Conquering Depression and Anxiety
“Transform darkness into light.”
Depression and anxiety can affect the self in a variety of ways that can impact mood, sleep, eating habits, and the perception of ourselves as well as the world around us. However, taking the necessary steps with exercise, nutrition, supplementation, and meditation, one can battle back to breakthrough the darkness of night into the daybreak of the light.
First, exercise will help the brain produce more of the neurotransmitter known as Phenylethylamine (PEA). PEA is vital for one's overall well-being because it makes the brain release opioid-like peptides called endorphins (specifically b-endorphins). This chemical is released during exercise and helps rebuild depleted dopamine levels. Dopamine is responsible for adrenaline, focus, and pleasure. PEA is also known as the love chemical because it's found in chocolates. Thus, why we give girls chocolates on Valentine's Day, granted, chocolate is high in sugar and will increase cortisol (stress) levels. Still, if taken in small amounts occasionally, it can help benefit mental health. I suggest dark chocolate as it has added benefits to the heart.
Also, combining foods that are high in the amino acid tyrosine and Phenylalanine will also help the brain produce more Phenylethylamine. Tyrosine and Phenylalanine synthesize to create more PEA in the brain. Foods high in tyrosine and Phenylalanine are almonds, macadamias, cashews, flax seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, kidney beans, peas, spirulina, almond milk, and coconut milk. Furthermore, Harvard studies show that people who have depression and anxiety have a small hippocampus. Omega 3 fatty acids help strengthen the hippocampus part of the brain, which helps normalize BDNF levels (helps facilitate synaptic transmission and learning ability), reduce oxidative stress, and even counteract learning disabilities experienced after traumatic brain injuries. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in salmon, trout, sardines, avocados, kale, spinach, seeds, and walnuts.
Next, if one struggles with energy/focus and obesity, they need to strengthen their production of norepinephrine. The probiotic strains that can aid norepinephrine levels are known as lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. Probiotics are very important when it comes to managing depression, anxiety, and immune health.. Close to 90% of the neurons in the brain are made from the bacteria in the gut and 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. This response is why probiotics are crucial when it comes to maintaining our overall health.
The powerful antioxidant known as Glutathione can also aid norepinephrine levels and protect the liver. S-adenosyl-L-methionine (Sam-e) is a compound that the body naturally produces. However, low levels of Sam-e can have a negative impact on a person’s overall well-being. Supplementing with Sam-e can help naturally raise a person’s energy, mood, and vitality. It also helps protect the liver and reduces inflammation. 7-keto DHEA is another compound that helps reduce cortisol levels and provides aid to one’s energy and mood. DHEA is a hormone, but 7-keto DHEA is non-hormonal. It gives one the stress-reducing and mood-enhancing benefits of the DHEA hormone without the hormone.
Today, obesity has become a major concern in our society. This can be a result of having low norepinephrine levels. Raspberry ketones can aid the production of norepinephrine as well as reducing one's appetite. Another reason for being overweight, depressed, or struggling with particular eating habits is low serotonin levels. Serotonin helps regulate our mood, appetite, and sleep. If one is struggling with these three aspects, they would need to strengthen their production of serotonin. As explained earlier, 90% of the neurons in our brain are made from the bacteria in our guts. There are certain probiotic strains that aid specific brain neurotransmitters. The probiotic strains are known as L. helveticus, L. plantarum, B. Infantis, and B. Longum. These healthy strains of bacteria can help strengthen the production of serotonin which aids in the regulation of sleep, appetite, and mood.
Sleep is very crucial when it comes to managing depression and anxiety. The herb known as 5HTP taken before bed can help aid serotonin levels and help one get adequate restful sleep. Sleep helps to repair our brain cells. It ensures the body that it has enough neurotransmitters to use up for the day. Other herbs that can aid our serotonin levels are Saffron Extract and Garcinia Cambogia. Both these herbs help to raise serotonin, bringing aid to the regulation of appetite and mood. Phosphatidylserine is another compound that can reduce the hyperactive production of cortisol which can help a person adapt easier to stressful situations. It plays an essential role in cell membrane composition and intercellular communication. Phosphatidylserine assists in the conduction of electrical impulses and facilitates the activity of neurotransmitters involved in learning, memory, and mood.
The brain is composed of 60% fat. If a person wants to strengthen the overall function of their mind, they need to take in the appropriate amounts of healthy fats. These healthy fats include walnuts, pistachios, almonds, hazelnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, and certain seafood. If one is eating high amounts of nuts and seeds to increase their healthy fat intake, I suggest leaving the nuts and seeds in sea salt or pink Himalayan salt overnight to rid them of phytic acid. Phytic acid can bind to certain nutrients in the gut and block the absorption of essential minerals like zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium, chromium, and manganese. So it's necessary to get this acid out of these foods by soaking them overnight in order to reap their benefits and maintain these essential nutrients. Fats not only aid the brain and protect the organs, but they also assist in the production of our hormones. When the hormones are healthy, our energy will be efficient, and our moods will be balanced. Our immune and digestive system will be secure, and our blood pressure will be more regulated.
If one struggles to feel excitement or pleasure, they would need to strengthen their production of Dopamine. The probiotic strains that aid dopamine are lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. These strains will increase dopamine levels as well as aid in proper bodily movements. Low dopamine is a result of shakiness and tremors mostly seen in Parkinson's patients. Also, the amino acid that is a precursor to Dopamine is known as L-tyrosine. This amino acid helps aid focus, energy, and excitement. This amino acid is found in foods such as cheese, white beans, pumpkin seeds, sweet potatoes, wild rice, peas, and certain seafood. A tropical grain known as mucuna pruriens is a strong dopamine precursor that can boost mood and aid in motor functioning. Levodopa is found in mucuna pruriens, which is what aids the antidepressant effect of mucuna pruriens. If one struggles with anxiety and panic, they need to increase their GABA production, which helps us relax and gives us a sense of tranquility. The probiotic strains that aid GABA levels are known as L. helveticus, L. plantarum, b. Infantis, and b. longum.
These strains will help the brain produce more of this relaxation neurotransmitter. Also, the amino acid known as L-theanine helps the body produce more GABA, which is found in various teas, especially green tea. Another amino acid that aids GABA production is L-Glutamine, which is located in lentils, beans, almonds, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, and certain seafood.
As explained earlier, 70% of the immune system resides in the gut. The amino acid known as L-Glutamine helps support the immune system as well as the digestive system. It helps soothe the intestinal tissue and reduces intestinal spasms. The neurotransmitter known as Acetylcholine is what gives us the ability to learn and comprehend information. It's one of the primary neurotransmitters responsible for memory. This neurotransmitter is a deficit in those who have Alzheimer's disease or have been on antidepressants for an extended period. The probiotic strains that aid acetylcholine levels are known as L. acidophilus, L. casei, B. bifidum, and L. fermented. Foods high in Choline are Brussels sprout, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, salmon, beef, and boiled eggs. Make sure the beef and eggs are organic/grass-fed in order to avoid taking in harmful pesticides and hormones. Also, everything is a vibration.
If one is consuming animal products where the animal was in fear and slaughtered instead of living out a healthy life and dying a peaceful death, the person is absorbing the energy of fear and the anxiety of death. If one wants to consume animal products, it should be in moderation and sparingly due to the mucus build up in the body.
If too much mucus builds up in the body, this limits the amount of oxygen to the brain and other internal organs which can lead to inflammation and disease. If one wants to avoid animal products altogether, it’s important to supplement with B-Vitamins. Nutritional yeast has a good blend of important B-vitamins that one can get if they avoid animal products. Also, supplementing with Alpha GPC (L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) is important if animal products are avoided because Choline is abundant in eggs and other animal products. If one feels they’re having early signs of dementia, supplementing with Alpha GPC is a must. Alpha GPC can boost a person’s ability to learn and absorb new information as well as aiding in both short-term and long-term memory.
With all the specific probiotic strains mentioned for the brain, it’s important to complement those strains with small amounts of other probiotics. This will help prevent any bacteria overgrowth of a specific strain. Similar to vitamins and minerals, if one is taking a specific vitamin or mineral, it can throw off their overall vitamin/mineral balance in the body, thus why it’s essential to get a small blend of other vitamins/minerals with the specific vitamin or mineral that one is taking.
Furthermore, the key to overcoming depression and anxiety is accomplishing small tasks and building off of them. When one performs a task or finishes something, the brain releases oxytocin. A good recommendation is to write down what you want to accomplish for the day and cross it off once it's performed, even if it's as small as making your bed in the morning. Start small and build off it. It will help create more oxytocin in the brain, which is responsible for bonding and interaction. Oxytocin is released when you shake hands, hug, and even when you kiss. It's a chemical that helps reduce fear and anxiety, as explained in earlier chapters.
Meditation, sound, and breathing are other factors that come into play when trying to overcome depression and anxiety. Everything is made up of sounds, frequencies, and vibrations. When one listens to certain binaural beat frequencies while practicing different breathing techniques, they activate the thalamus part of the brain, helping reduce pain and stress. Meditation, sound, and breathing is a potent technique to help stabilize cell membranes and rewire different synapses and dendrites in the brain.
Many individuals were able to overcome various addictions and diseases through meditation, sound, and breathing. It helps one look deep within themselves to overcome any obstacle, but more importantly, it helps one experience a place of deep bliss. It reduces activity in the amygdala (anxiety) and strengthens the prefrontal cortex responsible for executive functioning. Along with the prefrontal cortex, it helps increase grey matter in the hippocampus and parietal lobes, aiding comprehension and learning. It helps create more theta waves and alpha waves in the brain strengthening intuition and mental clarity. The brain waves released and the stillness that one experiences are both very similar to the experience that one had in the womb of their mothers before they entered into the earth’s reality.
This practice helps one discover their true self before they were labeled with the social constructs of society. Meditation is a practice done by top athletes, artists, and successful business people.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.” - Socrates
Positive changes in the brain are what we call neuroplasticity. What’s the significance of neuroplasticity? When one focuses their attention away from their old negative thoughts, it lights up other areas in the brain. Whatever we focus on, we bring to life.
The universe is made up of energy, and whatever one puts their energy towards, the world will send more of what someone thinks or focuses on, whether positive or negative. The universe responds to the energy in which the self thinks, speaks, or does on a regular basis. The conscious mind doesn't know the difference between the subconscious minds; in other words, it doesn't see the difference between what's real and what's not. If one believes that they're already healed, the mind will believe this to be true and send more things into the person's reality to accomplish that healing. This can be hard to accomplish due to how reliable someone has strengthened the part of the brain that gives them negative and depressing thoughts.
However, the brain's prefrontal cortex provides us with the power and control to overtake the brain's lower-order regions. For example, an object, person, or stimuli can grab our attention, thus activating the brain's smaller areas. However, you have full control over the amount of notice you give that object, person, or stimuli using the prefrontal cortex (higher brain regions).
It's the same with the way a person thinks. When the self has a depressing or negative thought, the person can magnify it by putting intense focus on that thought. By doing this, they strengthen the area of the brain that gave them that thought. However, if one refocuses their attention on something else when a negative thought or emotion comes to mind, they light up other circuits and regions in the brain.
With consistency, the brain will be forced to adapt to the new neural patterns that the self has presented to it. The more positive brain circuits and connections begin to overtake the old depressing neuropathways. Furthermore, when one quits at something, the brain is relying on old brain circuits and connections. It takes time to break a habit or accomplish a new skill because one has to outwork the old neural pathways that have become stronger over time. That’s why it’s so hard for people to change or break out of their old ways.
Change can bring out a lot of negative emotions because it's uncomfortable. Also, it's why a depressed person feels like they can't get out of their depression. They've empowered a part of their brain that has overtaken others that deal with energy, positivity, and happiness. These symptoms can be due to their environment or surroundings. It can also be caused by a sudden change or drastic life events. Substances can cause it, but generally, one turns to substances to deal with or numb their depression or anxiety.
Furthermore, new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings. Many allow endings to manifest into negative self-talk. This just prevents their energy from creating and enabling the end to transform into another beginning. By understanding that a thought is just a sound, one can see the positive in the ending that's creating the new beginning. For example, when one is walking downtown on a busy workday, it is noisy. Horns are honking, alarms and sirens are buzzing, people are shouting; there is an abundance of different sounds happening everywhere around them. With that being said, when one is walking downtown and is focusing on sending a text message, or thinking of where they need to walk to in order to get to their destination, their subconscious mind doesn't hear all those different external sounds happening in the background due to where and what their focus is on. It's the same when one gets thoughts of worry or fear when something ends. All the feelings of anxiety and worry are just sounds. When one has their focus on something else, they won't hear the sounds of fear and worry.
When one doesn't give those sounds any attention, those fears and concerns won't try to nag them anymore. They start to become less and nonexistent to the subconscious mind every time there is an ending. Fear and worry about the unknown transform into feelings of excitement that grow the ambition to discover the mystery of the next beginning.
“For today I escaped anxiety. Or no, I discarded it because it was within me, in my own perceptions-not outside.” -Marcus Aurelius
Next, positive and negative situations are equal. In other words, we can't define what's good or bad. For example, if one's car breaks down in the middle of the road, this may seem like a negative experience. However, the person who stops to help with your vehicle just happened to be the person you ended up marrying someday or the person that gave you the answer that helped you overcome an obstacle in your business. The universe works in mysterious ways to bring us the answers to our predicaments as well as to our desires. If one is seeking the answer to overcome an obstacle in their business or for a meaningful relationship, the universe brought it to them by breaking down their car because that person or answer was near them. Instead, most people will become angry and blame other people or the things around them when a situation like this occurs. This then tells the universe and Mother Nature around them that they don't fully trust the divine nor have enough faith that the answers will come naturally if they’re willing to let go of how they receive those answers.
When one achieves Baraka, which means sole dependence on the guidance of the universe and divine grace, their life becomes one great song in which they can dance and enjoy the music. They allow different events and situations to come and go as they please because they understand that those events and conditions, whether positive or negative, is what's giving them the answers to their desires and predicaments.
We were not made to be angry, worried, and confused or to rush to the end destination of our experiences. We were made to attain energy, creativity, and joy from our experiences and have the pleasure to share that joy when we get to the destination of the experience. For most, instead of trusting and following their timeline, they look outside at everyone else to compete with everyone else’s deadline. This is what brings on tension, lust, and blame that makes people lie, cheat and steal to get ahead in an illusionary race. They become anxious and fearful because they are looking ahead at everyone else and then feel like they're falling behind. Then they become lost and depressed because they're looking back, thinking they did something wrong. This notion comes from competing and watching everyone else's timeline instead of trusting the timing of all the aspects that make up one’s own story. The answers don't come from watching and looking around at other people's timeline. All it does is delay the answers that carve out the life we’re destined to live.
The Chinese word for nature is called Ziran, which means that everything happens by itself. One cannot force a plant to grow, and if they do, they stop it from opening up. Society keeps people forcing the plant to grow, which drains the energy, creativity, and life of who they truly are and what they’re destined to become. One must accept that some people are going to graduate before them even though they’ve worked harder. Some people are going to get a job before you though you're more qualified and mature.
Some people are going to get married before you even though you’re more kind, respectful, and loving. When you hear the phrase, "get over it, life isn't fair," they're basing this off competing with the story and plan of others instead of trusting their plan that makes up their own story that the universe, Mother Nature, and the divine planted within them. Other people's timeline and plans blind people of their own. Some people are going to get married and have kids before you, but get divorced before your first real relationship. Some people are going to graduate before you, but remain broke and unemployed when you get hired at your first real job.
Some people are going to buy a house and a nice car before you, but go bankrupt before you get into your first apartment. This is why it makes no sense to make decisions or feel a certain way based on an illusionary race. Lack of knowledge and wisdom is a byproduct of fear. People fear uncertainty or what is not known to them. They are frightened by events that haven't happened. People are terrified by the unknown because they don't fully understand themselves and the power they possess. They are too focused on what's happening externally, designed to make them worried and afraid. When one comes to know themselves, they'll realize that the universe will give them the knowledge to deal with the event when it arises. Wisdom is a byproduct of the result of the event if the event happens. Instead of fearing the uncertainty or unknown, one must transmute that fear of uncertainty into excitement and the unknown into the ambition to discover the mystery. The universe will give the self answers to solve the mystery at the appropriate time when a person is ready. Discovering and receiving the answers to the secrets at the proper time provides us with the beauty and excitement of life.
“Everything that happens, happens as it should, and if you observe, you will find this to be so.-Marcus Aurelius
Knowing oneself is understanding that every event implies all other events. If something ends, be it a job, relationship, or sport, know that it's a setup for the better version. It's a setup for a higher paying and more satisfying job. It's a setup for a healthier and more loving relationship. It's a set up for the next chapter of your life, which is always better than the last one if one allows it to flow. Not understanding and resisting or not letting go of the old is what prevents the new. It’s delaying the better version of what was lost or what ended. Whatever is leaving or ending means that you’ve attained all the knowledge, wisdom, or experience needed to get to the next chapter of your story. Holding on or resisting is only going to bring oneself tension, anger, and regret. One cannot fight the flow of the universe or Mother Nature; they'll lose every time.
“Don’t seek to have events happen as you wish, but wish them to happen as they do happen, and all will be well.”-Epictetus
Many people today are going out and trying to force education, beliefs, money, relationships, marriages, houses, cars, and other external things instead of working on themselves internally which ultimately allows these things to naturally flow in. Forcing these things ultimately ruins the experience and the true gifts that a person is destined to have. If one doesn’t work on themselves first, then all these external aspects will continue to fly away from the self, making a person continue to chase them.
One must first attain liberation from these things. Liberation from the world is not that one shouldn’t own anything; it’s not allowing these things to control or overtake the self. Many focus on capturing these external things, which ultimately destroys them and makes a person confused as to why they can’t secure them or find fulfillment.
Once a person knows who they truly are from within and more importantly, loves themselves, then they attract relationships, marriage, houses, cars, and other external phenomena. But, one can quickly look beyond these secondary things when they focus on developing themselves as a person internally and discovering what they’re truly capable of creating and achieving. They are secure with themselves and are no longer acting out behaviors to impress others or feel accepted. They’ve perfected a spiritual practice, found their talent that gives them energy and passion, and they continue to work towards developing their moral character.
Lastly, happiness comes when we’re living entirely in the present moment. Living in the present moment is what allows intelligence, creativity, and positive energy to flow, making obstacles easier to overcome. Many great inventors, artists, and successful business people overcame all their obstacles in accomplishing their masterpieces because their creativity, intelligence, and happiness were vibrant during their journey. It gave them the energy to overcome adversity and continue climbing, all from focusing and perfecting their talent and what they love. When we’re in a state of good energy, creativity, and happiness, we attract like minded people who bring us more joy and fulfillment.. Think of little kids and how they're full of energy, creativity, and life. Their energy draws people to them because they are living entirely in the present moment.
For anyone going through depression or anxiety, please don't give up. There should be no regrets of the past because of the choices we've made or situations we had to go through. The mistakes, circumstances, or events we've gone through in the past give us the wisdom we currently have in the present.
Darkness is what creates light. It's the prerequisite of what one must go through to find the light at its end. The night of a lost relationship created the positive light that guided one to the relationship that manifested into a marriage. The darkness of a sports injury that ended one’s career is what created the positive trait of work ethic that overcame the adversity one faced to build a multi-million dollar business. The darkness of sickness created a positive light of knowledge and wisdom in the area of health and wellness that healed one's disease and other people's illnesses.
Darkness and confusion always transform into the light that shows the self its real purpose and meaning in this life. Knowing and understanding this concept as well as taking part in the techniques, activities, and changes in nutrition, one can ultimately battle back to regain their life.
“For it is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”-Aristotle