Archive of 5-Day “Learn New Strategies to Deal with Depression & Anxiety”

DAY 1

Over the next 5 days, my goal is to give you tools that I have found to be helpful in dealing with my own mood challenges. I also want to give you hope that you can be happier, calmer, and more productive.

I need to say before we go any further, if you are suffering from severe depression, anxiety, or other serious mood issues, please make sure you get appropriate professional help. This program is not meant to be a replacement.

Today’s topic: Exercise and More is What’s in Store

And to start us off…

Mini-Lesson for Today
Sometimes exercise is the last thing we feel like doing or think we have the time for, especially for those of us who have health challenges. But it is actually time and energy very well spent…if you actually do it. (Regularly and consistently would no doubt give the best results.)

Studies have shown that exercise can be a very powerful mood enhancer.

According to author of A Mind of Your Own, Kelly Brogan, MD, board certified in psychiatry, psychosomatic medicine, and integrative holistic medicine, exercise increases the release of endorphins, lowers inflammation, increases energy, reduces stress, and is “nature’s antidepressant”. Just to name some benefits.

Psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen, in his book Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, maintains that exercise is calming because it raises brain levels of l-tryptophan.

He says that exercise also raises the feel-good hormone serotonin, and balances melatonin levels for better sleep.

One peer-reviewed article adds to Brogan and Amen’s claims. It reports that exercise releases stored energy (thus stress), increases blood flow to the brain, and is a distraction from plaguing depressing and anxious thoughts. The article recommends at least 30 minutes of moderately strenuous exercise 3 times weekly, even if the 30 minutes are broken into segments, like 10 minutes each time. That actually sounds doable.

However, I like Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint weekly fitness plan:

  • 2 1/2 to 5 hours of gentle aerobic exercise like dancing, walking, hiking, swimming.
  • Strength workout 2-3 times, using your own body weight, or kettlebells, weights, etc., targeting major muscle groups. Things like planks, squats, push-ups, and pull-ups.
  • Sprint one time a week for 8-30 seconds 3 times with a short rest between. Running up stairs or doing rapid jumping jacks could work for this.
  • And I add to this stretching daily, even if it’s just for 5 minutes.

If you are not used to exercising I advise starting out slow. One saying that I made up that I use a lot is “Start-Build-Continue”. You can’t go wrong with that. Even if all you can do is walk down the street and back, or dance to one song, do it. Soon you will be able to do more.

On the other hand, if you are an avid exerciser, make sure you are not over-training as this can cause excess cortisol production and actually be detrimental to your well-being in a number of ways.

Or it may be that you have this one piece of the puzzle dialed in, but this is definitely not the case for any of my clients.

Now, I would like to introduce Dr. Ben Griffes who will be sharing a video with us today on stretching here.

Dr. Griffes is a chiropractor and health coach with offices in Tarzana and Thousand Oaks.  His unique style of healthcare includes deep-tissue bodywork (Hellerwork trained), postural balancing, exercise prescription, and nutritional counseling.

In fact, he was awarded Doctor of the Year in 2017 by the California Chiropractic Association. He spends his free time bicycling, playing disc golf, playing music, brewing beer, and being an active grandpa.

Dr. Ben has a weekly online stretching class. He charges just a small fee and if you are interested in it, you can check it out here.
Lastly, you can sign up for his newsletter via the link below.
https://www.bengriffesdc.com/newsletter-blog/

Mini-Tasks for Today

  1. Make a list of exercise activities you like to do
  2. Plan how you will incorporate more exercise/movement into your week.
  3. Head over to our Facebook group and share what is your favorite way to exercise and maybe add why. (I will be sharing mine.)
  4. Add some activity to your day, even if you are tired, or short on time or energy.
  5. For fun, assess your happiness level before and after, like on a scale of 1-10. Really. Try it.

I will be doing a drawing later for today’s winner of Day 1 Giveaway. I will announce the winner tomorrow.

Please share this event with anyone you think may benefit from it. It’s not too late. Share this link to sign up.

Talk to you soon,
Vanessa

DAY 2

Yesterday we kicked things off with the importance of exercise for managing moods and some suggestions on ways to exercise. I hope you are planning on weaving more activity into your daily routine.

Today’s focus will be on food. That may sound ho-hum, but I believe exercise and food are so foundational we are starting with them. The next 3 days we will branch into a lot of more strategical stuff.

So…

Mini-Lesson for Today:
What not to eat for brain/mood health:
There are a number of “foods” best to be avoided, but I will just focus on 4 that I believe are most problematic.

Bad Oils – “If you change only one thing, pick this one” says Dr. Cate Shanahan in her book, Deep Nutrition. Bad oils include canola, cottonseed, safflower, soybean, corn, peanut, wheat germ, rice bran, and sunflower. They are highly refined and chemically altered, and are inflammatory and toxic to the brain and elsewhere.

Sugar – Refined sugar and especially high-fructose corn syrup contribute to inflammation, depression, mood disorders, interferes with nutrient absorption, and suppresses the immune system stresses Chris Kresser, author of The Paleo Cure.

Gluten – If you are consuming wheat and other gluten food items, you may want to consider strictly going off it for a full month to see if you notice a difference. Irritability, anxiety, fatigue, and depression are actually a few of the nonintestinal manifestations of non-celiac gluten sensitivity as well as celiac disease, says Dr. David Perlmutter in his book, Grain Brain.

Alcohol – It is a brain depressant and also it increases adrenal hormone output (think fight or flight). It disrupts sleep cycles, depletes nutrients, interferes with the processes of brain cells, and leads to hypoglycemia. The latter induces cravings for sugar & processed carbohydrates. All of this aggravates mental and emotional problems. (Joseph Pizzorno, Doctor of Naturopathy, Natural Medicine). I am not an abstentionist; l like a glass of wine or a margarita occasionally. But I have come to believe that minimal to no alcohol is better.

These days most of us eat, if I may say bluntly, nutrient-poor crap. It is so important to re-evaluate this. For instance, how well do you think your car would run if you poured Coke into the tank?

So…
What to eat for great mood and brain health:
Again, this post will just focus on a few top food items. Just know that your brain needs nutrients to be able to function properly.

Healthy fats – Extra virgin olive oil, avocados and avocado oil, grass-fed tallow, coconut oil, pasture-fed butter, ghee, nuts, nut butters, olives, and seeds.

Quality proteins – Wild fish, shellfish, grass-fed beef, chicken, pork, eggs (yes, even the yolk).

Vegetables – All kinds, the more variety the better; the more colors the better. Organic is usually preferable.

Fruit – Limit to 1-2 servings, especially if you are trying to lose weight or if you have blood sugar issues. Berries are one of the best fruits for the brain.

Mini-Task for Today:
Purge & Restock

  • Throw out or box up all the bad oils or products with bad oils in your pantry.
  • Go to the grocery store and buy some good oils and other top brain foods.

Now go over to our private Facebook group and share what is one of your favorite healthy food items. And see what mine is!

On another note – Yesterday’s winner of the giveaway drawing was Barbara P. Congratulations! Also, friends are still welcome to join this course.
Just share this link: https://mailchi.mp/a72db74f8836/vtc32ndcpp

For more on food, check out some articles I have written on my website here.

Happy Eating,
Vanessa

DAY 3

So far, we have talked about the importance of exercise and food in managing depression and anxiety. Today, the topic is what I call “mindwork”.

Mini-Lesson for Today
I could write a whole book on mindwork so to keep this a mini I will share only a few ideas. I call this day’s focus “mindwork” because the thoughts we allow to occupy our minds are so critical to good mental health.

Did you know that our thoughts produce brain chemicals?

Here are a few mindwork practices that will set you up to be more happy and calm.

1. Proper perspectives toward life is a good thing to fasten our minds on. Here are some of mine:

  • “In the face of all eternity, it (insert problem here) doesn’t really matter.
  • “Every day is a good day when the lock is on my side of the door”. I heard this about 10-15 years ago from an interview with a former POW. He had been asked to comment how he recovered from that experience and gone on to live such a great life. I think of this often when I am struggling to be happy with certain situations in my life, like limitations or discomfort from my autoimmune conditions.
  • “Trust God and just roll with it”. I remind myself of His sovereignty, that He is in control, He is all-wise, and full of lovingkindness. Nothing can thwart His will.
  • “God will give me enough health to accomplish the purposes He created me for”. This one comes in handy when I start fretting about different health challenges that I have.

2. Practice gratitude. Notice the word practice. It gets easier. Aim for at least 5 before you fall asleep each night.

3. Have daily intentions. Ask yourself when you start your day questions like the ones I use:

  • How can I best use my time today?
  • Who can I serve, show love to, meet a need?
  • How do I want to show up today?
  • What can I do to make today really great?
  • What do I need to do or accomplish to feel satisfied with how it went?

Mini-Task for the Today
(Incidentally, the mini-task has probably been a misnomer the last couple of days. They haven’t been so mini. Sorry. I was even holding back. I promise to be easier on you today.)

  • Print out the My Happiness Toolbox pdf that I created and begin filling it out. No pressure. It can be a work in progress. Put it in a nice spot where you can refer to it often. I keep mine folded in the back of my planner.

By the way, I love my Wyze planner. It makes me happy. If you need a planner, consider this one.

Now head on over to our private Facebook group and share which one of the above Perspectives Towards Life resonates with you the most and why. Or perhaps, share one of your own.

If you miss any part of this program, you can find all of the content in the archive.

Oh, and hey! Today’s winner of the giveaway drawing is Paula M. Congratulations!

Also, friends are still welcome to join this course.
Just share this link: https://mailchi.mp/a72db74f8836/vtc32ndcpp
They can access past content in the archives.

Til tomorrow,
Vanessa

P.S. If you are finding this content helpful and think that you might be interested in personal coaching, contact me here if you would like to schedule a call to discuss the possibilities of working together.

DAY 4

So far we have discussed exercise, food, and what I call mindwork. I hope you have found it all encouraging and useful. Today we will focus on 2 other things that are important for mental health: sleep, & supplements.

Mini-Lesson for Today
Sleep ~ Getting enough sleep is critical for mental health and is critical for many other reasons such as memory storage, creativity, mood optimization, and weight regulation. It affects the immune system, our ability to cope with stress, cravings, productivity level, and hormone balances. And much more.

It is advised that you get 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. For a deeper dive into sleep check out this article that I wrote.

Supplements ~ I am a big fan of eating well, but I have seen the powerful effects that supplements have had on my own well-being. I will share a few that I think are particularly helpful for stress, brain health, and mood issues. But please check with your doctor before adding any of these, especially if you are on any medications.

1. A high-quality multi-vitamin, particularly for the B vitamins. Did you know that your body eats up the B vitamins when it is under stress? Thus it is really important to replace these when you under a lot of stress. My favorite way is with Oxylent. You will notice a difference in a week or less taking this. It really helps with calmness and energy.

2. Adaptogens like ashwagandha. An adaptogen is an herb that creates balance. If you are too jittery, it is calming. If you are too low, it brings you up. Here is a link to an ashwagandha I like.

3. Fish Oil/Omega-3’s ~ It reduces inflammation, improves depression, improves memory and brain function in general. I take this brand. Make sure you get a quality one that is tested for heavy metals and is pure.

4. Melatonin ~ This is great for sleep. I am kind of new to melatonin, but I love it. I heard rumors that it can prevent your own body from making it, but further research debunked this. I currently take 5 mgs 30-60 minutes before bedtime. It boosts the immune system and is anti-inflammatory too.

There are many other supplements that can be very helpful depending on the individual, but those four recommendations are a great starting point.

Mini-Task for Today
Go to bed before 10 pm, early enough to get at least 8 hours of sleep.

Now head on over to our private Facebook group and share what helps you get a good night’s sleep. And check out mine.

If you miss any part of this program, you can find all of the content in the archive.

Oh, and hey! Today’s winner of the giveaway drawing is Megan. Congratulations!

Til tomorrow,
Vanessa

P.S. I offer a 13-week health coaching program that addresses physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Contact me here if you would like to schedule a call to discuss the possibilities of working together.

DAY 5

In the last four days, we looked at exercise, food, mindwork, sleep and supplements, and how they can make a difference in our moods. I hope you have started implementing some of the things if you haven’t been doing them already.

If you feel stuck and want to address your uncomfortable symptoms in a deeper way, let’s schedule a time to talk. There are a lot of other strategies and tools that will help.

So, today we are going to discuss essential oils, deep breathing, and spirituality. These are 3 big things that immensely help me cope.

But before we get to today’s lesson, I want to share another short stretching video led by Dr. Ben Griffes. I think stretching is great for calming down, especially if combined with deep breathing.  Here is his video. I really do recommend you taking a few minutes to look at it, and another few to do the stretches.

Mini-Lesson for Today
Three more strategies:

Essential Oils ~ Essential oils that are particularly helpful for depression lavender, frankincense, peppermint, and grapefruit. Some calming EO’s are roman chamomile, frankincense, lavender, clary sage, melissa, orange, lime, and bergamot. Vetiver is wonderful when you are feeling overwhelmed. Blends are great too.

What I really recommend is getting a good book about essential oils because it is important to use them correctly.  I like this one  and this one.

One tip for calming down that I recently learned was to plug the right nostril and inhale the chosen oil or oil blend deeply through the left nostril. Do this 3 times. This helps the oil get through the blood-brain barrier to the part of the brain that tends to be stuck when you’re anxious, the amygdala.

Deep Breathing ~ This helps you shift from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), which is the “fight or flight” mode, to the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), the “rest and digest” mode. The latter is where we should be most of the time, but unfortunately, this is too often not the case, much to our detriment.

Try deep breathing. There are many ways to do this but I like to do what I call “4 by 4 by 4”. Deep breath in to the slow count of 4, slow breath out to the count of 4. Do 4 of these. I get amazing results in the clinic where I work when someone’s blood pressure is high. Sometimes one has to do more than 4, especially if they are wound up. But 4 by 4 by 4 is really good to do before every meal for better digestion. Or anytime when you start feeling stressed out.

And last, but absolutely not least, and by far the most important…
Spirituality ~ This is doing life with God. Frankly, I don’t know how to do life without Jesus. We actually aren’t meant to either because we are body, mind, and spirit.

This takes Bible reading, meditating on it, praying, and hanging out with other believers. One Bible verse that carries me is Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you for I am Your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand”.  Philippians 4:6-8 is another perfect set of verses for anxiety. You can Google it if you don’t have a Bible. I recommend committing both of these to memory.

(By the way, if any of you want to know more about a relationship with Jesus, reply to this email as I would love to discuss this with you, as a friend, not a client.)

Mini-Task for Today
Print out all five days from the archive so that you can refer back to them later.

Now head on over to our private Facebook group and share what your experience with essential oils has been. Oh, but first…

If you missed any part of this program, you can find all of the content in the archive.

Yesterday’s winner of the giveaway drawing is Missy S. And today’s is Marely A. (I drew it early so that I could announce.) Congratulations to both of you! Your prizes are their way.

Thank you for being a part of this 5-day event. I would love to hear any feedback, both things you especially liked, found helpful, and also how it could be improved.

Warmly,
Vanessa

P.S. My signature program is 13-weeks of one-on-one health coaching. In it, all aspects of wellness are addressed, tailored to your specific needs. Contact me here if you would like to schedule a call to discuss the possibilities of working together.

 

Follow-Up Email

By now I hope that you have had a chance to implement some of the content the 5-day program covered. And, have found it useful.

I have! In fact, right before the 5-day event started I was hit with a number of challenges that forced me to put my own teachings to the test. 

What specific things really helped me? 

  • I reviewed my daily intentions. See #3 on Day 3. It gave me focus and helped me take my mind off of me.
  • Sleep, trusting in its refreshment. So I would crawl into my pod (my bed) each night, thankful for the respite. I often think of sleep as equivalent to putting a cordless whatever into a docking station to recharge.
  • Minimizing alcohol and junky food. I didn’t want to further burden my system.
  • Tapping into my relationship with God. I hung onto Bible verses that I had memorized. I sang hymns and other Christian songs. One that I kept going back to over and over was Amy Grant’s Breath of Heaven. It goes like this, “Breath of Heaven, hold me together”. And He did.
  • I kept reminding myself to “Finish strong”. It’s one of my sayings that I have come to live by. I plan on writing an article soon developing the thought more, but basically, it works for just about everything, like when you feel overwhelmed or losing patience or are about to lose your cool. It works in every circumstance, with small issues or an enormous challenge.

Life can certainly throw some curveballs that we aren’t expecting! It is always good to be prepared.

Anyway, the archive will be available until July 6. You can access it here, really. You may want to review it or copy it for future reference.

I also offer 1:1 private coaching. I am offering the 5-Day’ers my “Family & Friends” discount until July 13th. Click here to schedule a time to discuss working together.

I hope you are having a blessed day!

One thought on “Archive of 5-Day “Learn New Strategies to Deal with Depression & Anxiety”

  1. Yes! Agree with the exercising. Thank you for all of the helpful info. I have recently started back exercising. Love how it makes me feel.

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