My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou


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Moving Through Depression


“I stand for living your truer life – and that means your whole life. That means all of it, the shit and the swamp, the love and the golden sunset, the 3am staring at the ceiling and the trudging down the stairs at memory care, sobbing. True means whole, means owning it, working it, all of it.”
~Jennifer Louden, “Navigating Through Depression

I have a post in the works, & this post from Jennifer Louden, found via a Curvy Yoga email, touches on the subject.  I didn’t want to be just sharing another post from someone else, so I came up with my own title.  I didn’t realize how almost exactly the same as it is to the original.  Sometimes we absorb more than we know.  I couldn’t think of a title I liked better, so there you go.

I talk a lot about being gentle with yourself during a depressive episode & about just letting things be okay when you need to.  Let yourself & what you are able to do right now be enough.  It is so important.  Depression will give you plenty of reasons to hate yourself, don’t pile on.  Not to mention, so much around us, including some of the people in our lives give us more to feel guilty about.

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Review: Toadking Mood Tracker app for Android

Toadking version 1.1

I was asked to check out the Toadking Mood Tracker app & possibly review it here if I thought it was useful.

Well, I checked it out & I have to say I am finding it very useful. It’s a really great app, & I’ve tried a few for tracking moods, meds, sleep, a variety of things. It allows you to track any ten things you can rate on a scale of 0-10, so it’s useful for more than just moods. For instance, you could use it to rate different aspects of your runs: like how it felt; how you felt before, during, & after; any pain; breathing; etc. All sorts of things.

The interface is simple & intuitive, & the User Guide is comprehensive & easy to navigate. It’s easy to track as well as easy to check & share you history, both of those give you options for how you’d like to do it.

The app is free with no ads. There is a Paypal button discretely placed at the bottom of the user guide for anyone who would like to pay something to the creator.

That’s the short version. Hit “Read More” for the walk-through review with lots of screen shots! 🙂

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Prancercising for Health & Wellness

“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” -John Wooden (Workouts 4 All)

Yesterday I was thinking about how so much focus is placed on yoga in research into physical activity for mental health (Yesterday & the day before are two examples).  Today a radio DJ brought up Prancercising.  This post just wrote itself.

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Yoga For Bipolar Disorder — Yea, Nay, Or Meh?

Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured.
~B.K.S. Iyengar (Quote Garden)

A study on yoga & Bipolar Disorder recently dropped in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice, “Self-Reported Benefits and Risks of Yoga in Individuals with Bipolar Disorder“.  It has blown the bipolar-sphere up.  When I finished yesterday’s post about yoga for veterans with PTSD I had a Google alert for “bipolar disorder” with four links about it, with varying opinions.  Today I have more opinions on it to review.

It involved 109 participants who self-identified as having BD & practicing yoga being given an online survey of their experiences with yoga.  The results were majority positive, for instance less anxiety & better sleep, but some people did report having negative experiences such as agitation during rapid breathing or hot yoga.  The study mainly saw hatha & vinyasha yoga, the typical yoga practiced in the USA, rather than the sudarshan kriya yoga of yesterday’s post.  Further research is planned.

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Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder | Raw Story

Some of the most damaging consequences of seeing combat can happen in the mind. Of the 2.3m American veterans who returned from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, up to 20% go on to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point. In a report published by the US Department of Veterans Affairs at least 22 American veterans take their lives every day.

Yoga helps war veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder

The effects of PTSD can include intrusive memories, heightened anxiety and personality changes. Individuals can also experience hyper-arousal, where they are easily startled, feel “jumpy” and constantly on guard. Standard current treatment for PTSD generally involves prescriptions for antidepressants and psychotherapy, with mixed results.

In a new study published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, researchers say that yoga can be used to bring better mental balance.

Yoga has previously been shown as valuable in reducing the stress of university students, and depression, anxiety, alcoholism and PTSD in tsunami survivors, as well as helping cancer patients. The charity Yoga for America runs programmes for serving soldiers and war veterans.

An interesting, albeit small, study was done on sudarshan kriya yoga for veterans with PTSD.  It used twenty-one veterans diagnosed with PTSD.  Eleven were assigned a one-week intensive course of yoga, & the other ten were the control group.  The yoga group showed reduced symptoms of PTSD, including lowered anxiety & hyper-arousal, as well as less intense intrusive memories.

If it works on intrusive thoughts, I will definitely be looking into that.

 


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Exercise for Stress and Anxiety | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA

This meme must be dead because now I’ve done it.

Exercise for Stress and Anxiety | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA

Psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout. Some studies show that exercise can work quickly to elevate depressed mood in many people. Although the effects may be temporary, they demonstrate that a brisk walk or other simple activity can deliver several hours of relief, similar to taking an aspirin for a headache.

Science has also provided some evidence that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. Exercise may improve mental health by helping the brain cope better with stress. In one study, researchers found that those who got regular vigorous exercise were 25 percent less likely to develop depression or an anxiety disorder over the next five years.

This ADAA article is based on the book, Exercise for Mood and Anxiety: Proven Strategies for Overcoming Depression and Enhancing Well-Being.  This is just the long line in research showing physical activity (however you want to define it) is good for anxiety & depression.  I like that this article lacks the hyperbolic evangelism of some reports on the issue.

It admits exercise isn’t going to work for everybody, & it won’t work to the same extent for everyone who does benefit.  Other studies I’ve read over the years have found it works better for mild-moderate depression.  I personally doubt it would be useful for severe depression because when you’re at the bottom of a black pit of despair, just trying to climb out is more than enough activity.  They probably weren’t even included in the studies because none of them would show up. >_<

The article also include a list of tips for staying fit & for exercising in the cold.

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What you see in the mirror | The Oatmeal

What you see in the mirror – The Oatmeal

This is a panel from the middle of a The Oatmeal cartoon.  “What you see in the mirror” is about perspective.  How we see ourselves isn’t always reality or how others see us.  As always, I encourage you to go check out the whole of it.

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