The Power of Gratitude & Five Ways to Apply it

Most people are familiar with the term gratitude. Similarly, many people understand what gratitude is and why it is important. However, most of us tend to be blind to the power of gratitude. There are many definitions that vary slightly in semantics when it comes to gratitude, but the simplest way to describe gratitude is just the state of being thankful.
Gratitude is a pleasant state linked with a bevy of positive emotions including contentment, happiness, pride, and hope. This is because gratitude increases the production of dopamine and serotonin in our brains. It is important to note one thing: gratitude is not realizing that other people are “worse off” than you. Comparing ourselves to others is a dangerous trap to fall into, and one of the quickest routes to unhappiness. A University of California study found that unhappy people tend to compare themselves to others and internalize their perceived deficiencies. Rather than looking at who is worse or better off, it is important to …

Nutrition and Mental Health

Researches are suggesting that nutrition and diet are essential factors closely linked to our mental health and well-being. Nutrition is now playing a bigger role in mental health care since the development, management, and prevention of various mental health conditions are influenced by dietary factors. This week, we have some nutrition tips on foods to avoid, foods to eat more of, and other natural supplements or vitamins to add to your diet to increase your overall well-being and mental health.
Good mood foods: ·Foods high in protein: Protein rich food such as turkey, chicken, or fish have higher levels of tryptophan, a precursor to serotonin or the “feel good” neurotransmitter. Tryptophan converts into 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP), which converts to serotonin. Your body must have enough tryptophan from food to make serotonin so if you follow a vegetarian diet or are unable to consume large amounts of protein, vegetarian-friendly foods such as nutritional yeast, milk products, nut…

Lifestyle Changes You Can Make in the Fight against Depression: Exercise

This post is the beginning of a series of posts examining lifestyle changes people can make to improve their mental health and fight depression. While many factors contribute to the presence of depression in an individual including genetics, personality, cognition, and environmental stressors, lifestyle habits may have an impact on the magnitude of one’s depression. In other words, lifestyle changes may alleviate the severity of depression symptoms, and can help prevent relapse for someone who has struggled with depression in the past. In the last post (add link here), we discussed common treatments for depression, including psychotherapy, medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). The lifestyle habits we will review in the coming weeks can be incorporated concurrently with whatever treatment a person is engaged in and has the potential to augment the effects of the treatment they are undergoing. For this week, we will dive into exercise a…

Reviewing the Most Common Treatments for Depression

In the last post Know When to Seek Help for Depression, we discussed when it may be time to see a medical provider regarding depression. Here, we hope to help in the search for a treatment plan if you have decided to seek help for your depression. Keep in mind one thing when searching for treatment: everyone is different in terms of how they respond to each treatment. Therefore, it is important to remember that someone else’s experience may not be reflective of what your experience will be like. Each treatment contains benefits and drawbacks that should be weighed diligently throughout your decision-making process. It is important to remember that sometimes it takes trying more than one treatment to find the right answer. 
Let us review the pros and cons to the most common treatments for depression including psychotherapy, medication, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS):

1. PsychotherapyPsychotherapy, also known as “talk therapy,” tends to be the…

Know When to Seek Help for Depression

It is natural and humanistic to feel sad or down from time to time. Does this mean you are depressed? Not necessarily. Depression is more than just having a bad day or “feeling blue.” However, when a sad mood persists for a longer period and begins to negatively impact normal daily activities surrounding work, school, or relationships, then something more may be happening. Specifically, if symptoms such as sadness, apathy, concentration difficulties, overwhelming inner tension, extreme pessimistic thinking, or suicidal thoughts persist for more than two weeks, then it may be time to seek help.  For a full list of depression symptoms, see below: Feeling sad or anxious often or all the timeNot wanting to do activities that used to be enjoyableFeeling irritable‚ easily frustrated‚ or restlessHaving trouble falling asleep or staying asleepWaking up too early or sleeping too muchEating more or less than usual or having no appetiteExperiencing aches, pains, …

The Science Behind Modern TMS

History of TMS – Where it Came From – Theoretical Framework

Modern Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a relatively novel phenomenon. TMS is a non-invasive technique used to stimulate specific areas in the brain. TMS looks significantly different now that it did when it was first explored in 1985. Back in 1985, TMS was utilized primarily over the motor cortex (the brain area responsible for facilitating voluntary movement). Additionally, the stimulation was only limited to a single pulse. In present day, a plethora of brain areas are being investigated using repetitive TMS (rTMS), as opposed to single-pulse stimulation over the motor cortex. What implications does this have? We will discuss that shortly, but first we will begin with how the brain area to treat depression arrived to become the primary treatment location in TMS.
As mentioned previously, the original area of the brain targeted in TMS experiments was the motor cortex. The motor cortex is still used for stimulation to…