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Viruses and Mood: The Infection-Depression Connection

joy Jan 15, 2019

 By Tim Culbert, MD

I’ll assume you’ve had a head cold before. Those viral upper respiratory infections (URI) bring the usual symptoms of fever, stuffy nose, and scratchy throat. However, have you also noticed that you feel crabby, unmotivated, foggy, or restless at night?

The culprit? Neuroinflammation. Yes, a head cold = a hot head (and a bad mood).

Here’s how it works: Viral infections like a cold (caused by viruses like rhinovirus) or flu (caused by the influenza virus) are foreign invaders to the immune system. The immune system works as a “defense and repair” mechanism and is closely linked to your neurological and psychological systems. When those bug invaders enter, your immune system revs up to defend. This activation can cue the process of inflammation to occur in your body and brain. An inflamed brain (neuroinflammation) can contribute to a depressed mood and brain fog (i.e., mental fatigue, lack of clarity, poor concentration,...

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Naturally Boost Your Mood and Energy with Food

digest nourish Jan 08, 2019

By Carolyn Denton, MA, LN

“Tell me what you eat and I will tell you who you are.”

-Anthelme Brillat Savarin, 1826

 

As far back as 1826, Savarin knew “we are what we eat,” and– more specifically– who we become. Functionally speaking, “food is information.”

Foods contain nutrients which provide directions to the systems of the body about how they will function, creating either positive or negative consequences. The nutrients we consume send messages to the brain and body about how it is going to behave. When we think of “food as information,” the focus becomes foods to include rather than foods to exclude.

The body and the mind are a connected, collaborative, community of interdependent systems. For example:

  • The nervous system is the place where neurotransmission occurs.
  • The digestive system is a community of beneficial bacteria.
  • The endocrine system includes all the glands and all the hormones…adaptive and...
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Autism Spectrum Disorder: Complementary Therapies for a Growing Problem

autism spectrum Dec 20, 2018

By Tim Culbert, MD

Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States has risen over the last four decades. Two recent studies (one in Pediatrics and the other in JAMA Pediatrics) found that rates continue to grow, reporting that about 1 in every 40 children are diagnosed with ASD.

Why are so many more kids being diagnosed with ASD? Two key possibilities:

  • There’s no real rise in the number of children with ASD. Instead, there’s more awareness of autism, better diagnostic tools, and a changing definition of ASD. Head to the bottom of this post for some extras about the history and evolution of autism.
  • There is an actual rise in ASD prevalence. This could be related to increased exposure of environmental toxins both in the womb and out. This exposure could be causing negative interactions with certain genetic tendencies.

Another big problem: 30% of children with ASD are not receiving appropriate treatments. Treatments for ASD include medications,...

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Adaptogens and Nervines for Resilience in Body and Mind

calm focus joy sleep Dec 20, 2018

 By Tim Culbert, MD

Adaptogens and nervines can support resilience in body and mind. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your system adapt more skillfully when faced with stress. 

What are Adaptogens?

Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.

Adaptogens Can Help

  • Increase blood flow in the central nervous system.
  • Increase the release of helpful brain chemicals such as nerve growth factor and BDNF.
  • Modulate brain waves.
  • Support neuroplasticity.
  • Boost the production of neurotransmitters.
  • Prevent cell damage.
  • Eliminate toxins.
  • Balance the stress response of the adrenal system.
  • Quiet the mind and body.

Common Adaptogens

  • Ginseng.
    • American ginseng (panax quinquefolius) can help...
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Minding the Mind

focus joy meditation Dec 18, 2018
 

By Catherine Duncan, MA, BCC

*Read below, then click the play button above to practice the "Minding Your Mind" meditation.*

My cell phone rang during dinner with friends. Scott, my husband, had collapsed and was being taken to the hospital.

Panic rose in my chest as I made my way to the ER. The doctors struggled to make sense of his symptoms. Was he suffering a heart attack? An aortic dissection? A strange cardiac rhythm? I gasped for air as the doctors wheeled him from room to room for tests– and again when he landed in the ICU. Breathe, I told myself.

Soon after entering the ICU, Scott flatlined. My heart flooded with terror. The medical team rushed to his room and after a few minutes his heartbeat picked up again. I held fast to only one thought: Breathe.

Scott was taken to the operating room for a temporary pacemaker implant. Breathe, I reminded myself. Ten days later we were told that Scott has a very rare heart condition. Breathe, I thought. One breath at a time.

Few of...

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The Window of Tolerance

calm joy Dec 04, 2018

  By Tim Culbert, MD

The Window of Tolerance

The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to thrive in everyday life. This zone has been described by Drs. Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden as “sailing within a river of wellbeing where we are able to respond to all that comes our way with equanimity-without being thrown off course" (learn more here).

 

When you find yourself outside of this desirable zone (e.g., a nerve-wracking social situation), then your nervous system gets revved up and you can become emotionally over-reactive and quick to anger. Or, you may go the other way, and shut down or withdraw.

As the saying goes, "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails." So how can you adjust your sails when you find yourself outside your window of tolerance? You can use awareness, grounding, and mindful breathing skills to help you get back in the zone for more optimal functioning.  

The...

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Plant-Based Diet for Beginners: Six Easy Tips to Start a More Plant-Based Diet

digest foundations nourish Nov 27, 2018

By Elly Hollenhorst

The days are getting dark and cold. Warm hearty meals may be at the center of your cravings and, trust me, you are not alone. The following tips on how to eat more plant-based this fall will not only satisfy your comfort food craving but nourish your body by helping you succeed in eating more whole foods.

What Is a “Plant-Based” Diet?

The term plant-based has been buzzing around the internet of late and hopefully, we will continue hearing more about it as time passes. A whole food plant-based diet means that the food you consume is centered around an abundant variety of whole grains, vegetables, legumes, beans, fruit, nuts, and seeds while aiming to eat food as close to its whole form as possible (e.g. brown rice vs. white rice), choose organic as much as you can, and avoid processed food.

Whole food plant-based diets have been studied and appear to be among the healthiest ways of eating. Let me put it this way, very few people argue...

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Winterize Your Brain Kit: Support for Seasonal Affective Disorder

calm joy Nov 20, 2018
 

It's here! The kit to get you through winter without that mind-body crash has arrived. 

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. The Winterize Your Brain Kit includes key supplements and tools that work synergistically to help you create more warmth, light, & happiness- even during the coldest & darkest days. Learn more about your kit below.

Watch the video above and learn more about the kit here

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Foods that Help You Focus

digest focus Nov 14, 2018

Food has an amazing ability to affect your mental clarity, mood, memory, and your ability to focus and to feel calm. If you’re looking to boost your focus, one of the places you should start with is what you’re eating. Below are some general suggestions and specific foods that may help you improve your focus.

General Suggestions: 

Eat Breakfast. Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Foods at the top of researchers' brain-fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, protein, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Keep Regular Mealtimes. Your mid-day meal should be the largest if possible with a light meal at supper. Eat moderately, neither fasting nor indulging in large meals.

Relax. Take time to relax after eating. You'll digest better and feel more calm, satisfied, and ready to focus on your next task. 

Eat...

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The SHARE Model: Five Steps to Restore and Support Your GI Health

digest Nov 06, 2018

If you have gastrointestinal (GI) concerns, consider trying the SHARE Model (below) to ease discomfort and restore more resilient GI health. The Share Model is a modified version of the 5 Rs from The Institute for Functional Medicine.

If you're not sure about your symptoms, visit your doctor and then visit the Natural Digestion section for more information and support as you work to improve your GI health.

 

Visit the Foundations category to learn more about the Resilient Diet.

There are some basic GI health supplements from Resilient Remedies that can help you as you implement SHARE. See below for these supports.

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