Friday, December 16, 2005

Come On Get Happy!

As we all know, this time of year can get us a little gray. Psychotherapists and pharmacies make a bundle during the holiday season. Hell—they make a bundle regardless. Now you can sit on the couch and bitch and moan about your life to a psychiatrist. Your doc will write your scripts and you’ll end up heading out to the next tavern to wash down your problems, but there’s also other ways to lift your spirits.

Food. No, I’m not saying to chomp your way into obesity. I’m talking about certain foods that hold the same chemical that’s in anti-depressant medications. There are so many natural ways to overcome depression—besides taking it out on your loved ones. (Poor poor Madelene)

Bananas: This is a miracle fruit. I remember my friend saying to me, “Oh I gotta take my Prozac for the day.” I was like, “What?” She told me about bananas, and I did a little research to see if it was true. Bananas are rich with magnesium and potassium. The magnesium helps aid in sleep and decreases anxiety—which anxiety as we all know, leads into depression...or a trip to the local pub.

Chocolate: Got PMS? Need a little ‘pick me up’? Substances in chocolate as well as caffeine can cause a stimulant effect---giving us that ‘happy feeling’. On the other hand, it is also rich in carbohydrates, so it has a calming effect as well. There were reports of chocolate helping to reduce heart attacks, but unfortunately, it is found mostly in the chocolate used for baking and cooking—the bitter kind. Ah well.

Turkey: Memories of last thanksgiving still has me wearing my fat jeans. As we all know, turkey has that ~sleepy~ potion in it, which is also referred to as tryptophan. Trypophan increases our serotonin levels, which make us feel calmer. Anti-depressants alter the chemicals in our brain to increase our serotonin levels. Why not do it the natural way? Hey, it’s not like I’m giving you bean sprouts here- this is good stuff folks!

Walnuts: Super rich in selenium—which is another ‘feel good chemical’ that enables a positive mood within us. You can also find this in beef, fish and whole wheat breads.

Milk: Of course, is another huge source of tryptophan---which increases the serotonin levels. I sit there, and watch my niece with her 'ba ba' full of milk and amazingly, she gets all drowsy and wants to take a nap. Sometimes when I’m having trouble going to sleep, I drink warm milk—the old remedy.

Of course there are other ways to ‘get happy’. I find that exercise makes me feel better. It also releases the endorphins that make us ‘feel good’. Not only that, you feel better about your appearance, as well as you do physically on the inside. There’s no doubt that exercise has proven to be one of the most effective ways to increase your happiness, and reduce anxiety & depression levels.

Need a laugh? Look to the right at my picture… (ha) Laughter is another way to not only help increase your happiness, but it helps boosts your immune system as well. It’s also known scientifically as, “psychoneuroimmunology”. Don't ask me to pronounce that word with a few cocktails in me...hell--don't even ask me to say it when I'm sober! Laughter has so many positive effects. Mentally, it’s a ‘wonder drug’. It battles depression, and just makes us feel good in general.

Another helpful aid in assisting my depression days are through prayer and meditation. The more I draw near to God, the happier I am all around. I realize that I’m not alone. Praying to God and relying on Him has salubrious effects on my moods and emotions. It seems to calm me down a great deal, and I become more patient.

I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles, and you care about the anguish of my soul. ~Psalm 31:7

I realize another thing, which makes me feel a little better about life. We’re not always going to get what we want, but if we can learn to enjoy the journey ‘getting there’-- I think we’d be better off. Okay, so we get the dream job we want…only to complain about it later on. We want to get a promotion after that first year. We always want ‘more’. It’s good to want more, but we’re too steadily focused on the future, that we’re missing the best part—the present time. We also dwell too much on the past, which doesn’t allow forgiveness to take place in our hearts.

Another evil which keeps us from being happy and content, is holding anger and resentment in your heart. This leads into other negative physical effects on the body as well as the mind. My chiropractor told me that my backache may be due to emotional stress. That’s where we seem to store it. We also see it forming in other ways; such as migraines, chest paints and even our immune systems seem to fail on us.

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace of the world gives. So don’t be trouble or afraid. ~John 14:27

I’m not perfect. I’m trying to keep positive and focused on ‘what I have now’, rather than, ‘I wish I had this or that’ or ‘I wish I was there already’. It’s a blessing when you can truly enjoy who you are with, enjoy your family, and be happy living where you are---if you can.

Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” ~Hebrews 13:5

I’m writing this semi-serious post, because I see a lot of you a bit down lately. I see a lot of my family & friends a little on the down side. I’ve been that way myself. I’m trying to be positive the best I can.

These are the things that help me ‘feel good’. What are some of the things that lift your spirits when you’re feeling down?