Dr. Emmons shares three tips to decrease symptoms of depression.
Let me start by giving some pretty simple tips and things that everyone can do, that you can do relatively simply and that make a very big difference with depression.
The first thing, and if I could tell people to do just one thing for depression and for anxiety it would be this - exercise.
We all know it. We all know it’s good for us and it truly is. It is so good for the brain as well as the rest of the body, and it is as helpful if not more helpful than medication for most kinds of depression, for all but the most serious kinds of depression.
So exercising and I agree with the guidelines that the government has given recently for how much exercise and how often.
I think about 30 minutes, three to five days a week. People who have a little less energy, lower energy, benefit by doing more, so more on the higher end and a little more vigorous exercise.
People who have more anxiety, it’s fine for the exercise to be kind of mild, gentle, anything as simple as walking or any kind of rhythmic movement. So, exercise being really number one.
Second thing, very simple is to take omega-3s and to use fish oil or if you are vegan or just don’t like the idea of fish oil, a reasonable substitute is flax, flaxseed or flax oil.
And I think for fish oil 2000 milligrams a day and for flaxseeds, two tablespoons a day ground up or a tablespoon a day of oil.
And then the third thing which is not always so simple to do but it’s easy to understand and that is to get more sleep.
Sleep is the crucial variable when it comes to recovery and also triggering of an illness.
So people who have, for example, who have a genetic predisposition to depression or anxiety, if they go for a period of time of sleeping poorly or not sleeping enough, it’s the most common immediate trigger for their illness.
So getting in the neighborhood of 7 to 9 hours, our bodies probably really need eight to nine hours of sleep a night, and trying to keep the timing of the sleep really consistent so that you are getting up at roughly the same time every day.
About Dr. Henry Emmons, M.D.:
Dr. Henry Emmons, M.D., is a psychiatrist who integrates mind-body and natural therapies, mindfulness and allied Buddhist therapeutics, and psychotherapeutic caring and insight in his clinical work. Dr. Emmons obtained his medical degree from the University of Iowa College of Medicine and did his residency in psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he was Chief Resident. He practices general and holistic psychiatry and consults with several colleges and organizations nationally. Dr. Emmons is the author of “The Chemistry of Joy: A Three Step Program for Overcoming Depression Through Western Science and Eastern Wisdom.”