Hopelessness. If you suffer from depression, you are probably all too familiar with that feeling. For many, the thought of being indefinitely dependent upon medication in order to feel “human” again just adds insult to injury. But guess what…
THERE IS HOPE!
Before we get to the good stuff, let’s back up for a minute and talk about your brain.
The hippocampus is the part of your brain responsible for memories – storing and organizing old ones and creating new ones. It also helps link emotions and senses to memories. (Ever hear a song or smell a type of food that causes you to remember something from your past? Thank your hippocampus!)
From the time you are born into adulthood, your brain is creating new neurons. This process – called neurogenesis – is imperative for continued learning and creating new memories. Recent studies suggest that clinical depression (as well as high levels of stress and sleep deprivation) may be linked to the failure to grow new neurons in the hippocampus.
Here’s the good news!
Here are 3 ways to stimulate neurogenesis in your hippocampus and treat clinical depression – WITHOUT medication!
Everyone knows exercise will make you healthier, and being healthier makes you feel better. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel happy and it fosters a healthier self-image. But what you probably didn’t know is that exercise also stimulates the growth of neurons and has been shown to be AS EFFECTIVE as anti-depressant medications in treating depression!
2. COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY.
Therapy simply means putting your feelings into words. CBT is a form of therapy that is known to create changes in the brain and increase activity in the hippocampus, which may also help stimulate neurogenesis.
Meditation helps expand your ability to tune into your own moment-by-moment experiences and is definitely associated with positive physiological changes. Although not yet definitively linked to neurogenesis, meditation does increase your mindfulness, a widely accepted and crucial component to cognitive psychotherapy, which makes it a perfect complement to exercise and CBT in treating depression.
Take back control of your life today and make exercise, meditation and therapy a regular part of your daily routine! Stay tuned for more information to come. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.