Alcohol is a big part of the way our society celebrates and relaxes. In moderation this can be a source of enjoyment on many levels. However alcohol is an intoxicant and just as “toxic” is in the word, this mind and body changing substance can cause significant problems. Here are my 10 Tips for working with alcohol wisely
10 Tips for Preventing & Treating Mild or Moderate Depression
- Keep a positive attitude toward life. Challenges are opportunities to improve your life. Learn to turn negatives into positives. Look up (not down) at life, and gather the enthusiasm you can.
- Create a regular exercise program that includes stretching, weights, and aerobic activity. Research has shown that exercise improves hormonal balance and helps to relieve depression.
- Find ways to access and talk about your feelings and frustrations with friends or loved ones. If that is not easily available or if you are hesitant to “air out” your personal issues, find a compatible counselor.
- Eat a wholesome and balanced diet, because having all the right nutrients – vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids–supports your mental, physical, and emotional health.
- Take a regular multivitamin-mineral appropriate to your needs to insure adequate levels of all of your required nutrients.
- Avoid any regular use of substances that may alter your moods. This includes sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and many food additives, such as synthetic food colorings and flavorings, MSG, aspartame, and others.
- Also, watch out for food reactions that can affect your mood and energy from such foods as sugar, wheat products, and cow’s milk.
- Try natural remedies that are known to help with depression, which might include St. John’ s Wort (300mg, 3-times daily) or SAMe (200-400mg, 2-times daily).
- If those do not work adequately, try the anti-depressant amino acids, such as L-tryptophan (500-1,000mg at night, and available through compounding pharmacies with a doctor’ s prescription) or its variant 5-HTP (50-100mg at night). Both of these improve serotonin levels, which helps with sleep and feeling positive. L-tyrosine is another more energizing, anti-depressant amino acid, and 500-1,000 mg can be taken in the morning as well as after lunch. Phenylalanine, another amino acid, has also been shown to improve depression.
- If all this doesn’t work – if the depression is severe or chronic – consult with a psychiatrist or therapist, and consider an anti-depressant medication. Another option is to be evaluated by an orthomolecular psychiatrist or a physician with in-depth training in vitamin therapy. Chemical and nutrient imbalances in the body, which often cause depression, can be influenced and improved through nutrient therapy.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S. so it is wise to address prevention as soon and as often as possible. These 10 Tips, published in Total Health magazine are a good place to begin.
Detoxification has been a core healing principle and practice for me since I did my first cleanse in 1975. I believe it is the missing link in modern healthcare and nutritional medicine, and my book The Detox Diet tells you everything you need to know to get started.
Seasonal transitions, from Summer to Autumn for instance, are a particularly good time to consider giving our body a break from old habits so we can readjust and realign.
Here are my simple 10 Detox Tips:
1. Follow a non-toxic lifestyle. Eat wholesome, natural foods, drink plenty of good quality spring water or filtered water (8-10 glasses a day), exercise regularly, and avoid junk foods and additives in order to minimize the need to detoxify.
2. If you feel toxic or congested — with aches and pains, allergies and sinus congestion, sluggish digestion, or skin rashes for example — you might consider a detoxification program as a first step toward healing.
3. If you have habits to any of the SNACCs (Sugar, Nicotine, Alcohol, Caffeine, or Chemicals) take a break occasionally to evaluate how you really feel without them. These short breaks can give you a new perspective. Is your habit an easy pleasure, or is your body paying a price?
4. Detoxify your body and life in a way that feels right to you, through a combination of diet changes, juice cleansing, and supplements. Challenge yourself a little, but avoid the attitude, “No pain, No gain.” The idea is to take extra good care of yourself with the new attitude of “I love myself and care for my body in loving ways.”
5. Create the time and space to detoxify successfully. You may want to do a weekend fast. You might also consider a seasonal approach, like a 7-10 day Spring or Autumn Cleanse. In either case, starting on a Friday gives you the weekend to transition in and out of your program.
6. My favorite cleanses are:
- The Master Cleanser – a lemonade diet described in the Spring Cleansing section of my book Staying Healthy with the Seasons.
- Fresh Vegetable Juices and broths, with added Spirulina, Chlorella or other blue-green algae.
- The Detox Diet – a very smooth and easy way to take a needed cleansing break with three meals daily as described in my book.
7. Plan to include regular exercise in your life and create a balanced schedule of activity and rest, work and play. Take the opportunity to be outside, spend some time walking in the trees, by the ocean or along a river. In the city, watch the sky to stay connected to Nature. Do not forget to relate to flowers, birds, and other natural life forms.
8. Enjoy saunas, sweats, showers, and skin brushing to help detoxify. The skin is our largest and least appreciated organ of elimination and these activities help cleanse our tissues and give us energy.
9. Make sure you keep your digestive tract cleansed. Have a bowel movement at least once or twice daily, using fibers, magnesium, herbs like aloe vera, saltwater flushes, enemas, or colon hydrotherapy. These can all be helpful in experiencing healthy cleansing. This is a very personal issue, but necessary for experiencing vibrant health.
10. Be positive and drop at least one old habit this month. Even a change as simple as giving up wheat or dairy products, sugar or caffeine, could make a big difference in your health. Embrace the possibility for improved health when you focus on changing your lifestyle habits.
© Elson Haas MD 2016
- Nutrition – Avoid too many stimulants like caffeine and excessive sugar. Focus on high-nutrient natural foods to keep the body nourished and relaxed. Artificial chemicals may create increased toxicity and inflammatory stress.
- Supplements and Herbs—as needed, support the body and its organs: e.g. for the adrenals use vitamins B and C; plus benefit from herbs like licorice root, ashwaganda, and Siberian ginseng; or support for liver through body detoxification (giving the liver a little rest) along with various nutritional products, such as alpha-lipoic acid or milk thistle herb containing silymarin.
- Exercise—Regular physical activity offers a great program for stress reduction. There are also many valued “internal exercises” as tai chi and qigong.
- Social support—with a listening, caring friend or family member; with more significant issues, a licensed therapist or counselor could be helpful.
- Behavior Modification—learn how to replace undesirable behaviors with more desirable ones through positive or negative reinforcement. Similarly with your thoughts – practice rethinking—seeing a challenging situation differently and visualizing the desired outcome.
- Attitude—How do you look at life? Make positive changes to support your mood and energy level.
- Meditation—deep breathing aids relaxation and stress reduction programs/methods such as Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn.
- Prayer—as with meditation, tune into what’s right and best for all; as your belief in any higher power. The main prayer might be, “Thy will be done through me.”
- Laugh—watch a funny movie or TV show. Your sense of humor is a great stress reducer.
- Connect with Nature—take a short walk – fresh air, trees and water can help us calm down and rebalance.
- Become Current in your Life in this inspiring Spring season. Embrace yourself honestly as you look at all of your habits and areas of your own life. Even with all the worldly concerns, care for yourself and your loved ones. Assess the various aspects of your lifestyle to see where stresses or weaknesses exist with special attention to what I call The Five Keys to Staying Healthy – your Nutrition, Exercise, Stress, Sleep and Attitude. Focus on those areas that need improvement.
- Choose Three Habits that inhabit you and likely undermine your current and future health and life.
- How and when did these habits begin, and are you ready to let any of them go?
- Which ones are most important for you to change to create a healthier you?
- Do you need help, or can you do this on your own?
Then decide on what you can do for the change you want. Here’s my list that I have seen affect my day-to-day health and energy:
- Eat more lightly at night so that I can digest more fully to be ready for sleep.
• Take more time for stretching and yoga.
• Create a nutritional plan with some other medical experts to reverse some plaque build-up I have and to help clear my coronary arteries.
Remember that it’s easier to give up old habits if you start something new, like breathing and relaxing more, walking, dancing, romancing, and overall, making more time for health.
- Look at your Dietary Choices. What do you choose to put in that mouth of yours? And what do you fuel your other mouths with; those areas of energy intake, like your eyes, ears, skin, and heart? Write down a few days of your typical diet, then assess it and write a new plan based on your knowledge of what is right for your body. You may also wish to take a break from the TV, news, violent movies, and stressful people while you are purifying your life. It is good to have a reference point by taking a break, even with substances like caffeine and sugar (as in my book, The Detox Diet, Third Edition), to see how you feel and assess your level of dependence on your favorite substances. I can assure you that it feels good to release yourself from those habits. Remember, Better Choices create Better Health!
- Do some Cleansing or Detox Program for 1-3 weeks this Spring. This could include juice cleansing, the Detox Diet, Nutritional Smoothies, or a period off sugar, chocolate, sodas, milk products, wheat, or whatever you believe undermines your health. To do this successfully, it helps to write out a plan and focus more on what you will eat and less on what you’re not. Make a list of your good foods, shop for them, and have them available whenever you are hungry. And drink lots of good water. At a minimum, take a break from the Big Five: Sugar, Caffeine, Alcohol, Wheat and Dairy.
- Now let us look at your Nutritional Supplements. What are the best ones to use during a detoxification diet? During a food-based Detox Program I suggest a simple age-and gender-appropriate multivitamin/mineral along with additional antioxidants that include Vitamins C and E (mixed natural tocopherols), and selenium as the basic supplement plan. Also helpful for most people are herbs that stimulate bowel function such as aloe vera capsules or ones containing herbs like Cascara sagrada or senna leaf. Blue green algae, like Chlorella or Spirulina, can be used for energy and detox support. I also suggest drinking plenty of water and herbal teas. Calcium and magnesium before bed can help with relaxation and sleep, or a buffered vitamin C formula with those minerals (plus potassium) help to alkalinize and cleanse the body. For sleep support, we can use amino acids 5-HTP (100-200mg) or L-Tryptophan (500-1,000 mg) at bedtime.
- Clean and Organize your Home. Spring is the season for clearing out the old and bringing in the new. I love this feeling of looking at my desk, my closet, and every nook and cranny around my house and office, and wanting to freshen them all. And it is a good way to stay out of the kitchen (which also gets cleaner along with my fridge) and look at other areas of my life. Of course, after all my years of accumulating and with all the communication and medical/health journals I receive, it is harder to handle everything in my life than it was in my earlier years of cleansing. Yet, I do what I can and sometimes have my support team keep moving things forward and recycling what we can. Then, my life feels and looks cleaner and lighter at the end of my Spring Cleaning, and has space for the new to land. What can you do to help clean up your home space and your life?
- Get Outdoors and Exercise — move your Body! Stay Fit and Stay Healthy. Friluftslivis a Norwegian word for healing and de-stressing by going outdoors and exercising in the free and fresh air. Hike and explore your neighborhood and extended community, or find a place you have heard about and want to visit. I love the lightness and easiness I feel when I am cleansing, and my body feels more flexible and able to do my aerobic exercise. A yoga class is also a good experience for expanding our flexibility. Breathe and relax as well. Play music, dance, and make time for romance. Remember, this is the Spring season!
- Next look at your Emotional and Spiritual aspects. How do you usually feel? Are you low or depressed, or more positive and energetic? Ideally, we can feel a wide range of emotions based on our daily life experience and not dwell on one particular emotion, which is the real problem. I can tell you that many factors ranging from your diet and digestive health to your early childhood behavior patterns influence your mood, energy level, and emotions, and thus your Spiritual Well Being. Embrace the whys of moods and energy levels with greater honesty about your true feelings, which is the beginning of healing feelings. Review your personal relationships and how they affect you and how you affect them. Invite your significant other, friends, or relatives to go along with you on your Spring Cleansing diet for their own good and for mutual support. In my cleanse groups, I find that personal support is extremely valuable for many people to achieve the success they want.
- Let’s become more Earth-aware and Earth-friendly as the beauty of Nature’s renewal inspires us this season. Be conscious of where things come from and where they go – and the real cost of products you use – such as plastics and chemical products. Re-use and Re-cycle. Support more earth-conscious businesses and products. How do you vote with your dollar?
- Make your Overall Plan and Commitments. Once you have reviewed the key areas of your life and made your list of some specific changes you want to make, don’t forget the Big Picture. If LOVE moves into all those areas, that’s all the better, as you will care for yourself and your life, plus your relationships, in a more positive way. Human love is temporary for many, yet love in the Spirit is everlasting. We are all blessed to share this garden, this Earth, which needs our Love and Protection. We must take the time to Nurture Nature, in order to be Nourished and Flourish in return. Stay Healthy!
1. Take time to eat and chew your food well for best digestion.
2. Drink high quality, non-contaminated water; at least six glasses per day.
3. Base your diet on vegetables – raw, cooked, steamed, or baked – and fresh fruits.
4. Eat a wholesome breakfast, a hearty lunch and a lighter evening meal. Don’t overeat after sunset.
5. Eat a greater percentage of high fiber and carbohydrate foods (vegetables, grains, beans), and a lesser amount of animal fats and proteins.
6. Avoid excessive consumption of fried foods, salt, sugar, refined foods and chemicals.
7. Work at correcting your abusive habits like caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and sugar. Stay away from daily use and evaluate how you feel.
8. Take easy walks after meals, if possible, and get enough exercise to best utilize the nutrients and calories you consume.
9. Eat a balanced diet, focusing on whole grains, vegetables, legumes and fresh fruits. When appropriate, add nuts or seeds, dairy products and animal foods (predominantly fresh fish or organic poultry).
10. Individualized to your needs, take a multiple vitamin-mineral as indicated for your age and sex, extra vitamin C and antioxidants, as well as other supplements.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD
Water is important year-round, especially during the hotter, drier months of summer, and if we’re staying fit with exercise and sweating, we need to maintain our hydration. The more water content foods we eat (such as fruits and vegetables that contain minerals) the better hydrated we are. Let’s review the keys to healthy water balance.
1. Proper hydration with water is essential. Most of us need at least six to eight 8-ounce glasses of good, clean drinking water, daily. Coffee, alcohol, sodas or other sugary beverages do not count toward our daily two quarts of liquids as they do not hydrate our tissues well and often have the opposite effect, causing dehydration. Water is the best choice for proper hydration. However, herbal teas and fresh juices do count because of their high water content; furthermore, fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet do add to our water intake. Water is second in importance to air, which we need by the minute. We can survive only about a week without water, whereas most of us can live as long as six weeks without food. Water supports our immune system and flushes toxins from the lymph system and body, which is actually composed of about 70% water – that’s about 10 to 12 gallons! In fact, brain and muscle consist of about 75% water and blood is 85% water content. Except for bone and fat tissue, most of our body is water!
2. Finding the right water balance for each of us is also important. This is based on our body size, level of physical activity, exercise and sweating, the local climate, and our diet. A diet that is dry and high in proteins and fats creates a need for even more water to flush these foods healthfully through our system. The average American drinks only 4.6 cups of water a day, or 36 ounces. That is a bit shy, especially when most of us do not consume our share of fresh fruits and veggies. Water drinking should be a habit, something we do without having to think about it. Only one third of Americans claim they drink eight glasses of water a day; 28% have three or fewer servings and nearly 10% say they don’t drink water at all. The most frequent reason given by Americans for not drinking water is lack of time, as reported by 21% in a recent survey. Like anything, preparation saves time and allows us to engage in these healthier habits. Prioritize water hydration and during hot weather, drink 2 to 3 glasses more than usual. When we have a cold, or for many illnesses and symptoms like headaches and allergies, it is helpful to hydrate the body fully with water and herbal teas. We can know this by our urinary output, generally every couple hours during the day.
3. Exercise! Unless injured or unable, it’s always important to move your body, so create a consistent and sometimes challenging program for your health. Remember that when you exercise regularly and sweat, you will need more fluid replacement. Be sure to drink cool to room temperature water and do not depend on thirst to tell you when; instead drink anyway! Take your walks, go on hikes, ride a bike and work out with weights at home or at a gym. Even try something new, like a yoga class. Stretch out your body and stay flexible and youthful. Before and during exercise, drink fluids, particularly water, to reduce body temperature, moderate cardiovascular stress and improve performance. After a strenuous workout, it’s important to replace the fluids you’ve lost. The late Jack LaLanne states: “Exercise is king, Nutrition is queen.” Put them together and you have a healthy kingdom.
4. Good, clean water is not a given. Most city waters and even wells are suspect for contamination with microbes and chemicals. It is wise to invest in an appropriate filtration system since water is such an important component of our body. The best is a reverse osmosis (RO) unit or a solid carbon block type filter. What is most effective for your home use depends on what your water concerns are and how much water you need. Many people also buy bottled water from natural springs, or water bottled after filtration, and some people are embracing alkaline water systems. Drinking water that is more alkaline or contains added bicarbonates (may include calcium and magnesium salts) may offer some balancing, healing effects, although this needs to be further researched. If you use a consistent drinking water brand, check it out by calling the company and asking for a report. Avoid over intake of water stored in plastic bottles as we have concerns about this, even though we don’t truly know its long-term effects yet.
5. Dehydration is a very common problem that nearly every one of us experiences at some time. All cells in our body requires water to function — to bring in nourishment and carry away wastes. When these functions aren’t performed fully (due to dehydration), a range of symptoms can occur. At even 1% dehydration, most people get thirsty, which is the body’s warning sign. Dehydration can cause dry mouth, flushed skin, fatigue, lightheadedness, headache, or impaired physical performance, as well as lapses in concentration. Headache may be a sign of increased toxicity. Other problems from more chronic dehydration include constipation and poor digestive function, dry and itchy skin, a reduction in urine output, and even an increased incidence of painful kidney stones. One of my favorite slogans is “Dilution is the solution to pollution.” So, drink your water!
6. Add some nutrients to your water as it may make it healthier and more palatable for you. Some folks do not like to drink plain water; they just have distaste for it. If so, try various bottled waters to see if there is one you like. Add some lemon, lime, or a tea bag to give it some flavoring. Water can also be flavored with a little orange or apple juice, or some nutrient powders like Power-Paks, Emergen-C or other vitamin-mineral combination available at your store. I add trace mineral ionic concentrates to my water drink in the morning and for exercise; my family starts each day with nutrient-rich water with a bit of juice. Warm drinks include herbal and green teas, lemon water, chai, and vegetable broth. Starting the day with a cup of hot water can awaken you and your digestion; some people like a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar. Hot water sipped throughout the day is a popular therapy for illness in Asia.
7. The best time to drink water is first thing in the morning, ideally two or three glasses. I also encourage people to drink between meals rather than too much while eating, as increased fluids dilute the strength of our digestive juices and lower the efficiency of digestion and assimilation. For those working to lose weight, drinking a couple glasses of water about 30 minutes before meals will hydrate the tissues, curb the appetite, and likely lower the amount of food consumed. Water is also so important for healthy skin, good circulation and staying young and healthy. To summarize, the ideal times to drink water are:
- First thing in the morning when you wake up
- Mid-morning & mid-afternoon
- About 30-60 minutes before meals
8. Water and weight loss is an important topic, so here is some more information. Focus mainly on vegetables and other wholesome foods and stay away from processed and sweetened high-calorie foods and snacks. Definitely switch to pure water from the caloric, sugary beverages. Drink several glasses of water when arising and 30-60 minutes before planned meals. Make this fun, tasty and a priority. Review tip numbers 6 and 7 above for further ideas, plus number 3 for your exercise motivation. Carry water with you so it’s readily available. Also, be sure to eat a couple fruits daily, plus try to make and consume homemade vegetable soups.
9. Kids need water too. Children do not handle heat and dehydration as well as adults, and the younger they are, the greater the concern. Diarrhea and subsequent dehydration and malnourishment may be the number one cause of death in kids throughout the world. Elders need water too. They are very sensitive to dehydration and the effects of hot weather. Heating and cooling of the body can be accomplished with warm or cool foods and beverages. This is a natural inclination, yet it may need to be developed in this world where kids (as well as all of us) are exposed to relentless advertising. Drinking warm/hot water and teas is a good habit for those living in the colder climates. Adding splashes of juice is helpful in getting kids to drink water instead of sugary beverages. Also, adding a nutrient powder, many of which are nicely flavored, provides a good start to a child’s day, or as replenishment after a busy or active time. For children who are overweight or who are fixated on sodas and sugary drinks, it will be a great lifetime health benefit to switch them to water and lighter drinks, such as juice and carbonated water combinations. Set a good example for your adolescents by drinking your water too!
10. Other General Ideas on Water:
- Water your flowers and plants. Use aromatherapy and flowered sprays to mist the air and your body, and like plants, you can hydrate yourself.
- When it comes to airplane travel, it is easy to experience dehydration, so drink your water and avoid salted foods and alcohol beverages.
- Many medications, such as diuretics, can cause dryness, while others can cause water retention and bloating. Learn about any medicines you take, even the natural ones. Mainly, when we take meds or eat too much junk, we usually need to drink lots of water.
- I mentioned above about concerns regarding plastic containers. Harder plastics like polycarbonate may be safer than polyethylene material, which emits plastic into the water more readily. For sure avoid all plastic containers for lemon water or the Master Cleanser, because the acids in lemons leach out even more toxins.
- Bathe your body regularly. Soak in water for the relaxation and healing it generates. Sweating, as in saunas, physical work, sweat lodges, hiking, or eating chili peppers may help us to live long and healthy!
- Swimming is a great recreation and exercise. Find a pool, lake, river or ocean and have some great fun during the warmer weather.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD
1. Eat in a relaxed way in a pleasant setting and take your time. Chew your food well, ideally until it is liquid. If you are under emotional pressure or in a hurry, eat simple food with fresh juice such as yogurt, a few sunflower seeds, a protein bar or fruit.
2. Keep up your exercise regimen. Walking and yoga are both particularly good for digestion support. If you want to do any type of strenuous exercise, wait at least two hours after eating.
3. Drink enough water (6 to 8 cups a day), but not with meals (it dilutes digestive enzymes) unless you’re on a weight-loss diet trying to lower food intake. Minimize ice cold drinks and consume more soothing warm drinks such as hot lemon water or herbal teas.
4. Get enough fiber in your diet, whether from vegetables and fruits, bran, psyllium or chia seeds, and an adequate amount of whole grains and fresh sprouts (or cooked legumes if digested well).
For dealing with digestive problems, try these tips:
5. Remove food allergens from your diet. Learn which foods cause reactions and affect how you feel. See my book, The False Fat Diet. You may need a blood test to check your food sensitivities.
6. Minimize toxins and irritants; eat organic foods whenever possible and eat simply. People who have digestive disorders should avoid additives, such as fluoride (often added to toothpaste) and carageenan (found in cottage cheese and other foods), both of which can act as irritants.
7. If you have chronic indigestion, try supplementing your meals with enzymes and/or hydrochloric acid. If that doesn’t help, ask your doctor to test you for these factors. Then, supplement as needed with enzymes (to aid digestion), bicarbonate soda (for excess acid), or betaine hydrochloride capsules (for deficient stomach acid).
8. Learn your best personal remedies for digestive upsets. You can learn to minimize constipation and diarrhea by using foods, herbs and nutrients that help to prevent these common ailments, and cope with them when they do occur.
9. Occasional indigestion, heartburn, bloating after you eat and flatulence are normal, or at least quite common, and they can be remedied. Chewing well and following Food Combining guidelines can help with digestion, but if you have ongoing symptoms of digestive upset, get tested to see if you have food allergies (reactions), low or high stomach acid, yeast overgrowth, or other bad bugs. Your health care practitioner can order these tests from a specialty lab.
10. Support and repair the digestive tract with the right nutrients, such as glutamine and other vitamins and minerals (see The Detox Diet book). Remember: Eat a low allergenic diet, find the best foods that feel right to you and chew your food well.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD
1. Practice self-respect and self-love; they reinforce each other. With these feelings, you will treat yourself and others with the highest regard. Find friends that support your growth and your life of healthy habits.
2. Work with yourself or with the aid of a counselor to heal past wounds and sources of destructive behavior. These might be smoking, alcohol and/or drug abuse, or acting out toward others from deep-seated frustrations and anger. Remember that there may also be a biochemical component to addictive behaviors.
3. Learn about fair fighting in your personal relationships to avoid vicious or violent arguments that could separate you further from your loved ones, and which can cause emotional damage. Learning to listen fully before responding is an important approach in healing conflicts. Know the difference between reaction and response.
4. A key guideline in personal relationships is, “Don’t say things out of anger.” Remember that words can be deeply hurtful. Learn to express your anger in safe and non-hurtful ways; anger can be a teacher to help in your healing. When you feel angry, work it out through physical activity rather than in your relationships, and then heal the problems through constructive communication.
5. Eat a balanced diet with good-quality foods, such as vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits. Avoid foods that cause reactive symptoms as they can affect your moods. Try to break food habits/abuses, especially to psychoactive foods such as sugar, chocolate, caffeine, alcohol and for many people, wheat products. Explore the Glycemic Index online since a diet lower in sugars can stabilize mood.
6. Exercise regularly with a balanced program that includes stretching for flexibility, aerobics for endurance and weight training for strength. This can help to lower body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Exercise makes your body, mind and heart happy, and is a good prevention for depression.
7. Nutritional supplements to support emotional well being include the essential fatty acids, the B vitamins, calcium and magnesium to relax the body and muscles, valerian root or kava for anxiety or better sleep, and St. John’s wort, SAM-e, or 5-HTP for depression.
8. Learn to manage your stress and communicate your feelings in a safe and non-aggressive way. Practice forgiveness and moving forward in life, still being aware of what you have learned from your life experiences (to avoid repeating mistakes in behavior).
9. Identify your key issues, create positive affirmations and practice them daily. Examples could be, “I am a loving person and I deserve love.” Or, “I am happy and healthy, physically and emotionally.”
10. Develop close personal relationships that you can count on for support. Continue to expand your ability to give and receive in your friendships and “loveships,” and let your sails fly free in the wind. Give yourself permission to live with passion and spontaneity.
© 2015 by Elson Haas, MD