Depression and anxiety
don't just appear randomly —
they arise from factors
that, in most cases, are within our control: diet,
exercise, electromagnetic radiation, and lack of a spiritual or, sometimes, artistic connection (may be
related to a feeling of having no purpose in life). These are discussed below.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has a much longer and more distinguished history than Western medicine, the mind and body are seen as a single, interdependent entity, and a problem with one can result in a problem with the other. (You can see
here.) One implication of this is that emotional consequences can arise from organ dysfunction, and vice versa.
In TCM, depression is considered to arise from blockages or disruptions to the liver energy. However, the lung/large intestine pair is associated with the negative emotion of sadness and
depression — not surprisingly, because when we're depressed, we don't feel like breathing deeply, exercising, or doing anything that would get the lung energy moving. Although at the physical level the large intestine wouldn't seem to have anything to do with the lungs, at the energy level (where acupuncturists and other holistic practitioners work), bowel issues or lower abdominal weakness can manifest emotionally as depression.
Because of the deficiencies of the conventional Western diet (high incidence of refined, processed, chemicalized foods, meat, dairy, sugar, caffeine, spices, mineral-deficient produce, chemical toxins, etc.), many people have digestive and bowel issues, which in part accounts for the
prevalence of depression. Yin foods, in particular (those that have a cooling, lethargizing effect on the body, such as sugar and sweets, alcohol, caffeine, juices, soda, and
oils — regardless of
temperature — and cold foods) contribute noticeably to depression.
So the first line of defense is to move toward a vegan/vegetarian, preferably
Another problem is that unrecognized dietary triggers (gluten, oats, corn, barley, dairy, shellfish, peanuts, etc.) are common now, along with molds, fungi, and other
contributors to digestive problems and therefore depression and/or anxiety.
The stomach/spleen pair
is associated with the negative emotion of anxiety and worry. As one
out, "the spleen system relates to the earth. The earth element in
Chinese Medicine provides us with our stability, groundedness and our
root." If you do a web search for "anxiety and protein intolerance," you'll find that gluten, milk proteins, and other
substances can cause anxiety. Various ways to desensitize include
homeopathy — or, in the case of environmental triggers, simply removing them from your surroundings.
infections, mold, or parasites can also be a cause.
Unfortunately, even the best diet now is often inadequate to address people's needs, because of the mineral deficiencies in most produce (which people don't eat enough of anyway). As some herbalists point out, illness typically arises for three reasons: nutritional deficiency (which everyone has, for the reasons I mentioned), toxic overload (ditto), and stress (ditto). Therefore, people
may need some kind of
supplementation — preferably with herbs rather than chemically synthesized supplements. Because herbs are foods, the body assimilates them better than it does synthesized products, and herbs contain trace elements that we need to help stay balanced.
Unlike decades ago,
many people now lead sedentary lives in front of a computer and TV. This leads
to gradual loss of muscle tone, which promotes depression. Regular, vigorous
exercise, particularly in the hip and lower abdominal area, is important. Stiffness in the hip joints is a major cause of insomnia. Squats, backbends, and other yoga postures can help if done for strength and flexibility rather than just gentle, unstressful relaxation.
Pilates, dance, and swimming are also good.
Depression is a known effect of exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR), particularly cell phones and
towers, cordless phones, wifi, TV, computers, satellites, and military and aviation
radar. Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, one of the world's foremost holistic doctors,
points out that our exposure to electromagnetic radiation is over a million
times higher than a century ago; he calls it "the health crisis of our
time" (see this Youtube video).
To neutralize the effects of EMR, see the Radiation page.
addition to its spiritual benefits, daily meditation
helps relieve pain, including the emotional pain of depression and anxiety. This
may be particularly helpful for depression that arises from a feeling of not
having a purpose in life. It typically requires at least 45 minutes to an hour
on a regular basis to be effective.
pursuits are another way to relieve depression, perhaps because they require
right-brain creative thinking rather than the more usual left-brain analytical