During pregnancy you often hear the advice to manage your breathing, especially during labour. But generally good breathing can also help reduce anxiety and depression.
World Health Day, celebrated on 7 April every year to mark the anniversary of the founding of WHO, provides us with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern to people all over the world.
The theme of 2017 World Health Day campaign is depression
Depression affects people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all countries. It causes mental anguish and impacts on people’s ability to carry out even the simplest everyday tasks, with sometimes devastating consequences for relationships with family and friends and the ability to earn a living. At worst, depression can lead to suicide, now the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year olds.
Yet, depression can be prevented and treated. A better understanding of what depression is, and how it can be prevented and treated, will help reduce the stigma associated with the condition, and lead to more people seeking help.
Maternal mental health
Worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression. In developing countries this is even higher, i.e. 15.6% during pregnancy and 19.8% after child birth. In severe cases mothers’ suffering might be so severe that they may even commit suicide. In addition, the affected mothers cannot function properly.
As a result, the children’s growth and development may be negatively affected as well. Maternal mental disorders are treatable. Effective interventions can be delivered even by well-trained non-specialist health providers.
Anandi’s top tips to improve a night’s sleep
Our sleep patterns and mood are closely connected and chronic insomnia may increase the risk of developing anxiety or depression. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental health disorder in the UK*.
Sleep guru, Anandi, demonstrates in her book, ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, how working with the breath as a tool can bring your whole being back into balance by soothing the nervous system and increasing serotonin levels, giving you the gift of better sleep.
- Go to bed early and avoid technology for at least one hour before retiring
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Lengthen and deepen the breath, which calms the mind
- A busy mind is never going to sleep well – a daily ritual that nurtures the soul is vital for deep sleep
- Enjoy a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Turn the lighting down in the evening
- Avoid heavy conversations before bed time
- Keep your bedroom tidy and free of clutter
- Aim for a minimum of seven hours of solid sleep per night.
Suffering with depression
After suffering with insomnia and bouts of depression for over fifteen years, Anandi cured herself of her sleep problems using an entirely natural solution which uses the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful ancient Indian healing system.
“I discovered the breath takes us from the dungeon of sleeplessness to the heavenly experience of sleeping well. Sleep is vital for repairing and rejuvenating every organ of the body, from skin to the brain and it is as vital as water and food.
“Everything looks better after a good night’s sleep. When you’re not tired, you’ll see the world differently, most likely from a positive space. Havoc is wreaked on the mind and body from sleeplessness causing irritability and stress whilst healthy sleep enhances wellbeing.”
Besides good sleep, there are multiple benefits that can arise from good breathing including general mental and emotional wellbeing, a better immune system and the feeling of being grounded and calm during stress. Working with the breath can also lower blood pressure and enables the body to be more efficient at releasing tension in muscles and internal organs.
In ‘Breathe Better, Sleep Better’, Anandi offers a proven step-by-step system to improve your sleeping pattern, soothe your nervous system and naturally increase serotonin levels using the healing power of the breath. Anandi has devoted a chapter in her book to the power of vyana vanu. The energy of vyana, if flowing freely with space to move, will enhance mood.
In Ayurvedic teaching, vyana means expansion and it is this energy that allows you to be open.
“Vyana is the world’s best antidepressant and increasing vyana will bring you a sense of joy and openness. It will make you feel full of vitality. If you are feeling low and anxious, it means you have disconnected from the universal spirit and become separate and small. Take time out to breathe. “
Over the past five years, Anandi has developed a five-step personal sleep review method to help people conquer their insomnia. This step-by-step tailored approach is based on her personal experience of Ayurvedic healing. She says, “I absolutely know it’s possible to overcome insomnia, stress and anxiety using the principles of Ayurveda, a powerful natural healing system dating back 5,000 years.” Unlike more traditional methods, it works to remove the cause of the sleep disturbance, rather than masking the problem with drugs, leading to long-term results.
More helpful tips and exercises can be found in Anandi’s book and on her website. The book offers many practical tools which can help detox the digestive system, calm the nervous system and stimulate the circulatory system.
Source* https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/statistics). (October 5 2016)