Studies indicate that positive emotions reduce inflammation in the body and consequently bolster the immune system. Research in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine demonstrated an association between positive mood and lower levels of C-reactive protein, a widely-used indicator of systemic inflammation. Moreover, research from the journal Emotion showed a strong correlation between low levels of interleukin-6, an important inflammatory marker, and feelings of awe.
Someone you love is struggling with suicidal thoughts. What can you do?
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, with almost 45,000 victims every year. Approximately 123 Americans die from suicide each day . . .
Suicide is a serious and complicated issue. There isn’t a foolproof fix for suicidal thoughts, and it’s not always easy to see when someone is contemplating suicide.
Did your doctor or friendly pharmacist tell you that the flu vaccine could put your mental health at risk?
According to the latest research, the notoriously ineffective, illness-inducing, potentially paralytic, and even lethal flu vaccine has one more side effect to add to the list: depression.
One would imagine that researchers are extensively examining drivers of depression, since it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. . . . Not exactly. The prevailing belief is that depression . . .
There is no correct way to respond to loss
For days, weeks, or even months after losing someone, you may wake up in the morning with an overwhelming sadness. It can feel like a heaviness pushing down on your chest, and it starts before your conscious mind has even kicked in to remind you of what you have lost. It wasn’t just a bad dream.
Deaths of family, friends, and partners can be so devastating that your whole orientation in life feels lost, and the way your brain and body initially react to the trauma . . .
[S]ocial media has taken the world by storm. . . .
Have you ever caught yourself in a rabbit hole of mindless scrolling along with a newsfeed, catching yourself 10, 20, maybe 60 minutes later, almost in a daze? Well, you’re not alone. This act of consuming a seemingly endless amount of, often negative, content on social media has been called ‘doomscrolling.’ Although social media is somewhat of an artificial world, the dangers of social media and the impact on mental and physical health [are] real.
A 2017 Consumer Reports survey found that over 55% of Americans regularly take prescription medications — four, on average (Consumer Reports, 2017).
[M]ore than half of us are existing, daily, under the influence of polypharmacy; that is, simultaneously using multiple medications, day after day. . . .
[A] 2018 University of Chicago study was the first to demonstrate that simultaneous use of prescription medications is associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing depression.
Drs. Pompa and Eva Detko discuss natural approaches to healing from emotional toxicity. While Dr. Pompa focuses on the damaging effects of chemicals on the body, Dr. Detko concentrates on the way that emotional trauma can erode health and cause the same health conditions, including autoimmune illnesses, that an unhealthy and toxic lifestyle can trigger. She provides strategies to resolve these issues so as to overcome disease and experience vitality.
It isn’t uncommon for shorter days, cold weather, and a lack of sunshine to trigger mild winter blues, which affects about 14% of American adults. For approximately 6% of people, however, a type of depression called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) descends like a dark cloud. Due to the pandemic, and limitations on social gatherings and celebrations, it’s likely that higher numbers of people will experience SAD this year.
The high costs of COVID-19 are evident in lost jobs, dramatic falls in GDP growth, compromised schooling, shuttered restaurants, and much more. Some of these losses will be recovered over time, some will not. The human costs of the pandemic—above and beyond the gruesome death toll—are much more difficult to assess.
Our analyses suggest that the emotional costs of the pandemic are much higher for the poor and vulnerable than they are for the rich . . .
The Path to Wellness Is through Food
If you are one of the estimated 15 million Americans suffering from depression, you may be surprised to learn that the path to wellness and vitality is through food.
The Western diet of heavily processed, denatured foods has been widely linked to rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Did you know that it’s also linked to poor memory function, hyperactive immune response, and inflammation, all of which affect symptoms of depression?
Dr. Christiane Northrup, MD, talks about energy vampires, individuals with personality disorders, that prey on sensitive and empathetic people. Being in a relationship with an energy vampire generates stress that fuels cellular inflammation and can produce disease - autoimmune disorders, adrenal fatigue, chronic Lyme disease, and other conditions. In this video, Dr. Northrup provides guidance to escape these detrimental relationships that can erode health and wellness.
Between the global coronavirus pandemic and a precedent-shattering election, life-altering change has become the norm. Recent studies show that anxiety, stress, and other mental health symptoms are on the rise. Change has the potential to produce excessive stress, which research links to potentially enduring negative effects, both mentally and physically. Better understand how humans respond to change, and more importantly, discover four easy, free, and natural ways to thrive—even during uncertain and changing times.
You have probably heard that positivity is beneficial and good for you. While it does feel good to think positive, much more is happening!
It turns out that positive thoughts and feelings are two of the best medicines for your body. Your body contains a veritable pharmacopeia of helpful chemicals that are released at the change of a thought/feeling. Science has revealed that positive mental and emotional states actually forge changes in our nervous systems . . .
Why do we endlessly scroll through bad news and how can we stop?
These days, it seems like we’re a glutton for punishment when it comes to bad news. Even though the headlines, tweets, and comments make us depressed and sleepless, we scroll on with the morbid curiosity of people passing a car crash. With a seemingly never-ending list of social, political, and economic car crashes every day, it’s no surprise that this takes a toll on our mental health.
Loneliness is a real health threat, one as serious as smoking. Research indicates that chronic loneliness can facilitate inflammation, which breeds disease. And in today’s non-stop world where developing quality relationships has become more elusive, people are lonely even when living with others. In this podcast, Dr. Mark Hyman and Dr. Vivek Murthy discuss loneliness and how to become better connected to promote improved health and well-being.
Sometimes I feel as though science is catching up with ancient truth. Studies on meditation and prayer continue to build upon what religious leaders have been saying for centuries.
Mindfulness is a mental state where a person is focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness includes a number of practices, but meditation is perhaps the most common form.
I think the rebirth of mindfulness is incredibly important for people today because we lead busier lives, saturated with stimuli . . .
There’s only so much you can take—a global pandemic, an economic shutdown, sheltering at home, social injustice, societal unrest—it’s enough to make your anxiety go through the roof. But how can you tell if it’s just heightened stress or if your anxiety is a real problem?
Here are 7 signs that your anxiety is out of control and 7 strategies . . .
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that develops after you experience or witness a terrifying event. It’s most commonly talked about in the context of veterans returning from war (studies suggest that as high as 30% of veterans will develop the condition) but PTSD can be triggered by any number of traumatic events, including car accidents, natural disasters, an assault, and even childbirth. The symptoms of PTSD vary . . .
Did you know that taking antidepressants can sabotage your sex life? Sexual dysfunction is a common complaint among people taking antidepressants. Research in Drug, Healthcare, and Patient Safety shows that these medications can make you less interested in physical romance, decrease sexual excitement, cause erectile dysfunction and lubrication problems, and make it harder to achieve an orgasm, among other issues.
One of the most pervasive recommendations these days centers on the benefits related to socially distancing ourselves from others.
Social isolation begets loneliness, and loneliness is pervasive in modern society. Research reveals profound relationships between levels of loneliness and risk for various health conditions. Important for our current experience with COVID-19 is the relationship between social isolation and immune dysfunction.
More than 100 million women worldwide use hormonal contraception, and not just to avoid pregnancy. Many have other reasons for using hormonal contraceptives, such as alleviating menstrual pain, heavy bleeding, premenstrual syndrome or acne.
But at what cost?
A 17-year Danish study published in 2017 revealed a startling association between hormonal contraception and the risk of suicide and suicide attempts . . .
With the threat of COVID-19 stacked on top of seemingly endless quarantine, job losses, and social unrest, fears and frustrations have erupted into a rage that is being unleashed at alarming levels. Social media feeds are filled with hateful rants—anger about having to wear a mask, anger at people who refuse to wear a mask, anger directed at governments . . .
Uncontrolled anger is detrimental in so many ways, negatively affecting relationships, physical health . . .
In the wake of the global spread of the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19), many of us have started to think more carefully about our health. How can we reduce our risk of infection and of infecting others? How can we improve our immune function? What might the virus do to our lungs, heart and blood vessels? But while these questions are very important, it’s also critical to consider how a pandemic affects our brains and how to guard them against this damage.
The food you eat directly affects your brain
Food is the best medicine. All your cells, bones, signaling molecules, and tissues are built from what you eat. For example, dietary fats are the building blocks of brain tissue and help balance hormones, and muscles are built from protein. Different vitamins and minerals are used to create energy and send electrical impulses along neurons so that we can move, think . . .
Stress. It’s an awful word and a worse feeling, isn’t it? The thing is, stress isn’t all bad. Without it, we wouldn’t be motivated to take steps to protect ourselves, to plan for the future or to perform.
A certain level of stress (especially “good” eustress) helps us to adapt to our environment and pushes us to excel. The stress that is worrisome is chronic stress, which many in the world and particularly the U.S. may be suffering from right now . . .
Meditation is — without a doubt — one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce stress, calm anxiety, and connect with our inner selves. . . .
And yet, meditation isn’t the only way to calm our minds and get back in touch with ourselves.
Here are a handful of stress-reducing tips that have nothing to do with meditation . . .
We all face stressful situations throughout our lives . . . No matter what the cause, stress floods your body with hormones. Your heart pounds, your breathing speeds up, and your muscles tense.
[C]hallenging situations in daily life can set off the stress response. We can't avoid all sources of stress in our lives, nor would we want to. But we can develop healthier ways of responding to them.
Research show that certain foods may have antidepressant effects.
Good nutrition is associated with improved mood. The relationship between diet and risk of developing depressed mood is probably multi-factorial. Research supports that deficiencies of select nutrients are associated with increased risk of depressed mood, including certain B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, zinc, . . .
New research explores the association between mental health and where you live.
For many residents of urban areas around the world, cities represent the promise of a rewarding life that allows them, more than their rural counterparts, to reap the benefits of economic growth . . . and technological innovation. As a byproduct of this progress, however, densely populated metropolitan landscapes pose unique psychological challenges . . .
It's something we all do at the holidays . . . Faced with the choice of the sweet treat and its healthier alternative, we remind ourselves the holidays come but once a year, and we all fall into this sugar-laden trap. . . .
What they found may change how you approach the dessert table at your next party.
If you repeatedly experience depression symptoms along with sleepiness and fatigue during the winter months, you might be suffering from seasonal affective disorder. . . .
Symptoms of SAD generally include:
- Depressed mood
- Difficulty concentrating
- Excessive sleeping (hypersomnia)
- Carb cravings
Did you know that the foods you eat can either fire up overactivity in your brain’s limbic system (emotional center), which brain scans show is linked to depression, or it can calm activity to promote more positive moods?
Increasingly, researchers are concluding that people with mental health disorders, such as depression, are consuming diets that are lacking in key nutrients for brain health.
For many of us, being relentlessly stressed-out has become an almost ‘normal’ state, however unpleasant. Unfortunately, the stress overload of modern life can have a massive impact on our health, weakening immunity, damaging organs and, over time, increasing the risk for many of the diseases we fear most. So, it’s essential to our well-being that we learn how to relieve stress by. . .
It's a difficult birth for this new decade. The year 2020 kicks off under the shadow of divisive politics, international security threats, a spate of hate crimes, and a planet in environmental peril, plus all the reasons we're stressed individually: work, health problems, life changes and more.
No wonder so many of us are anxious or depressed.
But you can take scientifically validated steps to improve your mental outlook . . .
Depression, Anxiety: All in Your Head?
One of the most remarkable papers I have read in the psychiatric literature was about a 57 year old woman who was treated with months of both antipsychotic and antidepressant medications and given two rounds of electroconvulsive treatment before anyone bothered to check her vitamin B12 level.
Her symptoms were years in the making . . .