While the mortality rate of women with breast cancer is decreasing, the incidence of depression in women who have undergone treatment for breast cancer is on the rise. As many as 50% of all women who are affected with the disease will experience some kind of post-recovery melancholy. Thankfully, researchers from the Sinclair School of Nursing at the University of Missouri have brought to our attention a specific meditation technique, and suggest how it can help breast cancer survivors revive their zest for life.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is a type of mindfulness training that uses the mind to combat anxiety and bring about a sense of wellbeing. It includes mental practices that heighten physical awareness, as well as yoga and time spent in quiet, reflective meditation. Developed by Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn in 1979, MBSR helps people foster their own mind-body connection, as well as create a deeper awareness of how thoughts and feelings can affect physical and emotional health.
The MBSR program consists of eight to ten week group sessions including practice in meditation skills, stress response and coping techniques. The University of Missouri’s team of researchers gathered data from the participants during and after the group sessions. Measurements of blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate were recorded. Not surprisingly, the participants’ physical responses to MBSR were favorable. Blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate all decreased, suggesting a lowered stress response. In addition, the subjects said their mood improved and their level of mindfulness increased.
“Gluten-free diet linked to increased depression and eating disorders” – the headline immediately caught my attention. As I read the first article, I was theorizing in my head about the chemical impact of gluten and carbohydrates in our brains and bodies, as well as the mental strain of adhering to a strict diet and the extra effort it requires. I thought a correlation between depression and a gluten-free lifestyle was possible, I thought about all my friends and family members living gluten-free, and I started digging for the actual research to investigate the experimental method used. What I found was that the alarming headline was taken from partial statements made by an experimenter, but the entire findings were not taken into account.
Unfortunately, this can be common in the news media and blogosphere where the focus is more on attention-grabbing sound bites rather than in-depth analysis and education. It is my sincere hope that everything I write (here and elsewhere) and everything you read at DietsInReview is researched and thought out, and we are not jumping to conclusions or publishing alarmist headlines simply because it is provocative.
In this case, the research found that those women with celiac disease (177 surveyed) who were most compliant with a gluten-free diet reported “increased vitality, lower stress, decreased depressive symptoms, and greater overall emotional health,” according to Josh Smyth of Penn State. This sounds like the opposite of the alarmist headline that grabbed my attention. The caveat is that those surveyed, even those managing celiac disease well through a gluten-free lifestyle, reported “higher rates of stress, depression, and a range of issues clustered around body dissatisfaction, weight and shape” compared to the general population.” (more…)
The TIME Magazine cover article from December 5, 2011, by Alice Park titled The Two Faces of Anxiety has raised a bit of a ruckus online. Mostly, bloggers have questioned the choice to make Why Anxiety Is Good For You the cover art in the United States, while a graphic image of the Egyptian revolution was published in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific editions. It has been questioned whether TIME believes Americans do not care about world events or are simply that self-focused. It seems to me that the editors of TIME simply believe “anxiety” is a buzzword that will sell in America, and apparently more than an uprising in Egypt. This seemed even more likely after watching the interview the senior editor of TIME did with CNN to discuss the problem of anxiety that they claim 18 percent of American adults suffer from.
By Deb Roby from Weight for Deb
The holidays are fast upon us, but maybe -for you- this year is different. Either through a move, a divorce, or a death, someone isn’t going to be at your holidays. Maybe nobody will. You might be looking at a week or more of spending quiet days and nights with a spouse or an adult child and you just Do.Not.Feel.In.The.Mood.
Fourteen years ago, I moved across the country from all of my family. In the years since then, parents have died, nieces and nephews have moved to new cities. There is no reason to return to hometowns. It’s just the two of us. Yet here, all our friends are with their families. Some have extended an invitation; it always feels like being the outsider looking in. It’s easier to decline than go.
So I’m speaking from experience. How do you keep from feeling alone when you’re alone during the holidays?
Are you one of the millions of Americans who depend heavily on your laptop or cell phone to get you through the day? Do you come home from work and instead of spending quality time with friends, exercising or doing chores you find yourself logging on to your Facebook or Twitter account? Do you incessantly check your email, the weather report or the news hoping something exciting will snap you out of feeling bored with your life? Do you feel lost without some sort of digital device that can dole out information in less than a few seconds when you have a burning curiosity about something?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, a digital detox plan might be the best gift you can give yourself this year.
Read these steps, tips and guidelines designed to help you dismiss digital depression. When you are finished reading, shut down your computer, turn off your Smartphone, completely unplug, and give yourself a well-deserved break.
It is estimated that at least 6 out of 100 people suffer from some type of light deficient depression during the dark days of winter, but turning your clock back an hour doesn’t have to leave you in the dark. If sunshine on your shoulders makes you happy and being starved for daylight puts you in a funk, imagining the sun can be the next best thing to keep your spirits up this winter.
Your imagination is very effective since your mind and body sometimes don’t know the difference between whether your brain is just thinking something or if you are actually experiencing something. According to the American Psychological Association, studies have associated the use of guided imagery techniques with positive outcomes such as reduced anxiety and depression. So, whenever you need to bask in some radiant sunshine, whether you are inside or out, this simple guided imagery can help.
Practice the following sequence as often as necessary and start to feel brighter, more cheerful and full of positive energy.
We know that a regular yoga practice offers many health benefits whether you are an experienced practitioner or just starting out to try yoga for the first time, but more and more often, studies have shown yoga has many benefits that stretch way beyond having flexible hamstrings.
If you or someone close to you is the estimated one in eight women with breast cancer, please read and share this article. Yoga is scientifically proven to help in many positive ways.
Researcher Suzanne Danhauer, Ph.D. from the Wake Forest School of Medicine says, “Mind-body therapies improve mood, quality of life, and treatment related symptoms in people with cancer.”
According to a study published in an issue of Psycho-Oncology, women who participated in a ten week program of 75 minute Restorative Yoga (RY) classes gained differences in their status of mental health; specifically depression, emotions and spirituality (measured by feelings of calm and peacefulness) compared to the control group.
The book Moving Beyond Depression: A whole-person approach to healing by Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D. with Ann McMurray may be a self-help treatment approach that you find fits well with your desires to improve health and lose weight. Dr. Jantz suggests that our culture is over medicated, especially when treating depression, and many find side effects like weight gain and decreased libido contribute to depression even if overall mood is improved. While the book begins with emotional currents, there is also a nice focus on nutrition, movement, and the whole person.
It is likely that Dr. Jantz chose to begin with the various emotions that can be involved in depression because a major part of experiencing depression is what one feels. Also many therapists are most comfortable discussing emotions. There are several examples and stories throughout the book in which you may be able to recognize aspects of yourself.
By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com
Before you refill that coffee mug read this.
Last week a new research study from Harvard was released that stated drinking caffeinated coffee may help women fight depression. Women who drank four or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day had a 20% decreased risk of developing depression over the 10 year period compared with those that consumed one cup or less a week, according to a study released in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
A holistic nutritionist weighs in:
I am concerned that this research is giving the green light to an extreme coffee habit, which in my opinion, can be ultimately detrimental to your health. When this study was released last week Twitter was filled with “tweets” of joy like, “coffee brews to beat the blues,” and this tweet from Arianna Huffington, “Caffeine can cure depression in women. One more reason for coffee addicts like me to celebrate our addiction.” Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy a cup of Joe from time to time, but it’s how people tend to misread research to reinforce an unhealthy habit that’s got me down. Researchers cautioned that more study is needed before they’d recommend adding several cups of coffee a day as therapy, but how many people skipped over that caution?
And what about the negative effects of 4-5 cups of coffee per day? (more…)
When was the last time you had a hard gut-busting belly laugh?
According to researchers at the European Society of Cardiology, laughter has a positive effect on vascular function and blood flow, and plays an important role in preventing cardiovascular disease, much like the benefits of aerobic exercise.
In an effort to induce more laughter into our lives, Madan Kataria, a doctor from India created the very first Laughter Yoga Social Club, gathering with just a handful of people at an outdoor park in Mumbai. Since its debut in 1995, Laughter Yoga has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 6000 Social Laughter Clubs in 60 countries.
Jeffrey Briar is a master teacher and one of the leading American instructors of Laughter Yoga. As the director of the Laughter Yoga Institute of Laguna Beach, California, Jeffrey founded the first Laughter Yoga Club (outside of India) that meets seven days a week. The club has over 20,000 participants and has gained local and international press.