Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Stress, Anxiety, and Depression Part IV

Whether it’s the pandemic, the politics, money worries, or more it seems like all of us are feeling the effects of these hard times. For some of us that means anxiety, for some it means depression. Some of us aren’t sleeping, some of us are frustrated by online schooling and having our plans messed up. What follows is a list of coping strategies. Not every strategy will work well for every person. Pick one or two.  Commit to them regularly. This is part of an ongoing series. 


As the computer programming adage goes: Garbage in / Garbage out. When we feel down, it's natural to crave comfort food. Unfortunately, many of our favorite comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, cookies, and sodas are nutrient poor and loaded with simple carbs and sugars. These poor choices might give up a momentary lift, but later lead to making us feel less energetic and less happy. Better food choices lead to better brain and whole body health. 

Probiotics: science has shown that there are connections between gut health and mood. Your gut produces most of your neurotransmitters. Better gut health leads to improvements in mood, sleep, and systemic inflammation. Good food sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, tempeh, miso, tofu, saurkraut, and other fermented foods. Probiotic supplements can also be useful. See these resources for more information: and

Antioxidants: prevent free radials that lead to cell damage. Brain cells are especially at risk to these free radicals. A diet rich in antioxident plentiful rich foods can help limit the damage. 

Beta-carotene: apricots, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, collards, peaches, pumpkin, spinach, sweet potato

Vitamin C: blueberries, broccoli, grapefruit, kiwi, oranges, peppers, potatoes, strawberries, tomato

Vitamin E: margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ

Complex carbohydrates can be found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes.
Carbohydrates are linked to the mood-boosting brain chemical, serotonin. Simple carbs, like a cookie can cause a "high" and then a "crash". Complex carbs will help you to maintain a more consistent energy and mood.

Vitimins D and B12 deficiencies have both been implicated in mood disorders. Supplementing with these vitamins may help you to feel better. See also:

Vitamin D: Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon; Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals; Cheese; Egg yolks

B Vitamins: margarine, nuts and seeds, vegetable oils, wheat germ, lean animal and fish products, low-fat dairy


Yoga has been shown to reduce the body's stress responses, thus making it a helpful tool for addressing stress, anxiety, and depression. By modulating the way the body's stress responses, physiological arousal is lowered. Heart rate, blood pressure and respiration can all decrease with regular yoga practice. Plus, you'll increase your body's flexibility, too! We are lucky to live in an area with so many in person and online options to participate in yoga classes. Here are a couple of them:


One of the worst parts of this pandemic for me has been to not be able to hug the people I want to hug. Thankfully, I can still hug the members of my immediate household. The benefits of hugging are reducing stress, relaxes muscles, increases circulation and releases endorphins in your body. Hugging relieve stress and depression by increasing levels of dopamine and serotonin. Find someone and give them a hug today. I frequently give myself hugs. Hey, don't laugh! I do feel better afterwards. 


Left Hand Community Acupuncture offers an affordable sliding scale of $40-$65. We do not ask for proof of income. You decide what you feel is fair to you and fair to us. We treat patients in a relaxed, group setting that promotes an atmosphere of healing. Caroline Adams is a Licensed 
Acupuncturist and nationally board certified. Acupuncture can help with a wide range of health
 issues including pain, stress, insomnia, arthritis, allergies, depression, headaches, fatigue, cold and flu, digestive issues, PMS, and many other health concerns.  

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