It is Mental health awareness month and believe you me I am very aware of the impact that mental health can have on people and their families. It sometimes feels as if depression is contagious and when a number of family members are battling with depression you will need some strategies for yourself as the carer as well as strategies for them. Or if you are the one struggling with depression yourself I hope some of these strategies can help.
My top 3 Depression strategies
Grounding has been a very useful method to get us connected with ourselves again. Walking barefoot on sand or grass is a great way to start your day or to just deal with stress. Being in nature are actually a very effective way to calm your mind and body and just making it easier to focus.
Essential oils from trees and grasses with deep roots helps us to feel grounded.
Essential oil mix to help feel grounded physically and mentally. ( really effective for ADD )
Vetiver – 4 drops
Frankincense – 4 drops
Cedarwood – 6 drops
Sandalwood – 6 drops
Mix with 30 ml of carrier oil and put a drop or two behind the ears and on your solar plexus. That is the spot just below where your ribs meet. That upper stomach area.
For further reading on the topic of ecotherapy and how being in nature can benefit your mental health I can recommend the following book
2. Stay in the love zone
Creating a space for yourself and others to allow yourself to feel love, compassion, kindness and support is helpful to combat negative emotions which are more likely to happen when your needs are not met.
This is the interesting part. Your emotions and your heart rhythm patterns go hand in hand.
Fear or anger reflects negative energy and create an incoherent heart rhythm patterns. Your heart then send signals to your brain and chemicals are released depending on the sent signal. Incoherent heart rhythm patterns inhibits attention, memory and problem solving. No wonder you can’t think straight when angry or frustrated.
The flip side is when you are experiencing positive emotions such as joy, love, compassion and gratitude you are creating a coherent heart rhythm patterns. These patterns are much more helpful to your physical body and helps the cognitive function such as memory, reasoning and making sound decisions.
3. Shifting your approach
Often people who struggle with depression feel stuck.
Shifting your approach to actually focus your energy on the areas in your life that needs to be addressed rather than pushing it further down.
What does that mean?
It means getting help
1. Professional help
Get professional mental help is really necessary to start looking at those things that you have boxed up neatly and filed away. Addressing the real issues that is causing you to get to this dark place. Mental health therapist such as councilors, psychologist and psychiatrist can help you to look at your problems from a different perspective as well as giving you some tools for your mental health toolbox.
Anti-depressants which are SSRI’s or selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors and then increase the availability of serotonin in your brain.
Certain essential oils can do the same thing. Citrus oils have anti depressing properties and inhaling citrus oils can send signals to the olfactory system and then that stimulate the brain to release neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
How does this work?
When we smell something it is first processed by the olfactory bulb. This bulb runs from the inside of your nose along the bottom of the brain. It has direct connections to the amygdala and the hippocampus. These two areas affect mood and emotion. This is why essential oils can be used effectively to boost your mood.
Your sense of smell is the only sense that pass through the brain area. The other senses such as sight, sound, touch and taste does not travel through these brain areas.
Using essential oils for mild depression can be helpful and you will need to use the essential oil mix regularly for it to be effective. You can’t just do it once a week. You won’t miss a day with your anti-depressants so if you use essential oils as a strategy for your depression then you need to use it twice a day at least.
DO NOT go off your anti-depressant medication and use the essential oil method without consulting with your doctor.
I would suggest that you use your essential oil rather as a complimentary method rather than a standalone method.
You can have a further read about how to use essential oils for depression here.
Essential oil blend to perk you up
Frankincense 6 drops
Frankincense contains sesquiterpenes which can cross the blood brain barrier and increase oxygen to the pineal and pituitary glands.
Lime 6 drops
This is one of the best essential oils for depression and listlessness.
Bergamot 6 drops
Mix with 15 ml of carrier oil. You can open the bottle and just smell the oil mix twice a day. You can also dilute it further with 30 ml of carrier oil and apply the mixture on your solar plexus or on your heart area.
Be careful not to apply citrus oils on your skin and then go into the sun.
Another user friendly method is to use hydrosols. Hydrosols is basically the water that is left over from steam distillation of the essential oils. They might have different chemical properties than the essential oils. Hydrosols are able to mix with water as well where as essential oils do not mix with water, which is why it is mixed with a carrier oil. If you don’t like the feel of oil on your skin then hydrosols is a much better way to use essential oils.
Exercise is a wonderful and easy way to not only deal with stress but help the body to release feel good hormones. Including an exercise program as part of your mental health program is really valuable. It can include something relaxing such as yoga or tai-chi or vigorous like kickboxing.
Take care of you, so that you can take care of those that you love