It has finally happened. Despite a commitment to never take “mood altering” medications, illness, depression, and the general state of the world have forced me to submit. I am now on Prozac. I am not the only one. Countless friends, relatives, and colleagues are taking prescription anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medications. It makes me wonder what we did before these miracle mood medications were commonly available.
We were once very active people. According to the Mayo Clinic, exercise relieves the symptoms of both anxiety and depression. We don’t walk anymore, we don’t play outside with our children, we even hire people to mow the lawn.
The food that we consume plays a very big part in our mood disorders. Diets high in fats, sugars, and preservatives are not only physically bad for us, they take an emotional toll as well. We are becoming a depressed nation just as quickly as we are becoming an obese one.
We have become a Facebook nation. Instead of lengthy conversations over a lunch with friends, we are posting, texting, and tweeting one line status messages. I can’t remember what it feels like to talk out a problem or a bad day, instead of posting comments back and forth. We have lost touch with people.
There is so much pressure on all of us to do more, have more, and make more money that it is hard to concentrate on anything else. We think about our to-do list when we should be sleeping, and experience anxiety over events that are weeks away.
While the medications like Prozac, Zoloft, and Xanax may relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety, these drugs are doing nothing about the cause. If we stop taking the medication, the problems still exist. In order to treat the cause of our depression and and anxiety, certain life changes have to take place.
We need to move. This means more than a quick work out squeezed between meetings, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Hide your care keys, get up early, and walk to work. Not only will you be increasing your activity level, the time spent walking and fresh air will help you to clear your head and organize your day. Being prepared can go a very long way towards eliminating that overwhelmed feeling.
Dietary changes are mandatory if you want to improve your mood. WebMD suggests eating a diet high in nutrients and antioxidants, and alertness increasing proteins. Instead of hitting the drive through on your lunch hour, pack a lunch of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts. You will soon see an improvement not only in your mood, but in your waistline as well. Slimming down a bit will improve your self esteem, allowing you to hold your head just a little bit higher than before.
Human beings are social creatures, that is why we have fallen victim to social networking. It is time that we used MySpace and Facebook to supplement our interpersonal relationships, instead of replace them. A lot of good can come from an extended lunch or dinner with close friends. Being part of the real world is more fulfilling than just existing in a virtual one.
The things that we have to do need to be balanced with the things that we want to do. Recreational time is just as important to our emotional well-being as our job is to our financial security. Start making time to play.
Before you embark on any plan to improve your mood, or stop taking medication, consult your physician to see if the changes will benefit you and your particular situation.