Combatting S.A.D.: Mind, Body, & Soul (Part 2)
Continuing with Part II of our three-part series “Combating S.A.D.: Mind, Body, & Soul,” where we discussed Mind last week, we share another wellness alternative for Seasonal Affective Disorder:
Part 2: The Body
Betty Tobin, Minerals Sports Club Fitness Director
Many studies show that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine’s. That feeling, known as the “runner’s high”, can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life. However, unlike with morphine, the high from endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.
Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, ward off anxiety and feelings of depression, boost self-esteem, and improve sleep.
It appears that any form of exercise can help depression – biking, jogging at a moderate pace, swimming, walking, yoga, dancing.
Because strong social support is so important for those with depression, joining a group exercise class at a local gym may also be beneficial. It supports physical activity and emotional comfort.
And because nutrition plays such a large role in the symptoms of depression, I’ve listed some smart choices when it comes to food.
5 Foods to Eat When You’re Depressed:
Eggs - Eat them for the B vitamins and protein (make sure you don’t skip the yolk).
Nuts and seeds - Eat them for the magnesium. This will increase the production of serotonin, a feel-good chemical.
Cold-water fish - Eat them for the Omega-3 fatty acids. This has been known to increase the membrane quality and nerve function of the brain.
Ancient Grains (Quinoa, millet, spelt, barley) - Eat them for the complex carbs which will increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
Green tea - Drink it for the amino acid l-theanine this is known to improve focus and have a calming effect on the body.
Check back next week for Part III of our series to hear from yoga guru Jan Wright on the benefits of yoga and meditation when battling with S.A.D.