While it may sound weird to tell people with depression to go outside and garden, there is a considerable amount of clinical evidence which suggests that spending time with plants improves our mental health, particularly depression. Even spending time with indoor plants works wonders to alleviate both mental and physical stress in people of all ages.
Vinayak Garg, Founder, Lazy Gardener says: "Many researchers have found that gardening or ï¿½green care' stimulates our bodies' natural development of happy chemicals, which may help keep depression and anxiety at bay, with unexpectedly amazing results. Even during this pandemic, each nation is battling a war where the enemy is not visible nor are the weapons. In these times, along with other safety measures, why not turn to the potential benefits of gardening as a way to help in the mental and physical war against coronavirus."
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Here are some interesting and the creative way to fight depression and anxiety, suggested by Garg.
Getting Your Hands Dirty!
Getting your hands dirty in the garden boosts your serotonin levels, according to studies. Serotonin is a happy chemical that also serves as a natural antidepressant and immune system booster, lack of which is responsible for depression. When you come in contact with soil, a particular soil bacterium, Mycobacterium vaccae, causes serotonin to be released in our brain, making us feel better and happier from within. At the very least, now we understand why people prefer to garden without gloves and always enjoy the sensation of getting their hands into the dirt and compost heap.
De-Stress Therapy at Your Doorstep
Gardening is an awesome diversion from our increasingly technologically driven lives. Spending time gardening and enjoying nature can help us mentally de-stress by keeping us involved. When you directly contribute to the nurturing of the buds and witness the plants grow gradually, believe me, your happiness and contentment will know no boundaries and you'll keep coming back to it. This is a small yet a very powerful exercise to even boost your self-esteem, leaving no space for stress at all.
Building Your Creativity
How about simply finding out how to keep those garden pests away and improving soil quality to keep the garden healthy? How about deciding what kind and colour of a pot will suit your favourite plant the best? Get yourself into it once and this green care will take care of your positivity, creativity, mood upliftment, skill building, and ultimately help you fight depression naturally and gradually.
Building Your Strength
Working in the garden improves dexterity and strength. Digging, raking, and mowing are especially calorie-dense activities and the aerobic exercise involved will easily burn the same amount of calories as a gym workout. During gardening, physical exercise is combined with social contact. You get exposed to nature and sunlight. Sunlight works two way on your body: reduces blood pressure while also increasing vitamin D levels, and the fruits and vegetables grown have a positive effect on the diet. Sounds healthier right?
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The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has struck both people's mental health and physical health, with necessary protocols like social distancing and restricted mobility making the average Indian feel alienated and low-spirited.
In a country that already grappled with silent mental health issues pre-pandemic, the current Covid-19 situation has further exacerbated stress and anxiety at an unprecedented scale, reaching all strata and ages.
Ayurvedic expert and founder of Vedas Cure, Vikas Chawla, shares that people may experience a wide variety of psychological effects as a result of infectious outbreaks.
He says: "Individually, new psychological symptoms in people without mental illness may precipitate or intensify the condition of someone with pre-existing mental illness, causing anxiety to their caregivers. Regardless of their exposure to the virus, one can constantly feel fear, anxiety and helplessness about being sick, which may lead to mental breakdowns and poor mental health."
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"The pandemic has severely affected the economy of our country. Many industries such as hospitality, tourism, education and entertainment are close to or have shut down. Due to this many people have either lost their jobs or their remuneration has been cut down by as much as 50 per cent. Such kinds of loss of jobs and/or income has also put people under a lot of stress and mental pressure," says Chawla.
Economic fluctuations, unemployment, increased competition, and unattainable high expectations contribute to a rise in psychological and psychosomatic disorders such as frustration, anxiety, depression, phobias, and personality changes. Stress is said to be responsible for nearly 75 per cent of all diseases. And if not diagnosed and treated promptly, they may lead to extreme depression, insomnia, sleep disorders, migraines, and headaches, among other issues, he adds.
According to him, Ayurveda has effective ways of helping an individual to deal with stress and anxiety. Hundreds of medicinal plants with immune modulator, anti-oxidant, and memory-enhancing properties are available in Ayurveda. Brahmi, ashwagandha, bhringraj, tulsi, ghee, and natural herbs can help relax the mind and address most of these disorders, he opines.
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"It is important to resolve and handle certain concerns naturally in order to live a happier life. A well-known memory-booster, Brahmi is an angel in disguise for your mental well-being, overall. It has a relaxing, anti-stress effect on the central nervous system. Its frequent intake will help you combat anxiety by calming you down."
He further adds,"Bhringraj can detoxify your body, encourage oxygen supply to your brain, and make your brain healthier and stronger, helping it to fend off stress and handle its effects better when ingested orally in the form of Bhringraj herbal teas and powder dissolved in water. Ashwagandha has a long list of health benefits, including improved endurance, immunity, decreased inflammation, and defense against cognitive and neurological disorders. It can also assist you in managing and reducing anxiety. This herb's extract has soothing properties and encourages anti-stress adaptogenic activity in the brain."
Due to the existence of anti-oxidants that can help reduce oxidative stress and free radicals generated in the body due to stress and anxiety, Ayurveda also recommends consuming tulsi as a preventive measure and a remedy to combat stress and anxiety.
"Slow massage with certain essential oils helps with migraines, insomnia, and depression. A variety of essential oils and other herbal formulations are available in the market by various brands, including ours, which have proven to be very effective. A quick head massage with Lavender essential oil particularly is highly recommended before going to bed as it encourages immediate relaxation and sleep," Chawla concludes.
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New York, June 5 (IANS) The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant detrimental impact on adolescents' mental health, especially in girls, finds a new study that included 59,000 participants.The study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry, found that negative mental health outcomes were disproportionately reported by girls and older adolescents (13-18-year-olds), compared to same-age peers before the pandemic.At the same time, it revealed a decline in cigarette smoking, e-cigarette usage and alcohol intoxication among 15-18-year-old adolescents during the pandemic."The decrease observed in substance use during the pandemic may be an unintended benefit of the isolation that so many adolescents have endured during quarantine," said researcher John Allegrante from the Columbia University in the US.Previous studies of adolescents during Covid-19 found evidence of increased mental health problems and certain types of substance use that had been rising before the pandemic.This study, however, compares current data with several pre-pandemic time points, which enabled the researchers to separate the effect of Covid-19 from other recent, downward trends in adolescent mental health.According to the researchers, prior studies have not been designed to determine whether clinically relevant levels of depression -- as opposed to self-reported depressive symptoms -- and substance use have increased during the pandemic.The study "differs in methodology from previous studies in that it tracked the population-based prevalence of mental health outcomes and substance use over several years to better understand the potential effects of Covid-19 from recent upward trends in adolescent mental health problems, the team said.--IANSvc/in
London, May 31 (IANS) The Covid-19 pandemic has not only hit physical health and the economy but has also impacted mental health with the possibility of increased rates of suicide, according to a study.Led by a team of researchers at Swansea University, Cardiff University, and the NHS in Wales, the study probed exactly which Covid-related stressors were most likely to trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviours.The survey was conducted on more than 12,000 people, which asked volunteers to share their experiences during the first UK lockdown.The results, published in the journal Archives of Suicide Research, show that several stressors such as social isolation, domestic abuse, relationship problems, redundancy, and financial problems were strongly linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.However, not everyone enduring these issues reported having suicidal thoughts. Those individuals with high levels of resilience and hope for the future were less affected by these pressures."We can use these findings to target which stressors are the most toxic in terms of driving people towards thoughts of suicide. While some of these may ease as we come out of lockdown, others may persist well into the future," said Professor Nicola Gray, from Swansea University."Many of these stressors are difficult to avoid, so we also need to instill hope for the future in our communities to help people get through these difficult times," added Professor Robert Snowden from Cardiff University.The researchers also discovered the important role that hope for the future can play -- along with individuals' levels of resilience -- when it comes to coping with these stressors."People's responses to a traumatic crisis do not follow a simple path of depression then recovery. It is currently unclear as to whether people simply have got worse as the crisis has continued or whether they are becoming more immune to the situation and are developing increased resilience. Only by understanding this can we be in a position to make an effective response and help people who might be suffering," said James Knowles, from Swansea University.--IANSrvt/in
London, May 17 (IANS) UK researchers analysing the effects of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing the Covid-19 pandemic, on the human body has provided novel insights into the nature of resilience and how we deal with stressful situations.The research team involving physicians, chemical biologists and an authority on human nutrition, looked at Covid from a higher level than just a disease affecting the lungs and considered how the whole body deals with the various stresses the virus causes when viewed through the lens of electron exchange -- also known as 'redox' -- processes."Arriving at a better understanding of how the body deals with different stresses while maintaining an appropriate redox balance would put us in a better position to treat patients acutely, protect the rest of the population and control disease spread," said Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton."While the current vaccination success story is encouraging, emerging virus mutants show the threat continues, and we need to be better prepared in the future," said Martin Feelisch, Professor of Experimental Medicine and Integrative Biology at the University of Southampton.Their analysis, published in the journal Antioxidants and Redox Signaling, revealed three key areas in the body's ability to cope with the stress of viral infections.Nutrition emerges to be of utmost importance in maintaining the necessary redox balance and provide one's metabolism with the flexibility to adjust and combat the damaging effects of viral infection on cells and tissues.A highly fragile layer on the surface of endothelium -- the inner lining of blood vessels that provides organs with oxygen and nutrients -- regulates nutrient/fluid exchange and protects blood cells from coming into close contact with the vessel wall.Small molecules known as 'gasotransmitters' also play a role. These molecules are part of a body-wide system that uses circulating blood as a communication highway to inform other organs how to best respond to the mixture of stresses experienced by other parts of the body, for example how to ramp up the metabolism in the liver to deal with an infection of the lung.Of all the molecules involved, nitric oxide appears to be fundamental in protecting the overall redox system, the researchers said.--IANSrvt/in
Hyderabad, May 10 (IANS) In a move to prevent suicides and keep people away from depression and anxiety during Covid pandemic times, Rachakonda police on Monday launched psycho-social counselling services for citizens of Telangana.Those coping with stress during Covid pandemic can contact the psycho-social counselling centre at 040-48214800. The centre will function from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat virtually launched the centre which is aimed at giving confidence to those in distress due to Covid-related health and social-economic problems."Coping with stress during the Covid-19 pandemic? We are with you, don't panic. Nothing is permanent in this world, not even our troubles," says the centre launched by Rachakonda police in association with the Rachakonda Security Council. Its services will be available for all citizens of Telangana."You don't have to struggle in silence. You can be Un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition as long as you open up to somebody about it," it says.The services provided by the centre include assessment, counselling by professionals, and referral services. There is no cost to the individual and no paper work is required. The information will be kept confidential.It will focus on everyday life problems relating to stress, marriage, family & kids, alcohol, trauma, depression, profession and Covid.Bhagwat said that the centre is need of the day. "Last year, the Covid situation was different. There was a complete lockdown. There were issues related to domestic violence, migrant workers, anxiety etc. This year, the fear of uncertainty is hanging on everyone's head," he said."Once a person is going to hospital, there is a fear whether he will come back or not. People in hospitals with negative thoughts are worried about families and families are worried about them. Entire family is in the same wave length of negative thoughts or depression kind of thing," he said.The Commissioner calling for focusing on mental health as a health issue and addressing it.Rachakonda is one of the three police commissionerates covering Greater Hyderabad. Areas on the city outskirts fall under its jurisdiction.--IANSms/vd