The blues in the spring

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Spring is the well-known season for the reappearance of sunnier days, happier moments and a better mood. So it is the time when flowers start to bloom and nature welcomes new species. A scenario of this character is delightful for many individuals but there’s a significant number of people who dramatically suffer from this climate change.

Anxiety and depression have sprung

In fact, at this time of year, the rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disturbance and suicide are greater.

Interestingly, there’s a phenomenon called summertime depression, which means people start to get sad when spring arrives. There are also people suffering from seasonal affective disorder who see their symptoms go downhill with warmer temperatures and brighter days – even if this disorder is typically associated with winter.

Social events in this season may not help: “seeing cheery people all around you is a constant reminder that others are having a good time when you aren’t”, says Michelle Riba, MD, professor and associate director of the University of Michigan Comprehensive Depression Center. She alerts as well for the fact that social influences and channels like Facebook and Instagram – where people like to show their vacations and that they having a wonderful time – can aggravate the symptoms related with depression.

Nature mixing with our feelings

Spring and depression could be allied due to one component: ragweed pollen. As stated in a study published by the National Institutes of Health, the symptoms before described, happen especially in people who suffer from allergic rhinitis. The rate of allergy is also greater in patients with depression.

In accordance with this research, “it is possible that sensitization and exposure to aeroallergens, which peak in spring, may be conducive to seasonal exacerbation of suicide risk factors such as anxiety, depression, hostility/aggression, and sleep disturbance.”

It is not all about sadness

Depression is wrongly understood as the synonym of sadness. In truth, sadness is an adaptive emotion in response to a significant loss and alert us for something that it’s not right and need attention. It is an essential emotion to experience the painful moments in our lives, nevertheless, depressed people tend to run away from sad feelings and try to hide them.

Depression is a more complex condition, it is characterized by an extended sadness and disinterest for life. Normally, depressed people abandon activities that previously were pleasant, and find difficult to carry out even very simple occurrences. Depression can cause a huge and persistent tiredness, lack of energy, insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness) and loss or increased appetite. These symptoms act like a snowball making people feel useless and with low self-esteem.

So, what can we do?

Mindfulness, meditation, hypnosis and self-hypnosis are techniques that have been used by some professionals to deal with their patients’ depression. Studies keep demonstrating that exercise can be compared with an anti-depressive and permits to boost energy, diminish fatigue, enhance cell growth and neurotransmitters linked to humour and endorphins, reduce stress and relieve muscle tension – which is very helpful to combat depression.

However, it is important to look for professional treatment especially if you realize that you are experiencing these symptoms for at least two weeks.

Medical Port works with Portuguese and English speaking specialists in depression, burnout and sleep problems. Don’t hesitate in calling us if you are feeling blue this spring.

Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school

Sleep, eating habits and motivation are essential for a productive school year. Start implementing good practices from the beginning. We give you some advice coming from our partner, Hospital Lusíadas.

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Sleep

A good night of sleep is essential. A disturbed sleep can result in difficulties in keeping focus, memory loss and tiredness. The ability to store information during a class will be reduced. Additionally, Teresa Moreno, neuropediatrician from Hospital Lusíadas Lisboa, explains that besides resting, sleep plays an important role in strengthening the immune system, in the hormones responsible for the growing, and even in the memory, to mention a few. Lack of sleep is harmful at every age, but even worse during childhood.

Electronic Devices

Studies indicate that devices like tablets, smartphones and such can be more harmful than tv. Children who have access to tablets or smartphones in the bedroom tend to sleep less 21 minutes every night than those who don’t.

Eating

Eating habits of children require a constant care. Meals should be organized according to preferences, school schedule and extra activities like sports. Planning meals ahead will help you make healthier choices.

Meals should include ingredients from the different food groups, with an emphasis on vegetables. Breaks between meals should be no longer than 3 hours. Snacks are important to keep the energy levels and help in the concentration, by giving a feeling of satiation. And don’t forget to include plenty of water in your kids lunchbox!

Studying and motivation

The studying area should be luminous, well ventilated, clean and without distractions or noises. A weekly studying plan is recommended. Parents should demonstrate interest in their kids’ studies and be part of it. They can ask the children to explain what they learned in a creative way, and what was the most interesting topic. Compliments and encouraging words should be used but must be sincere and related to the activity they are doing.

If your children are having trouble with motivation and focusing, contact us to arrange a consultation with within a prestigious psychology clinic

Sources (in Portuguese): Eating    Sleeping    Motivation

 

 

5 health benefits of mindfulness

Mindfulness meditation refers to the ability that we have of being in the here and now, completely aware of everything we are experiencing both inside ourselves and around us. Training your mind to be aware can provide several benefits for your health and your life in general.

Here are 5 benefits from practicing mindfulness meditation:

Be more focused

Mindfulness is about here and now. Is about focusing in the present and to evaluate it looking for positive outcomes. One of the ways to start practicing mindfulness is to focus on one task at the time. Focus solely on what you are doing and how you are doing it, learn and evaluate all the steps. And achieve a greater focus on everything you do.

Reduce stress

By becoming more aware of your own thoughts and knowing how to control them, you can reduce anxiety. People often get stressed when they feel they aren’t in control of things. So, controlling your mind and direct it towards positive thoughts can help reduce stress.

Make better decisions

After a mindfulness training you will have a choice to stop reacting automatically, give yourself time to think, know how to focus your attention and to remove the negative thoughts. This will lead to better decision-making, as your mind will allow you to take a pause and choose how you react.

Sleep better

Mediation is also known for relaxation, which can lead people to get to sleep quicker and sleep better. With the current practice of mindfulness it is possible to become more aware of the surroundings and to be able to relax and fall asleep faster and sleep better.

Become physically healthier

Recent studies have shown the benefits of mindfulness can be seen at the physical health level like treating heart disease, lower blood pressure or reduce chronic pain. Aligning your mind and your body to achieve a positive outcome can be a very powerful tool.

Learn more about Mindfulness here.

Medical Port can help you start with your Mindfulness practicing with the help of trained and skilled psychologists. Learn more about our Mindfulness program here.

Improve your health and your life with mindfulness techniques

Mindfulness refers to the ability that we have of being in the here and now, completely aware of everything we are experiencing both inside ourselves and around us. We develop this attitude by deliberately choosing to focus on the things that we usually do not pay attention to.

Mindfulness is being advocated by personalities from all the spheres of the society around the world: physicians, celebrities, politicians, sports players and C-level managers. Also referred as meditation, this technique aims to improve people’s lives by becoming more aware of the world around them, more focused, and to make better decisions everyday.

On the long term, mindfulness practice will foster the development of brain areas responsible for the integration of emotion and thought, as well as for self-awareness. These changes will help you perform better at decision making and dealing with emotional challenges.

Through systematic practice of mindfulness you will also be able to strengthen and develop new self-regulating and control strategies as you will learn how to relax and simultaneously be aware of what might be disturbing you, without losing sight of what really matters to you at any time.

Mindfulness can improve your life by: changing the way your brain works, teaching it a whole new way of functioning with more clarity, a more relaxed attention and a better control over your behavior and your personal choices.

Learning how to practice mindfulness can be hard since most people are not used to enter in the state of meditation, but these kinds of techniques can be taught with the help of professionals. Medical Port partnered with Oficina da Piscologia and developed special mindfulness programs that help you achieve the results you need in your life. Whether it is to lose weight, be more focused at work, sleep better or have a healthier lifestyle. Learn more about our mindfulness program here.