Tips to Tackle Anxiety and Depression Without Medication

I want to preface this post by saying there are people out there that can benefit from the (ideally short-term) use of pharmaceutical medication(s). There was a point in my journey where I was 100% wholeheartedly against absolutely all forms of pharmaceuticals no matter what- and although I choose personally for my own journey to experience life without them (no matter what happens down the line)- I believe that every single person is entitled to make sovereign decisions when it comes to their path, and for some that means medicating. You can decide to live your entire life on meds- that’s your prerogative; but I write this article to address a culture of over-medication and of mass-anxiety and depression, in hopes that it might inspire even a single person to frame their situation differently and perhaps get themselves out of a bad place without the need or dependence on anything other than their own mind and perspective. Please don't infer any judgement from me if you are currently on medications, nor that I am over simplifying the problem of anxiety or depression. There is no blanket solution for any problem; everyone is individual and on their own journey. If something resonates, amazing- if it doesn't, that's ok too. I write and share from a place of love for humanity, and my wish is that people live their lives from a place of Power- no matter what that might entail.

That being said, I do urge you to deeply explore/ understand the implications of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications before embarking on that path. Dr. Kelly Brogan is an incredible resource on the subject, her website is full of free resources and courses, and her book (A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives) is a must read for all humans (men and women). 

 Mantrakia beach, Mìlos, Greece.

Mantrakia beach, Mìlos, Greece.

Tips to Tackle Anxiety and Depression without Medication

Anxiety- I hear this word on the daily. It seems that anxiety is synonymous with being a millennial, and is so common that it has essentially been normalized as part of being human. Pretty much everyone I know has it to a degree, ranging from mild to crippling anxiety- and honestly, no shit: we live in a generation with hardly any purpose; destroying our bodies with drugs and alcohol; fuelling our days with sedentary lifestyles, staring at screens, consuming food-like-products; modelling ourselves after celebrities and super models; making a living doing meaningless shit we essentially hate, and spending the money on useless crap to impress people we don’t even like. 

 

So my question to you is: do you need anxiety meds, or a wake up call?

 

Forward thinkers and modern science suggests that depression has its roots in chronic inflammation- so addressing lifestyle (food, sleep, exercise, and stress) is an incredibly important when it comes to the physical body and its relation to mental health. The mind and body are connected, it is impossible to separate physical health from mental health- they influence one another. This article will examine not only the ways the body influence the mind (lifestyle component), but also the way the mind influences the body ( with the power of purpose, passion, human connection, and forgiveness).

 

The modern day normalization of anxiety has made it a subject people are starting to speak up about, and many people in the public eye have also come out about being on anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications to erase the taboo surrounding the medications. Aforementioned, this isn’t an article to bash those that choose to medicate- but I am definitely here to prompt you to address the root causes of your social anxiety and/ or feelings of depression. Before assuming you're broken or in need of exogenous pills, I urge you to examine your life. A wise person once said "before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes," and this is definitely a part of the puzzle. What factors are contributing your your emotions within the scope of your control? 

Our moods are like gages, they help us navigate the world and point us in the direction of things we like and don't like; they give us perspective on situations to chase and those to avoid. If you don’t feel right, what factors may be contributing to your emotions- and what are you willing to change in order to feel better? Our modern medical system (albeit flourishing in the direction of more holistic practices every single day) pushes us to suppress our symptoms and emotions instead of addressing the reasons why we feel the way we do. 

Instead, when you have a symptom—when you feel cloudy, sad, sore, gassy, weepy, tired, or unnecessarily anxious—bring some wonder to it. Ask why and try to make the connections. Your body’s symptoms are telling you something about equilibrium. Your body is trying to tell you that it has lost balance. Stand back and appreciate the infinite complexity of your organism. Know that fear will only drive you to treat your body like a robotic machine that needs oil and gear changes. We are so much more than buttons and levers.
— Dr. Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression

What relationship do you have with your Self? Do you feel like you are properly taking care of your body or are you running around like a chicken with its head cut off? Getting to know yourself is absolutely imperative to being happy- how can you possibly find joy if you have no idea what your wants and needs are?

Before assuming you are somehow broken and in need of medical intervention, consider doing some introspection: of both the mind and body, and examine your priorities. I generated a long list of questions to ask yourself, and know that honesty is the only way to benefit from this exercise. It can be frightening to be honest with yourself because it might mean acknowledging a failed marriage, the need to quit a job, or re-visiting an old wound to heal it. Nobody can do the work for you, nobody. Every day spent in denial is a day spent planting seeds of future anxiety and depression. Seize the day, own your life. Take responsibility for how you feel and don’t be afraid of change. Let these questions propel you down the rabbit hole of your Being; get to know this person.

Observe yourself as you read through these questions... Who comes to mind? What questions do you resist answering? What questions prompt your mind to lie to itself? You don’t have to tackle everything at once, or do you even have to address any of these situations in real life; but know that the single most powerful thing you can do to rid yourself of anxiety is to be honest with yourself. From there, consider the implications of your emotions on your day-to-day life, and how they might be influencing your anxiety, depression, and overall outlook on life.

 Hiking in Santorini from Fira to Oia, Greece.

Hiking in Santorini from Fira to Oia, Greece.

 

Questions to ask your self

You may want to just glance them over at first, but consider highlighting a few questions that create a pit in your stomach or a knot in your throat- and journal on the subject. Don't overthink it, just start writing. letting the words flow can be one of the most healing and transformative experiences.

Am I happy in my relationship?

Do my friendships feel authentic?

Can I be myself around my partner and/ or my friends?

Do my parents understand me?

Do I understand myself?

What do I want in life?

What makes me happy?

Am I harbouring resentment from past relationships?

What is my passion?

Do I have a healthy relationship with food?

Do I eat from a place of self-love or self-hate?

What is my relationship with drugs and alcohol?

Am I sleeping enough?

Do I exercise too little or too much?

Do I exercise from a place of self-love, or self-hate?

Do I enjoy my job?

Do I feel fulfilled in my career?

Am I excited to go to work?

What is my mood when I go to bed?

What is my mood when I wake up?

How do I feel when I am alone?

How do I feel when I am in social situations?

What makes me sad?

What frustrates me?

What has traumatized me?

Who has hurt me deeply in the past?

Who am I incapable of forgiving?

How often do I laugh?

Do I have the space to develop my own wants and needs independently of my friendships/ relationships with a significant other?

Am I confident in my own sexuality?

Do I have a healthy relationship with my body?
Does the person I portray on social media align with the Self I see in the mirror?

Do I feel the need to portray myself in a certain way to gain respect from my social group/ peers?

Can I confidently say no when I want to?

Do I say yes to social commitments when I actually want to say no?

Am I a good friend?

Am I a good lover?

Am I a good son/ daughter?

Am I a good parent?

Am I honest with others?

Am I honest with myself?

Do I love my Self?

 

Don't fear the unknown.

For your mind to even generate a question, the answer is already out there in the ether- you just have to find a way to access it. The unknown is a portal to growth and transformation. Existential angst is truly beautiful- it's a part of the mystery of life. Instead of letting it envelop you in anxiety: laugh! What a weird and wonderful world we live in, what a gift it is to be walking the planet with no rhyme or reason.

 Hiking in Symi, Greece.

Hiking in Symi, Greece.

 

Tips and tools to get rid of anxiety and depression

 

1. Self-love

I truly believe that self-love is the foundation upon which you build a healthy mind, body, and soul. This concept has gotten more attention lately, but make sure you distinguish between love for the ego and love for the self. Ego is fuelled by others perception of you; things like attention, "likes", "followers"... ego love is the antithesis of self-love because it is reliant on somebody else. True self-love is the cultivation of a deep appreciation for the Being... an adoration for the experience of being human. It's honouring your body as the temple that it is, and requires treating your body almost as a distinct entity; loving it like your own child. Self-love is cultivating a relationship between you and your body whereby all the things you do come from a place of love, not hate.

All behaviours can come from a place of self-love (healthy) or an self-hate (unhealthy). Even if a habit is "good" for you- of you're not engaging in it from a place of self-love, it can become toxic. Exercise is a great example of this, why do you exercise? Exercise is a "healthy" habit out of context, but if you do it because you hate your body and want to be thinner, bigger, etc- the behaviour spirals into a place of toxicity. Exercising because movement is a gift you give to your body in celebration of health is completely different. You can eat a big organic salad to nourish your body in gratitude for all it does for you, in total adoration that nutrients somehow assimilate into fuel to generate energy for your incredible human Self (healthy); or you can eat a big organic salad as a part of a restrictive diet, in punishment to your body who you think should be leaner (unhealthy).

Health is a mindset, it is generated in the relationship you have with your habits. Even "unhealthy" habits like coffee or alcohol rely heavily on your intention with the habit. Incorporating a glass of biodynamic natural red wine as an occasional ritual surrounded by loved ones, in celebration of life, joy, etc- that can truly be medicine. Drinking a glass of biodynamic natural red wine after a long day of work because you hate your job and you need to wind down after grinding all day to escape your problems... that is a toxic behaviour.

 

Our modern day "health" movement is unfathomably unhealthy. I've worked in the health industry for years, and been exposed to so many health influencers who through social media look great, project the perfect image of health, say all the right things... and behind the scenes are absolute messes. From crippling anxiety, depression, eating disorders, obsessive compulsive exercising, deprivation, insane consumption of caffeine and even drugs- the "health" industry is a cesspool of bullshit. The health movement of today is predominently reliant on perception of health, "ego-love" not self-love. Self-love generates the kind of behaviour you would want for your child- a caring, nurturing, real authentic health. The kind of health that promotes longevity and the kind of health that is kind and compassionate to the self.

 

Ways to cultivate Self-love 

I. Mantras

Are a powerful way to reprogram your subconscious. Choose a couple that resonate with you right now, and take 1-5 minutes a couple of times a day to close your eyes and just mediate on the concepts (or simply take deep breaths and calmly repeat them in your head)

I am enough

I am worthy

I am supported

I am love

I am light

I am clarity

I am wisdom

I am connected

 

II. Rituals

Priorities time for your self. Whether you are a wife, a husband, a mother, a father- you have to make time for your Self so you can properly show up for others. Trying to fill others cups from an empty jug doesn't work literally and it sure as hell doesn't work metaphorically either. Find a few rituals (they needn't be long) that you can incorporate into your daily or weekly routine to remind yourself of your worth. One's I like in particular are morning (or evening) gua sha (learn how to HERE), taking a bath, self-massage, an exercise routine, yoni steaming, journalling, meditation, mantras, morning tea alone before anyone else wakes up, cooking myself a big beautiful dinner and eating alone, investing in organic food or beautiful organic body care/ facial oils and cherishing the process of their application, going out for dinner alone, or spending time in nature alone.

 

III. Time alone

This is necessary to cultivate self-love. No matter what commitments you have to other people and relationships, getting time (even 5 minutes) alone is a powerful way to reconnect and find your Self. Get up a few minutes earlier if you need, or cherish your time in the shower (or even on the toilet). Centre yourself, talk to your higher self; feel that being sitting above in the heavens looking over you. I like to think of my higher Self as this research assistant that has access to the infinite wisdom of the cosmos- s/he is up there, transmitting bits of wisdom and insight to you throughout the day... connect with him/ her, ask for guidance, ask for clarity. Trust the powerful intuitive nature that flows through you when you cultivate the relationship with your higher being, with your self. 

Read my article of how getting naked is a catalyst for self-love HERE.

 

2. Purpose 

What a daunting concept, purpose. In essence, purpose is simply a mission- something greater than you. It's viewing your life as a project, something you need to accomplish... a goal. Fundamentally, a purpose is something positive, that toggles an energy in you that enables to dedicate your existence to something meaningful. It gets you out of the ego-driven mindset that drives modern day capitalism because it's no longer about you. The joy you derive from a purpose-driven life cannot be taken from you because even if you lose your job, or you get your heart broken- no matter what road bumps show up along the way: your mission is greater than anything that might conventionally get you down. There are infinite ways to play out your life mission- nothing can stop you from taking steps in the direction of your purpose.

My purpose is to help people take back their Power. I did that easily when I was managing a health store in Australia- not only in educating people to eat well, but in having incredible conversations with customers about all aspects of developing their personal power. But it didn't stop at my job- it flows out of me with every interaction I have, with every word that I speak, and breath that I take. When I was "forced" to leave Australia (visa struggles), my purpose took me to Hawaii, and then back to Canada- and now to Europe. If you're too caught up in any one job or attached to one place as a part of your identity- it can be very hard when life "happens" and forces a change (quit a job, leave a country)- but when your purpose is bigger than any of that- you begin to flow with life. You develop a sense of trust in the greater happenings of the cosmic game- and you find the joy in taking your mission with you anywhere you go. You dance with the universe.

If the idea of having a "purpose" leaves you wide-eyed and even more anxious than before: just start giving. The easiest way to get un-stuck when your mind is swirling with the self-loathing of your own misery is to do something for someone else. Give away your physical possessions, give away your time (volunteer), give away money to a cause you believe in, give away a skill, give away a smile to a stranger... the possibilities are truly endless. The more you give, the more you'll find the self-less aspect of life, the less it becomes about you. Just watch the anxiety and depression melt away.

Humans don’t mind hardship, in fact they thrive on it; what they mind is not feeling necessary. Modern society has perfected the art of making people not feel necessary. It’s time for that to end.
— Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging

3. Social Media 

Is probably one of the biggest underlying triggers of our modern day anxiety problem. Of course we know that most social media pages are nothing but a highlight of a person’s life- but that doesn’t make it any less brain-washing in terms of standards we set for ourselves and the way we compare our own life/ inadequacies relative to other peoples.

The life I share publicly is as honest and raw as I possibly can be, and still I cannot help but think how absurd it is that people know this version of me through the internet. The “me” you see online is me, but even the “me” in real life (that my friends see face-to-face) is just a version of me. We are infinite beings, we wear infinite masks. We are light, we are darkness, we are yin, and yang. We die and are reborn every time we blink- and so the very existence of a modality that captures us and locks us into a fixed state (social media) is by nature going to generate anxiety. We feel the need to be this thing, that we are not- because we’re always changing. We feel pressure to express ourselves perfectly, often influenced by the newest currency of modern day: likes, and follows. We subconsciously generate captions and pictures with a vague understanding of what our target audience wants to see, and then sit there like crack addicts waiting for a hit  of “likes”. It’s INSANITY! … and it’s now a part of life.

My advice? Most importantly: be aware. Watch yourself. Observe the tendencies, observe the addiction. I’m not saying you should delete yourself from the online world (although, feel free), but don’t be blind to the addiction, don’t be oblivious to the ways it’s shaping you.

I personally don’t even have a SIM card in my phone because I find that when I have access to data 24/7, I use it 24/7. If you know you can’t help but be a slave to the black mirror, implement a block on yourself. There are apps you can use that count how much time you spend looking at your device (that might be the wake-up call you need), and other apps that block you out of your phone past a certain time or after a certain amount of time of use. I used to use the facebook blocking website on my laptop during university when I had to study or write a paper. It’s bloody brilliant.

As far as letting “likes” and “follows” influence your “content”: I will never cater the information I share to my audience, and I think that’s the only healthy way to be a part of the online community. I heard Paulo Cohello (author of The Alchemist) say years ago in an interview that he will only ever write for himself, because no matter what he writes there will always be supporters and always be haters; and at the end of the day if he stayed true to the voice in his heart- he can sleep soundly at night. That is my guiding compass when it comes to social media: I cater to my Truth, and will not apologize for it. You may or may not like it, but if I speak from the heart- then it doesn't matter if someone doesn't "like" what I have to say. If your creating content for the audience, than your "success" relies on approval. Dangerous.

Click buttons below to check out websites/ apps that enable you to self-limit and monitor your access to social media/ online world.

Out of the 4 above, I think forest app is the neatest, because it grows a tree while you are off of your phone. As soon as you check it, the tree/ plant dies. It is a beautiful metaphor & game you can play to nourish your ability to stay off your technological devices.

Also check out THIS podcast by Nutritious Movement on how social media is shaping your body.
And THIS article by Wholly Chloe (Chloe Parsons) on why and how to take a social media break.

 

4. Sleep

Almost surely more important than nutrition, and undoubtably more important than exercise- sleep is the foundation of a healthy body. Quality and quantity- there is truly an art to sleeping, which I've elaborated on the fundamentals of sleep in THIS article. Also if you have any doubts on the importance of sleep (or think that you're one of the exceptions to the rule) do yourself a favour and listen to Joe Rogan Experience podcast HERE with guest Matthew Walker (Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science), and check out Walker's book Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

 

5. Nutrition

This is so, so, so important. Food is like the coding for your program, it's what tells your cells how to function, it's what fuels your brain and nourishes your organs. It's what feeds your gut, it creates balance or wreaks havoc on your micro biomes, it is an imperative aspect to feeling good. The role food plays in creating or fighting inflammation is irrefutable, so to ensure you're not contibuting to any unnecessary low levels of underlying chronic inflammation (/ stress) avoid all processed foods- especially sugar (refined, but high GI foods in general).

Depression should be categorized with other inflammatory disorders including heart disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, and dementia.
— Dr. Kelly Brogan, A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression
 Organic vegetables in Rome, Italy.

Organic vegetables in Rome, Italy.

A couple of basic nutrition pointers:

I. Eat Real Food

Organic whenever possible (but imperative when it comes to any animal products or bi-products), as fresh and local as possible, and as unprocessed as possible. There is so much information out there when it comes to diet, but if you just focus on eating real food, you're smashing it. Focus on nourishing your body, from a place of love. Let go of counting, measuring, worrying, overthinking. 

 

II. Drink Clean Water

To clean recycled water that comes out of your tap, chemicals are used. These chemicals are toxic to your body. Think about it rationally: for waste water to make its way from your toilet out of your tap, how on earth are the chemicals used safe for drinking? Chlorine alone is enough to completely destroy your gut bacteria. Invest in a legit water filter (with a fluoride attachment) and watch your health and mood transform. I truly believe quitting tap water is one of the two most profound decisions I have made for my health (along side quitting hormonal birth control).  You can also find companies that deliver spring water to your house! I use Cedar Springs when I'm in Toronto ("becomingfullyhuman" for your first 2x 18L bottles free), but if I didn't I would be using either the the Berkey countertop filter (+ fluoride attachments) or install a household RO machine that restructures the water

 Berkey + fluoride filters (click image for more info).

Berkey + fluoride filters (click image for more info).

 Reverse Osmosis filter (click image for more info).

Reverse Osmosis filter (click image for more info).

III. Balanced blood sugar

Keeping balanced blood sugar throughout the day is crucial to supporting your body’s overall health. When you spike your blood sugar, your body is forced to secrete insulin (literally to keep you alive); this process puts a large burden on your health and can lead to insulin resistance. This process is corrupted in diabetics, where the body is not able to match the amount of insulin required to balance the blood sugar- which of course is fatal. Even if you are not diabetic, maintaining balanced blood sugar will ensure a healthy weight, promote longevity, balance energy, and happy hormones. Most people today know that when you introduce high-glycemic foods into the diet, your blood sugar spikes, and then consequently crashes (what goes up, must come down), which is why sugar and high sugar foods have been under fire lately.

To keep your blood sugar balanced, avoid consuming high glycemic foods (high sugar) by themselves, and opt to eat meals full of healthy fats, moderate amounts of high quality protein, and conscious consumption of carbohydrates (high fibre, lower GI, unprocessed- like sweet potatoes).

 

IV. Gut Health

The gut-brain axis is real: you cannot separate gut health from brain health. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter is an incredible resource to learn more on this subject, but taking the strides to nourish your gut (pre and probiotic rich foods, avoiding tap water), will transform the way your mind works and how you feel. More resources at the bottom of this article.

 

V. foods particularly good for mood boosting/ battling anxiety + depression

- organic cashews and walnuts

- organic sweet potato

- fermented foods (probiotic rich like organic sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt, kvass)

- organic berries

- organic avocados 

- organic leafy greens

 

6. Exercise

If you’ve ever listened to a Joe Rogan podcast, you’ll know his take on this subject! Exercise is nature’s anti-depressant. You don’t need the science, just be the guinea pig and push through a hard workout when you’re feeling down and watch your mood do a 180. “Runner’s high” is a real thing: when you exercise, your body floods with mood-boosting hormones.

Find something you love, and try to do it (almost) everyday. Run, yoga, swim, dance, stretch, lift weights, skip, bicycle, walk, skip, boot camp, tango, gymnastics, boxing… the key is to move the chi in your body: get the stagnant energy causing your mood ferment negativity to FLOW. 

One of my favourite ways to exercise: bicycle! I rent one anywhere I go. It's such a magical way to explore a new city, get in exercise, and soak in the sunshine.

 

7. Human Touch + meaningful connection

Is medicine. We've seen it in studies with lab rats- development requires skin-to-skin contact. We also know that 20 second hugs release mood boosting oxytocin! But truly, the impact of human touch transcends anything we can fathom intellectually. If you're not in a place to receive this touch from a partner or friend, prioritize getting regular massages as a part of your self-love care.

Meaningful relationships are also surfacing as one of the most important aspect of thriving humans, and particularly as a factor for longevity. Social anxiety is at an all time high, and fake relationships are unsurprisingly also at an all time high. Surround yourself with people who are on the same path as you, people who inspire you, people who love and support you. People who are there for you not only when you're down- but also when you're thriving. A great read on the subject is called Tribe: On Homecoming and Belongingby Sebastian Junger.

Human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money and status.
— Sebastian Junger, Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging
 I prioritize touch by healing professionals. A great way to get affordable TCM is to find a local TCM school, and visit their cupping/ acupuncture clinic (I do this 1x week).

I prioritize touch by healing professionals. A great way to get affordable TCM is to find a local TCM school, and visit their cupping/ acupuncture clinic (I do this 1x week).

8. Get in Nature

 Plant  magic.

Plant magic.

Nudity in nature, sunshine, earthing... forrest bathing (also known as shinrin-yoku) has been scientifically proven to treat depression, but again- mentioning science when it comes to these fundamental life principles seems irrelevant. The proof is in the experience. Make time to expose your body to nature as much as possible, be it sunshine on bare skin during your lunch break, taking a trip to the woods for a weekend of camping, or getting your bare feet in a patch of grass at a near by park. Stop to smell the flowers (literally), hug a tree. Apart from the positive ions you release during this exchange, spending time outside amidst the greenery is a powerful reminder of the incredibly profound psychedelic nature of life. Anxiety and depression are often entangled with a narrow focus on the Self- that the situation you are in is unbearable or overwhelming; the incredibly vast beauty and incredibly mystical presence of nature might enable you to leverage perspective on your current situation. When I look up at the stars at night, I cannot help but laugh at how incredibly insignificant we are as a planet, let alone a species, let alone an individual. Trees and flowers and blades of grass growing from seedlings thanks to nothing but sunshine and water. The grow and flourish and nourish... seriously mind blowing.

If you’re familiar with seasonal affective disorder, you may already know how important sunlight is to mood. Research shows that serotonin production by the brain is directly related to the exposure to bright sunlight, so that more sunlight means more serotonin. Understanding that our most commonly prescribed antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) and are thought to work by increasing brain serotonin, this data is all the more interesting.
— Dr. David Perlmutter
 Sunshine + nudity: my recipe for a happy, thriving mind and body.

Sunshine + nudity: my recipe for a happy, thriving mind and body.

9. Forgive

Another massive factor in healing your self is letting go of the past as it sets the tone for the future. Forgive everyone, and I mean: everyone. From the person who cut you off in traffic, to your first love that broke your heart, to the bastard that stole your wallet, to the friend that did something heaps shady, to the boss that is an incessant maniacal asshole: everyone. 

Read this very carefully:

the only person you are hurting by holding onto resentment is yourself.

Coming from personal experience, the only time I have experienced real anxiety in the recent past is when a friendship ended between a friend and I. It ended badly; she blew up on me and ended the friendship (as far as I can tell) because she was projecting childhood trauma onto our relationship. She was cruel and said very hurtful things to me, which left me wanting her to apologize/ acknowledge the fact she essentially went bat shit crazy on me for no logical reason. I had the expectation that she needed to apologize before I could forgive her, and this brought me some pretty serious misery, which started to manifest as anxiety. Despite not having done anything to her to warrant her (straight up insane) behaviour towards me, she didn’t owe me an apology. Nobody owes you anything, ever. By holding an expectation of her need to apologize before I could forgive her, I trapped myself in this loop of pain. I was caught in this loop for a few months, until I went to a 10 day silent meditation retreat and had a massive awakening that the only way to heal from the pain of this situation was to forgive- with no clause, with no expectations of anything in return.

We create these stories in our heads: of what we deserve, what we are entitled to. These stories create expectations and then we compare these expectations to our current situation and derive joy or sadness from the results. Let go of expectations. Let go of entitlement. This does not mean you should let people treat you in any which way: set boundaries. Invite people into your life that support and love you, that lift you up (short rant on this subject HERE), but after that is said and done: forgive everyone. Forgiveness will set you free.

 

This includes (most importantly) forgiving yourself. What past behaviours have you done that were sub-optimal? Who have you hurt? When did you lie, or cheat? Forgive yourself. We are continuously growing and learning from the past, everyone makes mistakes. Don’t use this as an excuse to perpetuate harm in the future, but clinging to past errors will do nothing but perpetuate misery in your present and future. A mistake is only a mistake if you fail to grow from it, so honour the past by using this mistake a seed from which to blossom. Grow, and water the seed with compassion and forgiveness. 

 

forgiveness activity 1: Forgive + release

Whether there is a fresh wound in need of healing or something that has been lingering for years- write a letter to forgive someone who has hurt you, and make sure to apologize for the role you played in the pain. Explain your pain, your feelings, and the situation from your point of view; including what you could have done better. This exercise is particularly powerful with past parters/ romantic relationships, as a way to truly heal and find closure. When you are finished writing: burn the letter, and as it burns - send them love, and cut the cord between you and this person. (To do this, simply close your eyes, envision the cord connecting you and him or her- send love from your heart through the cord into their heart, and picture yourself physically cutting the cord between the two of you). 

 

forgiveness activity part 2: Set Boundaries 

Who is that person you need to cut out of your life? I recently did a pole on Instagram following the post of THIS short rant, and 95% of you said that the post triggered the thought of someone in your life you had an unhealthy relationship with that needs to end. It might seem overwhelming or daunting to do this, so start by writing them a letter you have no intention of sending. Get all your feelings out on paper, tell them how you feel- speak from the heart, with compassion. Make sure to explore the role you play in enabling the dynamic of your relationship. When you finish writing, consider sharing the letter, but whether or not you do anything differently- you will be capable of navigating the relationship with this newfound perspective and clarity. Writing is a powerful release. Release = real ease.

 

10. Detox/ Parasite Cleanse

In the physical realm, toxins and in particular parasites can play a big role in disrupting our moods. Coming from experience (and having zero symptoms of any toxicity or parasite infections)- I did a 3 month parasite cleanse a few years back and the stuff I saw come out of me, well, let's just say YIKES. The clarity/ vibrant health that ensued following that parasite detox protocol was beyond words. I think everyone living in modern day should embark on a parasite cleanse- truly. I will elaborate on this more in the future, but Organic Olivia is a fantastic resource in the mean time, you can check out her website HERE

 

11. Supplements

I don’t believe you can supplement you're way out of anxiety or depression without addressing the things above, but these natural supplements might be the final push you need to tip the scale out of the swirlings of anxiety and depression. The things with supplements is that you really need to first and foremost dial in your nutrition. Any one single missing vitamin or mineral will throw of the entire synergy of your body's inner workings. Vitamins and minerals are more than the sum of their parts- ideally you want to get them from food in their whole form, and get your vitamin D from real sunshine on bare skin. *Don't take everyone at once, don't take anything simply because it's "good" for you- investigate, educate yourself, invest in a high quality brand, and continuously check in with yourself to see how it makes you feel.*

 

probiotics

Fish oil (fermented cod liver oil)

Mucuna Pruriens

Magnesium

Vitamin D

5-HTP

B-Complex

Theanine

Ashwagandha

Rhodiola

Lavender

Chamomile

Kava kava

Passionflower 

Valerian

Microdosing psilocybin (more on this in depth, HERE)


Do the work.

Dive into the depths of your being and find out why you feel the way you feel. Don't be afraid of pain. Pain enables you to unlock new levels of consciousness, of self-awareness. Pain allows you to get to know your Self in ways you never could before. Use anxiety and depression as catalysts for transformation. Don't suppress your emotions, and also don't be afraid to reach out for help. If ever you feel so overwhelmed that life doesn't feel worth living- you must take the advice you would give to your own child if s/he came to you with such feelings. If your own child came to you with feelings of suicide: what would you tell them? Harness every inch of your inner strength and reach out to someone for help- you are worthy of love, you are worthy of life. You are supported by the divine feminine energy of the Mother Earth. I see the divine spark in you, that can -and will- shine light onto humanity.


A DEEPER DIVE

videos

Learn the shocking facts about depression that no one is talking about. It may just change the way you or a loved one deal with this epidemic, and set you on a path towards true healing.

One of the things I explore in depth in Brain Maker is the notion that even depression is now considered an inflammatory disorder. We now understand that inflammatory markers, the same that we see elevated in heart disease are also elevated in the depressed patient.

A Journey into the healing potential of grounding and connecting to the Earth.

Powerful video on forgiveness: “I Survived The Holocaust Twin Experiments”

Matthew Walker is Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, and Founder and Director of the Center for Human Sleep Science.

Young people want, rightly, to change the world. But how might this be properly done? In this video, Dr. Peterson outlines why Truth is the proper route to societal improvement -- and why that starts with the individual.

Samadhi Movie "Maya, the Illusion of the Self" Part 1

 

articles/ websites

- How Inflammation and Depression Gave Birth to New Medicine HERE

- The Power of Hugging/ Human Touch HERE

- Five Ways to Fight Depression (Without Drugs!) by Dr. Perlmutter HERE

- Organic Olivia Parasite Cleanse Protocol HERE  

- Effect of sunlight and season on serotonin turnover in the brain HERE 

- Forest Bathing by NYTimes HERE

- Your Brain on Nature: Forest Bathing and Reduced Stress HERE

- The Science Delusion by Dr. Kelly Brogan HERE

- Powerful Essay on Forvieness: Holocaust survivor preaches forgiveness of Nazis as ‘ultimate revenge’ HERE

 

books

A Mind of Your Own: The Truth About Depression and How Women Can Heal Their Bodies to Reclaim Their Lives by Dr. Kelly Brogan, MD

Mind Over Medicine  by Dr. Lissa Rankin

Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain by Dr. David Perlmutter, Kristin Loberg

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price

Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition by T. Colin Campbell, Howard Jacobson

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger 

You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams by Matthew Walker

Your Brain On Nature,  by Eva M. Selhub and Alan C. Logan

 

Check out a list of all my favourite books HERE.