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“A man must elevate himself by his Mind, not degrade himself. The Mind is a friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well” — Bhagavad Gita.Depression is characterized by a sad or blue mood that affects nearly every aspect of your life every day, your family and social relationships, work or school performance etc. If you remain depressed for more than two weeks, long after an event has passed, then you may have a clinical disorder called depression.
Researchers and clinicians theorize that depression results from three related factors – biological, psychological and social. The biological factors, such as genetics, may be more substantial than the other two. For others, it may be caused mainly by a psychological issue, such as one’s personality or way of coping with stress.
The Messenger, Mind and Body
The brain’s neurotransmitters are essentially chemical messengers between the brain’s neurons (nerve cells), and they strongly affect your mental, emotional, and physical activity (or lack of activity!). In addition, our brains are very metabolically active even at rest and utilize about 30% of our energy intake. Therefore, healthy food is essential for going through life with ease and mindfulness.
Right from the ancient periods, the relation between mind and soul is well appreciated by Ayurveda. However, the division into body and Mind is purely academic as we cannot have a separate mind or living body in life. They form a continuum. Without the body, the Mind cannot exist, and without the Mind, the body cannot remain alive. It is well known that diseases of the Mind migrate to the body and vice versa.
Ayurveda defines the Mind as ‘that entity responsible for thinking and has three essential qualities viz., Satva, Rajas and Tamas.
Satwa is understood by self-control, discriminative knowledgeability, power of exposition, etc. Rajas are understood by violence, despotic envy, authoritativeness, self-adoration, etc. meanwhile, Tamas is understood by dullness, inactiveness, sleep.
When the physiological states of Mind like desire, anger, greed, anxiety, worry, and fear are within the physiological limits, they are considered normal and constitute a healthy state of Mind. But, on the other hand, when the physiology of these are disturbed, they are considered abnormal and constitute a pathological state of mind, leading to depression. Thus, rajas and Tamas, being two psycho-pathological factors, affect the Mind and produce certain mental disorders.
According to clinical research studies, peri-menopausal women were 1.4 times as likely to report depression and mood swings, independent of additional factors including reported stress. There are several mechanisms through which changes in hormones affect brain function. Estrogen and progesterone have direct effects on the brain. Both help protects the brain from exogenous and endogenous toxins, rebuild the blood-brain barrier, reduce edema, and regulate the inflammatory cascade in the event of physical or ischemic trauma.
I’m a failure.
It’s my fault.
Nothing good ever happens to me.
Life’s not worth living.
People would be better off without me.
Tired all the time
Sick and run down
Headaches and muscle pains
Loss or change of appetite
Significant weight loss or gain
Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, but it can happen at any age. More women than men are diagnosed with depression, but this may be because women are more likely to seek treatment.
Factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression include:
- Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
- Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a complicated relationship, or financial problems
- Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, al- alcoholism or suicide
- Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or having variations in the development of genital organs that aren’t male or female (intersex) in an unsupportive situation
- History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder
- Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs
- Severe or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease
- Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication)
To Be Continued…