It can be difficult to choose a self-help book when there are so many titles out there. With this in mind, we asked Valentina Chichiniova, one of our Counsellors at the Counselling and Wellness Centre at MDABC, to recommend a book which is easy to follow, enjoyable to read, and which offers real tools and strategies that you can use in your journey to mental health and wellbeing.
Book Recommendation: The mindful Way workbook: An 8-Week Program to Free Yourself From Depression and Emotional Distress by Teasdale, M. Williams & Z. Segal
This book is an amazing resource for anyone who does not have the time to go to a mindfulness therapy program or has been through the program but wants a clear structure of how to continue with the practice on their own!
The authors walk you through the theory behind the mindfulness practice in a clear, easy to understand language. The carefully organised chapters guide you step-by-step in you journey to change unhelpful ways of thinking and acting when dealing with depression, anxiety, or stress. Each chapter clearly explains and describes the specific mindfulness practices for you to try each week. In addition, to help you with the process, the authors ask you specific questions to reflect on and give you tools of how to keep track of your progress. Furthermore, they give you examples of plenty of comments by other people who have been through the program so that you do not feel alone in some of the challenges you may be facing.
Finally, you are given the guided meditations on a CD with the option to download them as an MP3 on your phone, tablet, or home computer- perfect for easy access anytime anywhere!
Vitamins are specifically involved in the body’s metabolism, cell production, tissue repair and other vital processes. A diet that is rich in an assortment of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats are the primary sources of vitamins and minerals, carotenoids and phytochemicals our body needs to function appropriately.
Vitamins are nutrients which are required in small doses for normal body functions and general good health which can be achieved from a well-balanced diet. Some supplements are more appropriate for individuals based on their medical history. For example, a pregnant woman is required to take a prenatal vitamins to ensure she receives adequate folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12 to ensure the unborn baby is receiving appropriate nutrients that she may not receive from her diet. Or a menstruating woman may require an iron deficiency supplement due to monthly blood losses. In addition, individuals who are vegetarians or vegan may also require supplementation with vitamin B12. A vitamin B12 supplement may also minimize depressive symptom. Vitamin B12 Is found in animal products such as fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs and low fat and fat free milk.
In the elderly population, vitamin D and B12 can be common vitamin deficiencies if patients are not exposed to sunlight, are obese or who have osteoporosis requiring vitamin supplementation. In general, individuals who avoid sunlight and whose diet is low in vitamin D should obtain supplement with Vitamin D. It has also been known to protect against cancer and may also help ease the symptoms of depression as some individuals struggling with depression tend to have low vitamin D levels. You can obtain vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight and also from specific foods such as milk, eggs and cod liver oil, therefore, certain vitamins can be effective for patients struggling with depression.
Another effective vitamin is omega-3 fatty acids which may be beneficial to treat mild to moderate depression. The reason for this is individuals with depression may have low levels of brain chemicals called EPA and DHA. Fish oil is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids which can boost these chemicals and also play a role in brain function.
The most effective way to achieve the necessary vitamins and minerals is through the food we eat. By making healthy choices, we can considerably lower our risk of developing symptoms of depression.
We also have to be aware of the doses of vitamins as some can be toxic and also interact with prescribed medications. Therefore, it is important to discuss appropriate vitamins which would be most effective in each individual patient’s situation.
By Sunny Khangura, Nurse Practioner at MDABC