Friday, September 17, 2010

Have you gone Mental (XVIV)

If you've been following this blog you have read that mental health disorders are defined as bio-psycho-social-spiritual in character. If this is true, I believe healing of a mental health disorder must recognize and address this combination of human functioning.

If a mental health disorder, like depression-anxiety, is in part a biological condition it would follow that we need to address this area to "achieve" improvement in our condition. How do we do this? Most of us know.

Exercise is extremely important. If we want healing, and if we are physically able, we need to "move it". We can walk, run, ride a bike, hike, swim, weightlift or perform a number of other movement activities. Some say we need to do an activity that would facilitate the raising of the heart rate to a certain level. I do not believe this. The point is achievement of the activity and progression in the particular physical discipline. To say "I walked for 15 minutes" on the first week of the month and by the fourth week to say "I walked 1/2 hour. Movement and progessive achievement is the point. As the TV commercial used to declare, "Move it and you'll feel better".

Healthy eating is also important. People who have depression-anxiety tend to experience changes in thier eating patterns. Some of us can't get enough to eat and others tend to significantly reduce our food intake. The main thing is to moderate how much we eat and what we eat. What I've always told clients is to increase protein and reduce carbohydrates. In my experience, the individuals with whom I worked had a high level of "carb" intake that accompanied thier depression-anxiety.

In my experience most people who came to me for counseling were overeaters, or identified themselves s such. Moderation is one key. The other is self-acceptance. Those who abhor their physical appearance need to accept where they are at the moment and at the same time desire an improvement.

This acceptance is key because to abhor our appearance affects mood. Common sense indicaes that over eateres reduce their portions. Look for small reasonable improvements. As stated, over eaters need to reduce their portions. Most who cut portions in half, eat whatever they want but eat smaller portions. For instance, If you usually eat four pieces of pizza (my favorite fun food) eat two and eat it slowly so you enjoy every bite. Most of us know how much we eat at each meal. Cut back by 1/2 if this is not harmful for you and you will feel better. As most writers say. "Consult your physician before beginning a "diet" program. This will produce results. Cut down and you'll feel better and above all accept yourself where you are and you will likely make progress in weight loss and in self image.

If you are an under eater, increase your portions by adding extra protein. I am not speaking of those with eating disorders here. You may accompllish this by consuming a protein drink (make sure the carbohydrate in the drink does not comprise the majority of the nutritional make up. Many so called protein drinks are very high in carbs. Beware of this.

Exercise and eating habits are two things over which we have "control"; although some would dispute this "control" ideas. To improve in these areas will assist us in facing our depression-anxiety. I know that exercise may be difficult for those with physical disabilities. I would suggest getting a book on isometric exercise for instance.

Realize that for every opinion there is a counter opinion. Do what works for you. The point is improvement that will likely increase your self-esteem and allow you to further accept your self where you are. Improvement (or beginning) good eating and exercise habits will make a difference in your life, and like in your disorder. When I was in treatment we were encouraged to take a walk between group sessions. Taking a ten minute stroll around the block cleared my head and the fresh air was wonderful.

As you know I have scarcely scratched the surface in these vital areas. Look further into what others have said about physical improvement. Make choices that make sense for you. Your physician may have other ideas. Judith Beck has a excellent book about dieting. It may be worth your while. There is a lot of wisdom in the program of Weight Watchers.

Move it and you'll feel better. Develop positive eting habits and you'll feel better. These are ways to address the biological aspect of depression-anxiety.

From one who struggles with these issues as many of you do... and may not know how to use Roman Numerals (see above). . . So with typos, mispelling and all,

God bless you.

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