Depression wreaks havoc on the entire body by throwing the stress response system out of whack. The risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and cancer are all raised as normal immune function is disturbed by anxiety, stress and /or depression. Difficult relationships, parenting and work issues all contribute to this situation.
This post contains my “prescription” for becoming (and staying) healthy. Basically, here’s what we should all be doing for a healthy, happy lifestyle:
- Get a yearly physical exam. Depression and anxiety can be related to thyroid and other issues
- Exercise: it relieves stress, raises endorphin levels. It’s even better if you get outside in natural light to exercise!
- Journaling: research shows it increases hopefulness,releases stress, and calms the brain.
- Regular Sleep: essential to mood stability and a healthy immune system.
- A good social or family support system increases longevity and raises immune system function
- Professional Therapy: coming for a session BEFORE symptoms are out of hand with regular checkups
Now maybe you are thinking, well, if I could MAKE myself do all of these things, I’d be fine! What you may not realize is that a mental health provider is trained, licensed and qualified to be a resource to help you do these things. A therapist can be your encourager, your supporter, and your guide in prioritizing and planning your best, healthiest life.
Therapy helps uncover the roadblocks to your success that exist outside of your awareness. These roadblocks include childhood messages, both told to you and modeled by your parents, and negative experiences that impact your habits to this day. Together we can gently uncover and examine these self-defeating beliefs without shame or judgment. When “the truth sets you free,” you are then able to move forward and possibly see new levels of well being.