Foods For Depression: One Surprising Reason to Save Your Banana Peels

Friday, April 25, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

Do you eat bananas? Don't toss your peels! 

Maybe it's the conservationist in me, or maybe I am just frugal...if frugal means cheap as hell. It's probably both of those that led me to discover the fact that banana peels can be amazing for mental health. 

Food, Serotonin and Natural Prozac

While bananas have things like potassium and magnesium--both of which play an important role in mental health--the high concentrations of tryptophan in banana skins may play an even more important role in depression, specifically because tryptophan is the chemical humans use to synthesize serotonin....  continue reading

Mom Alert: Things Your Doctor Hasn't Told You About The Causes of "Mommy Brain"

Monday, April 21, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Psychology of Motherhood

"Mommy brain" is a common experience among new mothers. Often beginning during pregnancy, symptoms can last through the first year of a child's life and occasionally longer. Women in the throes of this phenomena report having less ability to concentrate or overall feelings of being mentally foggy. Forgetting details--such as what you walked into that room for--is common, as is realizing at the end of the day that you're wearing two different shoes....  continue reading

Is Depression A Physical Illness? The Link Between Depressive Symptoms and Brain Changes

Friday, April 18, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

According to Dr. Peter Kramer in Against Depression, depression is the "most devastating disease known to humankind”1 (pg 150). It alters both psychological functioning—in the form of emotional issues— as well as physical abilities—in the form of pain, lethargy or other connected ailments. Depression strikes early, often triggered by stress or trauma which leads to “kindling”, as discussed in detail in the last post. 

Understanding where depression comes from, as well as what is happening inside your brain, may help you determine the best way to attack it. The good news is that there are a number of treatment options available. The bad news is that most who have one episode will have another, and each episode tends to be worse than the one before it, particularly in those who forgo therapy.

But why would this be?...  continue reading

What Is Depression? Examining the Link Between The Physical and The Emotional

Monday, April 14, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Depression

”He told me it's all in my head." She wept silently, eyes down. "Maybe he's right."

Her state was familiar, one I had seen many times before.  

But “he” wasn't right. 

Depression is a highly physical condition, a state of the brain and body informed by genetics, gestational environment, early learning and later relationships, all of which lead to specific changes within the brain and the body itself through a complex interaction of chemicals. 

Depression is not a simple mind over matter issue. Those who suffer don't have the ability to just wake up one day and make it go away....  continue reading

5 Ways Your Hormones Are Affecting Your Brain: The Menstrual Cycle, Anxiety, Memory, Exhaustion and Chocolate

Friday, April 11, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Physical Health and Emotion

The only reason I'm able to post this is because I'm extremely caffeinated. Coffee or no, if someone doesn't give me some chocolate soon, I may lose my shit.

Maybe it's not that bad, but we've all had those days. Oddly, their appearance may not be related to chocolate withdrawal. Hormones play an important role in the way we perceive the environment. The hormones related to menstrual cycling can alter everything from sleep, to obsessive thoughts, to motivation and even the susceptibility to addictive substances.

Addictive chocolate right?...  continue reading

Reciprocal Altruism: The Evolutionary Drive Towards Not Being A Jackass

Monday, April 07, 2014 by Meg   •   Filed under Evolutionary Psychology

There is a reason it feels good to help others. Human beings are emotionally hardwired to help each other in times of need. But altruism isn't a moral obligation or a selfless act of kindness. At root, altruism is a biological imperative that is all about self-interest. And this predisposition has the ability to trigger guilt and anxiety if we aren't careful to repay kindnesses.

"You hear that, Judy? Where's my casserole dish?"...  continue reading