I feel depressed since the holidays. My friend thinks I have something called SAD. What is this? ~

Taylor, SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a type of mild seasonal depression that can be caused by lack of sunlight during the winter. You can go online and buy a light for light therapy. Take a walk in the morning to get your melatonin production up. Take walks and exercise. Consume omega 3's. And eat fish several times a week. Download a meditation app for more support to your brain. All of these tips help depression. If you sink from a mild depressive state into a deeper depression, go to a health care professional immediately for evaluation.


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Why should I be grateful for grief and loss? ~ Jamey

Jamey, Be grateful for the kaleidoscope of experiences in your life. It may seem difficult to be grateful for loss and grief, but all sacred texts and spiritual teachers tell us there is a purpose for everything. Again, if you look to great spiritual leaders, you see they have transformed their grief into a state of grace through gratitude.


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What is major/clinical depression? ~ Janice

Janice, According to a report from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 18.8 million Americans over the age of 18 suffer from major depression. Depression is a dangerous precursor to many diseases and conditions. Suicide, linked to depression, is the third leading cause of death in 10- to 24-year olds. A study by Dr. Shamash Sonawalla of Massachusetts General Hospital surveyed college students and showed that half the students surveyed qualified as having major depression. Depression and psychological diseases are increasing enormously on college campuses as well as in the general public.


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How common is chronic pain? ~ Hillary

Hillary, A survey done by USA Today/ABC News/Stanford University indicates that four in ten adults say they suffer from chronic pain. Dr. Doris K. Cope, director of the Pain Medicine Division at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, recently said, "Ancient people saw pain more accurately, pain not only as a physical condition but as an emotional and a spiritual condition. They would work with the entire patient." Chronic pain costs an estimated $100 billion a year in medical costs, lost working days, and workers compensation.


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What is guilt? ~ Elliott

Elliott, Guilt is feeling not worthy. Guilt is toxic, and I have worked with many individuals whose lives have been lost to guilt. Guilt is living your life looking in the rear-view mirror. This is no way to live. The past is over and done. Guilt is like a cancer that eats away at your mental, physical and spiritual health.


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What is hate? ~ Kathryn

Kathryn, Hate is violence within you that will inevitably seep into every facet of your life. No seeds of happiness can grow in hate. If you are experiencing hate I suggest you get help from a counselor or clergy person. Hate is lethal to the mind, body, and soul. When you choose to hate someone, that person controls your life. You have surrendered your power to that individual or group. Hate stops you from producing the loving hormones you need to heal. Hate paralyzes your life. Hate is separation from all of life.


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Can exercise help relieve depression? ~ Daniel

Daniel, Researchers at Duke University showed that regular exercise relieves major depression just as effectively as antidepressant medication. Dr. James Blumenthal's research shows that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week is sufficient for reducing the symptoms of depression. In his study of 10 months, exercise was a significant predictor of depression levels. People who engaged in 50 minutes of exercise a week had a 50 percent decrease in the likelihood of being depressed. Exercise releases "happy chemicals" into the body such as endorphins and serotonin. Exercise also helps regulate dopamine production, the neurotransmitter that helps cells communicate with each other.


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My grandmother used to give me advice when I was sad or stressed. She told me that dancing makes us feel better. She said do it for a few minutes and it always helped. She is gone now but I still turn up the music and dance when I am down and I really do feel better. Is this all psychological? ~ Debbie

Janice, Yes, dancing makes us feel better. This happens due to the result that dancing has in our bodies. It causes a psychological and physiological effect on your mind and body. For example, when you dance it rushes oxygen to the brain, produces happy feeling endorphins and reduces the production of stress hormones. Dancing is moving your entire body and this affects your mind, body and soul. So as a result, dancing makes us feel better.


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