HOW TO BOOST HAPPINESS USING ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES: 3 PROVEN WAYS

Last week I was teaching an Intensive Lifestyle class and one of my participants asked me a great question.

She asked:

 “I want to make sure I am doing everything I can to prevent anxiety and depression. I exercise five times a week and try to eat right. What other natural things can I do to prevent depression and anxiety?

This is a question I get a lot. And in the spirit of our happiness series, I am here to answer.

Just to recap from last week, the biggest detractors from happiness are depression and anxiety. So I am going to share 3 alternative therapies that are proven to prevent depression and anxiety.

You may be concerned with the cost and effectiveness of alternative therapies. I completely sympathize your concern.

That is why I am only offering alternative therapies that are proven (and I share the links to the medical articles that show the support) and affordable. In fact, two of the three therapies I share can be obtained for FREE.

THREE ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES PROVEN TO BOOST HAPPINESS

1. Music Therapy

Music therapy has solid evidence to help anxiety and depression

Music therapy is the use of music to influence physical, emotional, cognitive, and social wellbeing and quality of life. It can include listening to music or performing music.

Music therapy is shown to improve symptoms of anxiety and stress. Furthermore, music can enhance mood and induce relaxation.


The best type of music for depression and anxiety is still being determined.

Research suggests that music familiar to your culture is the most helpful for anxiety.

Classical music has been found to be relaxing and comforting. Rock music, on the other hand, may result in stress.

Interestingly, both calming and stimulating music may improve pain tolerance.

Music therapy is theorized to work by reducing heart rate, blood pressure, and the release of stress hormones. See this and this article for more information.

Music therapy is considered to be safe.

Multiple clinical studies have used music therapy without side effects.

2. Light therapy

Light therapy is shown to help with depression.

Light therapy (or phototherapy) is the use of various wavelengths of light to produce a therapeutic effect. It can use lasers, LEDs, fluorescent lamps, and bright, full-spectrum light.

You may have heard of using light boxes to help with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a depressive condition related to changes in the seasons. There is quite a bit of evidence to support light therapy for SAD. In fact, light therapy may be as effective as using traditional antidepressants.

You may not know light therapy is also useful for non-seasonal depression.

Bright light therapy has been shown to decrease depressive symptoms in individuals with non-seasonal depression.

To help with non-seasonal depression, white light (versus yellow or red) appears to have the most evidence.

Studies show that durations as short as 2 to 4 hours per day improves symptoms.

3. Yoga

Yoga decreases depressive symptoms in children and adults.

Yoga is a mental, physical, and spiritual practice that originated in India thousands of years ago.

Yoga’s popularity has increased significantly in Western cultures over the last several decades.

Research shows yoga improves depressive symptoms in individuals that are using antidepressant medicine and those that are NOT using antidepressant medicines.

Yoga works by improving blood pressure, blood sugar, stress, and anxiety levels.

These are all modalities that appear to improve depression and anxiety.

Yoga appears to be safe in most individuals.
Aggressive forms of yoga or yoga in highly heated environments may not be safe, especially for beginners, older adults, and those that are pregnant. It is best to practice yoga under the supervision of a certified instructor.

Several different types of yoga decrease depression and anxiety.

Studies show:

  • Sudarshan Kriya Yoga,
  • hatha yoga, and
  • sahaj yoga

decrease depressive symptoms and anxiety.

Boosting Happiness with Alternative Therapies

Happiness is important to us all and we know the main detractors from happiness in the Unites States are depression and anxiety.

The good news is there are alternative therapies proven to PREVENT depression and anxiety. Music therapy, light therapy, and yoga are affordable options that help.

Your Turn

What happiness hack will you try this week? I encourage you to pick one (or all three) to help keep depression and anxiety at bay.

Loved this post? Then share it with a friend!

Are you looking for more information on happiness? Read parts 1 and 2 of the happiness series and be on the lookout for part 4.

When Pills Don’t Work: Using Alternative Therapy for Drug Resistant Ailments

Change of Plans

I had something entirely different planned for this week.

But then I received notice of something I feel compelled to share with you.

In the past when I’ve published articles, I haven’t promoted them on A Better Way Wellness. At times it was because they didn’t always directly apply to the topics we discuss here. Other times it was out of fear of melding my academic life with my passion for holistic wellness. And because of my discomfort with self-promotion.

After the incredible, kind, and supportive response from last week’s confession post (thank you!), I’ve decided to leave fear behind and share everything I can to help you make the most informed choices about wellness.

So here we go!

Evidence-Based Article on Alternative Therapies

Yesterday, I had an article published in Frontiers in Medicine that was in the same vein as my (vulnerable) confession post last week.

And I want to share this article with each and every one of you.

Why?

Because the article highlights solid scientific evidence to support the use of alternative therapies in treating conditions when drugs have failed.  Yoga, diet, probiotics, folic acid, and even music therapy have helped patients with drug-resistant ailments such as depression, pain, and epilepsy.

So if you want to learn more about what to do when pills don’t work, please read the short commentary I co-authored in Frontiers in Medicine. It’s available free at: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fmed.2017.00037/full.

Please Share

If you find the article interesting or useful, please share with friends, family, or on social media. My wonderful co-authors (Sarah Elizabeth Levitt and Grzegorz Bulaj, two bright and accomplished professionals and researchers) and I want our message to spread as far as possible.

Thank you for your support and sending you good vibes for the week,
Skye

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