There is great emphasis on how to get into shape for both mind and body.
By Nancy Hastings
- HILLSDALE — Feb. 11, 2013 11:19 am
While some believe health solely depends on the way you treat your body, taking care of your mind plays a big part, too.
Experts say when you’re depressed, your mind and body suffer. Depression can cause or worsen chronic illnesses, such as heart disease.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 19 million people in the United States – one in 10 adults – experience depression each year, and nearly two-thirds do not get the help they need. Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in over 80 percent of the cases. Yet, because if often goes unrecognized, depression continues to cause unnecessary suffering.
Kyle Maystead, LPC, has a master’s degree in therapy offering counseling services in Hillsdale. She said this time of year is difficult for many due to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or winter disorder, from a lack of sunlight.
“There are so many issues that can trigger depression such as loneliness, despair and unhappiness that you can’t pinpoint it’s causes,” Maystead said. “Other factors can include domestic violence and family conflicts since everyone is home and in close proximity.”
Maystead said treatment can include mind and body techniques, even something as simple as exercise.
“Whether it’s caused by environmental or personal issues, there are quite a lot of people who benefit from getting the endorphins going,” she said. “When you move thdy, mood elevates. It’s a process that works across the whole spectrum.”
If left untreated, it can create unhealthy habits.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan notes depression can lead to unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, physical inactivity or poor sleep. And, depression can make it harder to stay healthy and active as you age.
Marianne Osentoski, a licensed psychologist practicing in the Hillsdale area since 1996, said mind and body connection is very important.
“Depression can cause weight gain or weight loss and weight gain can cause depression,” Osentoski said. “We’ve heard of endorphins aiding in treatment of depression, so if you can’t or won’t exercise, you do not get the extra umph to aid in fighting depression.” She said one of the most exciting treatment modalities that has much support now is mindfulness meditation.
“I used it with my lap band support group the other night,” she said. “It uses lots of meditation and getting in touch with your own body – how its feeling, acknowledging that there is pain, learning to accept it and live with it, focusing on the here and now.”
Osentoski said the meditation is often used in conjunction with yoga and e bomany eastern exercises, such as Tai Chi.
Experts agree, if symptoms linger for two weeks or more, talk with your doctor. Screening tests can show if you have depression. Then you and your doctor can work on a plan to help you feel better about life.