Have you ever been depressed? Diagnosed with depression or anxiety?  Lots of people have experienced one or both of these.

Some people get sad when they’re depressed, some get bored, or just uninterested.

Some people have social anxiety, some panic attacks, and for some their anxiety is triggered by trauma.  There are lots of kinds of anxiety.

What do you do to get rid of them, the negative moods, whether you’re depressed or anxious?

I uncovered some really interesting research.  It reports that people who experience depression or anxiety also experience brain atrophy.  Literally the neurons in the brain die back, causing brain shrinkage from depression, anxiety, or mania.  This may explain why people with those diagnoses struggle to THINK and SLEEP. Those are some pretty basic operations of the brain, wouldn’t you say?

I also found research that a 90 minute walk in a natural setting may help prevent depression! (https://news.stanford.edu/2015/06/30/hiking-mental-health-063015/)

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The same research demonstrated brain growth and how to get that brain back on track!!  They took two groups of 60-year-olds (40 in each group).  The control group stretched indoors for 45 minutes per day for 6 weeks and the treatment group walked outdoors for 45 minutes per day for 6 weeks.  After 6 weeks, the treatment group, who were walking outdoors, showed a significant increase in neurons.  That equals brain growth.  That likely means, easier to think, easier to sleep.  It likely means feeling better, happier, less anxious.

Now, for some people with significant depression or anxiety, exercise isn’t enough.  But it is a hell-of-a start!!  Nearly anyone can benefit from exercise.  Those who have suffered from depression or anxiety simply need it even worse.

Sometimes it is hard to get started if you’re feeling crummy.  I tell my clients to start with baby steps.  That might mean the first goal is to once a week walk two blocks or it could be to start by keeping track of what you’re already doing with no change. Then try to add a little bit a day, a few minutes, and so on.

I am attaching a symptom tracker for depression and anxiety.  Using one of these on a regular basis can help you become more self-aware.  This empowers you to make choices that can help you feel better.  Good luck!

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