Stress, Depression | April 1, 2018 | Author: Naturopath
Grief can best be described as a natural response to the loss of someone or something. It might be the loss of a loved one, relationship, pregnancy, pet, job or way of life. Other experiences of loss may be due to children leaving home, miscarriage or infertility and separation from friends and family. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief is likely to be.
Grief is expressed in many ways. It can affect every part of an individual’s life including their emotions, thoughts, behaviour, beliefs, physical health, sense of self and identity, and relationships with others. Grief can leave a sufferer feeling sad, angry, anxious, shocked, regretful, relieved, overwhelmed, isolated, irritable or numb.
Grief has no set pattern. Everyone experiences grief very differently and whilst some people may grieve for weeks and months, others may feel that grief lasts for years.
Grief and depression are quite different but they can appear similar as they can both lead to feelings of intense sadness, insomnia, poor appetite and weight loss. Depression stands out from grief as being more persistent, with constant feelings of emptiness and despair and difficulty in feeling pleasure or joy.
Chamomile is one the best medicinal herbs for fighting stress and promoting relaxation. It is a herb best known for its sedative and soothing properties as it works to bring an overall calming effect to a stressed mind and tense body. Additionally, it helps to ease feelings of grief, anger, discontent or over-sensitivity.
Chamomile, in a liquid herbal form, is frequently used as a mild sedative to calm nerves and reduce anxiety due to its vapours travelling directly to the olfactory part of the brain, turning off tension and reducing the body’s stress response. Chamomile works effectively at relieving symptoms of chronic anxiety and stress, feelings of overwhelming grief and depression, states of hysteria, nightmares and insomnia.
Numerous studies have been conducted on St. John’s wort and they show that it works as well as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, (antidepressants).St John’s wort makes serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine more readily available in the brain. These neurotransmitters help improve mood and can be responsible for treating symptoms of grief and depression.
Valerian is a herb that has been used for centuries for the treatment of various conditions like depression, insomnia and anxiety. All of these conditions can be the result of grief.
Valerian is known for its calming effect without causing drowsiness. It does not affect REM sleep cycles at night, nor does it induce drowsiness but rather, produces a natural, ‘calm’ to help with anxiety.
For sufferers of grief who have continual circulating, unhealthy thoughts. Passion Flower doesn’t necessarily treat the grief or depression that has resulted due to the grief but instead it helps to quieten the overactive mind and reducing anxiety, especially when used before sleep.
Rhodiola has been clinically proven to improve cognitive functioning and help with depression and feelings of melancholy. Rhodiola works by increasing the sensitivity of neurons in the brain and nervous system, including the two main neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are known for increasing focus, memory, pleasure, and overall mood improvement, making them very important for preventing anxiety and depression. Rhodiola also increases dopamine sensitivity, which has been shown to improve moods and also to help fight addictions which may result from grief.
Using essential oils has been proven to be one of the fastest ways to achieve psychological results. Smells are carried directly to the brain, and they serve as an emotional trigger. The limbic system evaluates the sensory stimuli, registering pleasure, pain, danger or safety; this then directs an emotional response and can affect personality and behaviour.
Frankincense can be used to help with grief and associated depression and anxiety as it provides a calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. It also helps to quieten the mind.
Furthermore, frankincense helps to promote many positive emotions such as comfort, healing, emotional stability, enlightenment, protection, courage, resolution, fortitude, acceptance and inspiration. Frankincense has the ability to elevate the mood.
Lavender oil helps to relieve stress, promote a feeling of peace and improve sleep. It has a long history of medicinal use for mood disorders because it has sedative and calming properties. Studies show that lavender oil also has neuroprotective effects. It enhances dopamine receptors and works as an antioxidant.
B Vitamins are used for combatting stress and anxiety and play a major role in mood regulation, maintaining nerve health and helping the body to create serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that aids the body’s ability to deal with depression, anxiety and stress. It also helps to produce melatonin which is essential to overall mood, relaxation and sleep.
Magnesium is essential for sleep and is a mineral that is greatly depleted during times of physical and emotional stress. Certain hormones regulated by magnesium are crucial for calming the brain and promoting relaxation.
A diet high in fruits and vegetables increases the intake of vital nutrients that support health mood. Fruits and veggies high in folate, for example, promote the brain’s metabolic processes and research shows that a folate deficiency can lead to depressive symptoms. Some of the top folate foods include spinach, asparagus, avocado, beets and broccoli.
The body also needs antioxidant foods to combat the biochemical changes that take place when the human body is under both physical and/or emotional stress. Some of the top antioxidant foods include blueberries, goji berries, blackberries, cranberries and artichokes.
Research shows that one of the most important components of the diet in order to prevent or treat mood disorders is omega-3 foods. Of those fatty acids, thirty three percent belong to the omega-3 family. That means omega-3s need to be consumed in order for the brain to function properly. Omega-3s benefit the brain by promoting communication processes and reducing inflammation. The best omega-3 foods include wild-caught fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and white fish, walnuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds, and egg yolks.