a book or photography or whatever you know
does it for you in order to help you get into a calm mind space I find when I go
out and I work in the garden and I start weeding you know I get into this sort of
Zen zone where I’m just looking for weeds I can’t I’m not really thinking
about anything else I’m concentrating on finding the weeds so I’m not thinking
about anything else that’s bothering me and I feel better and more energized
when I go inside they can also help you get out some of your stress painting can
be very cathartic if you’re painting something and you want to paint with
broad strokes and really communicate your emotions cool you can be like me
and you can go out and do yard work you know I go out and hire my stress the
bigger the power tool that I use and it makes me happy you know our our yard can
be very very well manicured if I’m having a bad month and construction now
I tend to be better at demolition because you know that’s kind of where my
skill set lives but anything that involves moving your body or helping you
do something so you’re focused on something besides your stressors is
going to help you relax so I encourage you to try hobbies you know some people
like to do it one a week other people like to give a hobby a a good shot and
try it for a month so whatever you like doing you know experiment with that you
can go to a lot of community education classes to learn different things
and places like jo-ann fabrics and I can’t think of the other one the the
bigger arts art supply stores often have free classes that you can take that’ll
teach you crows crocheting or sewing or or
whatever alright so we’ve talked about moving our body we’ve talked about
exercise and relaxation and hobbies let’s talk about nutrition because
unless your body has the building blocks it needs to make the hormones and
neurotransmitters that have to be there for you to feel happy to feel sad to
feel stressed to get good sleep to feel pain any of that stuff you know a lot of
stuff that goes on in our brain but it’s all made from the proteins and foods
that we eat taking vitamins is not a replacement for healthy diet because
vitamins are not in the same proportion that we find these different vitamins
and minerals in nature and they work some work with each other and some work
against each other so you know it’s important to try to get most of your
foods or most of your nutrition from healthy foods and obviously you know
talk with a doctor or a dietitian before changing your nutritional regimen
malabsorption syndromes such as celiac disease Crohn’s disease and ulcerative
colitis can also cause vitamin b6 deficiency which impairs serotonin
production so again I’m not suggesting that you start taking a b6 supplement at
all I’m suggesting that you talk to your doctor about it if you think that you
have one of those syndromes as well as concurrent depression because it could
be a nutritional imbalance that your doctor can help you address some
biological causes of depression can be linked to poor nutrition which keeps the
body from being able to make the brain chemicals to support your new mood
another one of those km things that we eat you want to have good proteins
because that’s what serotonin is made from but you also want to have sunlight
they found tons of vitamin D receptors in the air
the brain responsible for mood and they’re not really sure how vitamin D
impacts mood but they know those receptors are there so it must do
something you know you like that but about 15 minutes of sunlight three times
a week is generally enough for your body to produce the vitamin D that it needs
if you’re in a cloudy rainy dark area you know you may need more than that
lack of sunlight you know even if you’re getting that that’s you know 45 minutes
of sunlight we need more than that and it’s not necessarily vitamin D
deficiency it could be that not getting enough sunlight is throwing your
circadian rhythms out of whack because when it’s bright outside your body says
oh it’s time to be awake and wakes up and does what it’s supposed to do when
it starts to get dimmer your body says it’s time to get ready to sleep I should
start making melatonin and we’re gonna get sleepy so if you wake up in the
morning and you know this happens to most of us during the winter and some of
us more than that you wake up in the morning you get everything ready you
drive to work you walk in the building it’s dark and you stay inside all day
and you don’t really have any windows and you come out after work and it’s
already dark and you go home your brain never got that bright light especially
if you’re in a area maybe you work in a NICU or an office where it’s a little
bit dimmer it’s a lot harder for your body to recognize that it’s it’s daytime
light therapy involves a very specific level of light so bright light is great
but if you need light therapy for seasonal affective disorder there are
very specific bulbs that can help so anyway back to nutrition if you want to
work on developing improve nutrition create a menu if you have them and it
doesn’t have to be a gourmet menu but you want to create a menu where you’ve
got about three colors a minimum of three colors at every meal and that’s
not varying shades of white this will help you figure out what to
get at the store and then you can you know plan pizza has lots of colors in it
you know is it the healthiest thing to eat for every meal no but if you like
pizza having that once a week isn’t
necessarily probably going to be a bad thing
macaroni and cheese you know especially if it’s not the powdered cheese it’s
actual cheese you know that’s not such a bad thing you know at our house we throw
peas in it so we’ve got the white from the macaroni the yellow from the cheddar
and the green from the piece whatever it takes to help you get the colors in will
help you eat a more nutritious diet once you start doing that you’ll probably
start feeling more energy another thing you can do if you have a family that
kind of grumbles against green vegetables like mine does is figure out
ways you can sneak them in you know we do a lot of lentil loaf because you know
two of us are vegetarians and two aren’t but that’s our substitute for meatloaf
but lentils and there’s a lot of tomato paste in there and we also will chop up
green vegetables really fine like broccoli and mix them in there or throw
in peas I grow kale and I’ll sauté that sauteed
kale and sauteed sweet potato greens lose their bitter if you saute them just
to the point a big bright green so those are two leafy greens that I can
generally get my family to eat without having to hide them but you can look for
different sauces and you know don’t overdo it on the sauces but you know a
little bit of sauce can sometimes make things more palatable sleep is the time
when your body rests and rebalances and I have a whole playlist on our youtube
channel also use calm /youtube and the playlist is preventing vulnerabilities
and I go into depth in all of these things but hitting the highlights lack
of sleep results in your body being under stress because your body’s like
okay I’m not in pain guess what I’m exhausted so I’m not as
alert as I should be so that’s a threat so it’s going to increase cortisol
levels to help us stay more alert and aware so it’s important to develop a
sleep routine three things and y’all know my favorite numbers three three
things that you do every night before bed to cue your brain that it’s time to
start going to bed you know I will get in bed I will start playing Scrabble
and you know generally I dim the lights and those are the three things I do it’s
not brain surgery you know I brush my teeth ahead of time
maybe that counts in there somewhere but I do the same thing roughly every night
so you know my body’s used to what those cues mean and those can help you and
figure out what helps you sleep some people sleep better when it’s really
cool in the room some people sleep better I know I like to have a blanket
over me you know I like to have a heavy blanket over me even in the summer so
you know having to balance that out they actually do have something called
weighted blankets now and their light weight blankets in that they’re not
going to keep you super hot but they’re weighted with little beans washable
plastic beans that give you more of a feeling of security it’s really good for
children with autism and certain sensory integration disorders and for those of
us who like the feeling of having a heavy blanket so those are things to
consider antihistamines will help you get to sleep more quickly they will
they’ll knock you on your butt however the quality of sleep that you have while
you are while the antihistamines are in your system is typically much worse than
what you need so it’s a light level of sleep you’re getting more hours but more
hours does not equate to more rest and alcohol also can help you get to
sleep faster but it can impair the quality of your sleep and if you have
sleep apnea alcohol often makes sleep apnea worse
so and even just people who snore a lot it tends to make it worse because it
slows down your respiration rate pain causes increased cortisol levels impairs
sleep and for most of us creates an irritable mood and it can be caused by a
variety of things from injury you know out playing soccer and you twist your
knee or illness you know you have an ear infection or a toothache or muscle
imbalances and pain and a lot of us are guilty of carrying something whether
it’s our briefcase or our purse or our backpack I know when I was in college I
always had my back backpack slung over one shoulder so we
end up walking around with one shoulder way higher than the other one
now can you see the muscle imbalance here and I’m only exaggerating a little
bit because when that backpack gets heavy we tend to exaggerate so it’s
important to balance out both sides and either have both straps or carry it half
the time on the other side if you have to that can help in correct exercise
habits I see people at the gym and it just kills me who are just gung-ho on
the bench press and they are doing chest like nobody’s business but I never see
them do back and if you get the chest muscles strong eventually they’re gonna
start pulling in and that back’s gonna be going I can’t compete and start
spasming oversimplified but you get the point
same thing with hamstrings and quadriceps if you work your hamstrings
great but if you don’t also work your quadriceps then or I said that backwards
you work your quadriceps great you don’t also work your hamstrings then you could
have some explosive force with your quadriceps that overwhelms your
hamstrings and causes causes a hamstring tear so anyway when you exercise just
like when you stretch balance front and back you don’t have to do them on the
same day if you want to do chest one day and back the next that’s fine but you do
need to make sure you’re working out agonist in adventists and antagonists
repetitive physical labor can also cause muscle
balances and this is kind of like incorrect exercise habits I live in a
farm and I’m often shoveling mulch and then pushing a wheelbarrow and dumping
it and I tend to shovel you know this way and dump this way so I’m always
turning towards the left and always using this hand to push so I get
imbalanced so I have to force myself to think okay you know we need to shovel
the other way now and it feels really awkward at first but if you only do it
one way then you’re gonna end up causing yourself pain warehouse workers have the
same problem because a lot of people who work in a warehouse pick things up and
twist and put stuff on the conveyor belt or into the truck the same way every
time so from right to left is often the way
people go it’s important to try to also do left to right if you can and if you
can’t do it at work for some reason because it slows your productivity or
whatever practice it at home so you can balance out those muscles poor
ergonomics sitting at your desk is one thing that can cause poor poor
ergonomics if you don’t have a good desk I sit crisscross applesauce a lot which
is not the best for economics so I recently started sitting on a ball and
there it went um except from what I’m teaching sitting on a ball forces you to
engage your stabilizer muscles and it’s harder to get sloppy in your posture
when you’re sitting on a ball and they make chairs they make balls like that
have little legs on them so they’re not as Rolly around but that can help making
sure that your feet are on the floor and the monitors are at the right distance
and all that stuff you can go online and look for desk
ergonomics to find out you know what measurement should be what for you your
sofa is a place we don’t often think about ergonomics but if you spend much
time sitting on the sofa watching TV you want to make sure you have a supportive
sofa I tend to gravitate towards the easy chair just because it has the low
back support and everything and the dogs aren’t as
likely to overwhelm me on the easy-chair but you know wherever you’re sitting
make sure it’s comfortable if you’re laying there and you’re getting your
neck all kinked up then it’s probably gonna bother you and in bed most of us
do not sleep correctly if you if you ask a IRA practie we want to make sure that
when you’re sleeping in bed that your neck is supported it’s not going down
like if you’re sleeping on your side and it’s not overly cranked up you want your
spine to be in alignment when you’re sleeping so if you sleep on your side
that means you may need a pillow between your knees if you sleep on your back you
want to make sure that you have enough neck support for your head if you sleep
on your stomach you know there’s other things so again you can google her
gunawan organ aam –ax or ask your chiropractor or your doctor about it
getting a mattress that is adequate to support you without throwing you out of
alignment is also helpful if you’ve ever been camping you know how you wake up in
the morning and you’re a little bit achy because you’ve been sleeping on the hard
ground and you know that’s fine everyone sno-isle but because the ground doesn’t
give it doesn’t support you the same way that a mattress can and stress can cause
muscle imbalances because we hold a lot of us hold our stress in our neck and
our upper back so when we get stressed you know it starts causing pain that we
need to stretch out or work out or get a massage
so interventions for pain besides drugs remember that most pain relievers your
over-the-counter pain prescription pain relievers are opiates opiates tend to
slow you down opiates will exacerbate feelings of depression in most people so
just be aware of that tens units transcutaneous electronic nerve
stimulation sounds awful it’s great you can actually buy these units
over-the-counter now and it just feels like somebody’s kind of
thing on you like this but it bombards the muscle ending or the nerve endings
with the stimulation so it quits sending the pain signals to the brain you know
it’s kind of like a little kid you’re trying to have a conversation and a
little kid is pulling on your on your jacket going mommy mommy mommy and at a
certain point you can’t focus on this conversation here because you’re
focusing on this little kid pulling on your jacket same sort of thing your
brain can’t focus on the pain signals and the stimulation at the same time so
you’re kind of overriding it a hot tub or heat heating pad that can work for
some people ice is a great thing I love ice because
it can sort of numb that area and it often reduces inflammation alternating
heat and ice is a great way to push out inflammation after that acute phase of
the injury but check with your doctor before you do that stretching you know
if you’ve got back tension you know stretching can help because you’re
forcing those muscles to kind of relax for a minute muscle rebalancing is what
we’ve been talking about making sure that you know if you’ve got one side
that’s too strong and it’s competing with the other side then if you balance
them out they’ll quit competing and that weaker side will not spasm massage great
thing can help work out those kinks guided imagery and there’s a lot of
guided imagery that you can find again online and also in in the book 101 plus
practical tools to defeat depression but thinking about angels if you’ve got
tension in your back thinking about angels rubbing out the knots in your
back or focusing on an entirely different body part or focusing on the
warmth of your blood going to that area that sore and nourishing it so it can
heal a lot of different things and stress reduction anything you do for
stress reduction will help increase serotonin levels serotonin is one of our
moderators of pain it is intimately involved in pain perception so if you
have more serotonin you’ll feel less pain that’s always good the stress
reduction also reduces muscle tension so not only are you increasing your pain
tolerance but you’re reducing the cause of the pain to begin with so you have a
bonus there a healthy body is necessary to feel your best
emotionally brain chemicals that help you feel happy and relaxed are created
from the foods you eat you need to eat good proteins they don’t have to be
animal proteins just good proteins and get enough of the variety of vitamins
and minerals sunlight set your circadian rhythms so you get quality sleep and
helps your body produce vitamin D which helps relieve depression exercise
stretching and yoga can all help increase the happy chemicals and reduce
pain and improve sleep but remember that pain is a fact of life so think about
the best way for you to deal with pain there are many options other than drugs
that you can consider that may help you manage your pain not just for the moment
when you’ve got that medication in your system but actually make it go away so
it quits bothering you other videos like I said if you go to our YouTube channel
all CEUs calm /youtube we have a playlist called preventing
vulnerabilities really the whole hour in death just on sleep and another one just
on nutrition and another one just on pain management so if any of these sound
like reasonable options to help you out by all means check them out if you like
this podcast you can subscribe on your favorite podcast player join our
Facebook group at Doc Snipes comm slash Facebook subscribe to our youtube
channel at youtube.com slash all CEUs education or join our community and
access additional resources including the book before it’s actually released
at Doc Snipes calm thank you you

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