Spring is a source of joy for many, but for allergy sufferers it often means stress, irritability, and depression. For people with emotional health issues, spring can be literally deadly. Researchers at the United States University of Maryland found that depression in people with bipolar disorder worsens during spring and may even lead to suicide. In England, the highest rate of suicides occurs in spring. Coincidence? Not quite.
Remember serotonin – the famous neurotransmitter responsible for our good mood and wellness sensation? Allergy symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes lead the body to release an anti-inflammatory protein known as cytokine. This protein decreases serotonin levels in your body which worsens the symptoms of depression.
So to lessen depression in spring and early summer, you’d need to eliminate the contacts with allergens that take away your precious serotonin. If you can, try scheduling your holiday for the time when your hay fever is the worst. Visiting a place with a more humid climate will help to reduce allergy symptoms, ease your breathing, and… make you happier.
However, not everyone can relocate, so here are a few health tips to help you take control over the situation.
Beware of medicines for allergies
Antihistamines are widely used to treat allergies. But in some people they may cause changes in mood and generate anxiety, so think twice before you pop the next pill.
Go see a doctor
Many people don’t even know they suffer from depression or bipolar disorder. If you’re feeling unusually down, perhaps it’s time to find a therapist so he can help you overcome depression and whatever is causing it. A good psychotherapist can direct you to the best treatments and prevent the process from getting worse.
It is known that regular exercise helps in releasing serotonin. Moreover, the social context of sports practice may help to alleviate depression and anxiety. A study by Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, showed that with only 21 minutes of daily exercise, you are protected against depression. That is the exact time that your body needs to release serotonin.
Many yoga gurus believe that emotional health problems are caused by an imbalance of the life force or energy centers. Some yoga postures may lead the practitioner to focus on certain points of the body, which may be responsible for the energy imbalance that leads to depression. To help balance them, the following asanas are recommended: Child pose, Cobra pose, Lotus Pose, and all the deep standing forward bends.
Learn how to breathe correctly
Most people don’t get the most of their breath, because they are not breathing correctly. Efficient breathing with deep inhales and fully releasing exhales provides oxygen that clears our minds and helps to deal with stress. But with a sedentary lifestyle, hunched shoulders, and tight belts we are always underbreathing. Try Pranayama techniques to make your breathing more mindful, eliminate stress, reduce anxiety and quiet the mind.
Feed yourself properly
A study by the Food and Mood Project in England revealed that what we eat greatly affects our mental health (and it’s not the magic effect a bucket of ice-cream has on you ;)). Eliminate fatty foods from your menu and add foods with high amounts of tryptophan, like bananas, chocolate, corn, oats, and oilseeds, vegetables with dark leaves, eggs, liver, soybeans, fish, and seafood. They stimulate the release of serotonin.
Take a cup of tea
A research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that Theanine which is only found in green tea helps to fight the symptoms of depression. However, to feel the positive effects you should drink it daily.
Acupuncture is an ancient technique of stimulating energy body centers with needles. It relaxes the body and mind and balances the neurotransmitters that cause depression, which helps to eliminate the symptoms.
Be a child
Even if you are not a parent, you know that active lifestyle is always recommended to kids as a way of developing and strengthening their natural defenses against allergies and other diseases. This may also work for you! We’re not talking about cold showers now. Simply try to increase your time outdoors, walk barefoot in the park during your lunch break, don’t hide too quickly from a summer rain and let your shoes get wet. Strengthen your immune system to make it less sensitive to diseases and allergens.
Depression is an illness that has many levels and many causes: chemical, psychological, social, and a combination of everything. Whatever the level, depression should be taken seriously and treated, because, like all diseases, it evolves. However, it’s always best to do all you can to prevent it from developing into a more critical condition.