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Hyman gives one kind of deficiency--a deficiency in folic acid--as an example, explaining, "If you have folate deficiency, it is unlikely that antidepressants will even work. People with a low folate level have only a 7 percent response to treatment with antidepressants. Those with a high folate have a response rate of 44 percent. That's six times better. In medicine, if we get a 15 to 30 percent improvement we are happy; but a 600 percent improvement should be headline news." We have seen the same response over and over in our own clients. Supporting the brain with vitamins, minerals, and additional compounds in foods can influence neurotransmitters and affect mood. In addition, supplements can also result in less mental fog, less stress, and improved sleep. Finally, if an antidepressant turns out to be necessary, a well-supported brain is simply going to respond better than a malnourished brain. In other words, when it comes to treating depression, supplements simply cannot be overlooked. "Can't My Brain Get What It Needs from What I Eat?" This is a common question, and one I hear often. My answer is yes and no. Our ancestors ate plenty of fresh fruit, plants, fish, and game--a diet that very likely supplied their brains with all the nutrients they needed. As agriculture began, however, low-vitamin starches like wheat and corn became a regular part of people's diets. Nutrients in our diet continued to take a hit as advances in agriculture focused on improving crop traits like size, growth rate, and pest-resistance rather than nutrition. Plus, many modern farming techniques leave the soil depleted of important vitamins, minerals, and microbes, which results in plants with fewer nutrients. The impact? One analysis of the nutrients in a dozen vegetables found that, between 1975 and 1997, average calcium levels dropped 27 percent, iron dropped 37 percent, vitamin A dropped 21 percent, and vitamin C dropped 30 percent. Other studies have found similar declines. In fact, according to Dr. Tim Lang, a professor at London's Centre for Food Policy, "You would have to eat eight oranges today to get the same amount of vitamin A your grandparents got from a single orange.

And you would need to eat five to get the same level of iron."[3] In addition to this disturbing decline, the average American continues to gravitate toward a diet made up largely of "fake food"-- conglomerations of sugar, fat, and chemicals that take the concept of nutritional value to a new low. So let's revisit the idea of getting all the nutrients you need from what you eat. Is it possible? In theory (and probably in practice for our ancestors), the answer is yes. Is it probable given the nutritional decline in our real food, plus our obsession with fake food? No. "In the end these things matter most: how well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?" -- Gautama Buddha When it comes to meeting someone and starting a conversation, the "R" word is one of the most fundamental aspects of the process. Without rapport, you'll never be able to create a connection with someone you just met. With too much forced rapport, you come across as a bit needy. The key is to tap into the natural rapport any two adult human beings have with each other, and then pinpoint key similarities and interests that will allow you to generate additional rapport and create a closer connection. Sounds complicated, but we've already gone over a number of tips that will help you tap those connections that you may not even realize exist. If you and I met tomorrow I'd be able to immediately determine 10 things about you as a person, based solely on the combination of body language, introductions, and general attitude you display. These early indicators can sink a conversation off the bat, or they can act as a tool you can use to build rapport instantly with the people you meet. Here's how: Intelligence - Intelligence comes across in the first few words you say. The problem with this one is that the initial impression you make doesn't necessarily reflect your actual intelligence. That's why having something smart and interesting to talk about is so important. Confidence - How you stand, the timber of your voice, the eye contact you make, and the decisions you select will show just how confident you are. Intentions - Your intentions in the conversation will blaze out of you in the conversation.

This is especially true in dating situations where you are trying to convey a sense of sexual interest - your body will scream interest. Mindset - Your current mind set is an open book. If you're uncomfortable, distracted or simply not paying attention, they'll know immediately. So, get in a good mind set before you engage. Interest - Your interest in them is also very evident by the questions you ask and how observant you are. Carefully analyzing them, developing a clear idea of what you want and then sharing that will showcase your interest almost instantly. Sense of Humor - Be funny right away because it's vital to establish that sense of humor early. Adaptability - If something happens, as is often the case in a crowded environment, how do you react? If you're really interested in someone, a distraction from the bar or a friend shouldn't stop your advances. Communicativeness - Your ability to articulate and communicate a thought are not only displayed immediately, they are used to inform other things on this list such as intelligence and mind set. Focus - Your focus is completely unrelated to your mind set in that it defines how clearly defined your goals are. If you're watching other people, they know your goal is to mingle, not to create relationships. Be clear about your goal both internally and externally. Clarity - Clarity of statements and actions defines just how sure of yourself you are. The less clear you are, the less sure you seem. We all have circadian rhythms, or clocks, which are physiological processes that correspond roughly to a 24-hour cycle. External cues in the environment signal to your body that it's time to wake up and its time to sleep throughout this 24-hour cycle. Historically, the most important environmental cue was the sun--waking with the rising sun and sleeping with the setting sun. In modern society, there are a host of other things that set, or synchronize, your circadian clock. All types of daily cues have an influence.

The timing of your meals, work schedule, exercise, and TV watching can all tell your body that it's time to wake or rest. Inconsistent cues can interfere with your circadian clock, which interferes with neurohormonal events like your daily secretion of cortisol and melatonin. These are regulating hormones, so messing with them can influence levels of energy, alertness, and appetite. When disrupted, some people bounce back right away. Others don't bounce back as easily--especially if you have a family or personal history of depression or bipolar disorder, which includes the lows of depression and the highs of mania. If you have this history, the hormonal shifts and subsequent changes in energy and appetite can put you at risk to trigger a manic or depressive episode. You can work with your own circadian rhythm as you create new habits, since you will be most successful if you create a daily routine that is repetitive, and therefore, predictable. Synchronizing activities with your own 24-hour cycle will improve your mood and set you up to be resilient. This includes establishing routine times for sleeping and waking, eating, exercising, being active, and relaxing. Predictable self-care habits can get you on the path to having more moments when you feel HP or LP. So as you work on building healthy habits in this chapter, try to introduce new behaviors, or ones you temporarily retired, into your life in a consistent manner to optimize your ability to think clearly and have the physical and emotional energy to tackle your valued life goals. We all have circadian clocks, but you may have noticed that yours is set to be either an early riser--a lark or to be a night person--an owl. If you are a lark, you perform your best in the morning and so go to sleep on the early side. If you are an owl, you prefer to sleep in, perform your best later in the day, and prefer to go to bed pretty late. Lark or owl, you will serve yourself well to choose consistent times for your routines that also match the hours when your body is hitting that groove. For example, my family comes from a long line of night owls. Despite sporadic phases of morning exercise, I don't think a single one of us has ever successfully built an exercise habit before work. But when I call a family member at 9 p.m., I'm never surprised to hear the whir of a treadmill in the background. In stark contrast, my husband and his family go to swim or Jazzercise at wee hours of the morning that feel like nighttime to me. Keep this basic preference in mind as you read the following sections and think about forming your own healthy habits.

It's always best to honor your unique circadian tendencies because that will better set you up for success. There is no doubt that on a typical day you will function better if you have your basic life domains in balance, which includes sleep, exercise, eating, substances, and relaxation. But you're also busy and strapped for time. I get it. Given this reality, I draw from research on habit formation to offer ways in which these self-care behaviors can form the backbone of your day-to-day life. Light boxes are available for purchase with and without a prescription. Research says the success of light therapy depends on finding a bulb that provides a balanced spectrum of light equivalent to being outdoors. Also necessary is to have exposure to this light between twenty and thirty minutes a day.14 Omega-3 is a critical fatty acid responsible for helping nerve cell membranes function well. Research has found that omega-3 works in conjunction with the neurotransmitter serotonin, helping to regulate its distribution in the brain. Several studies indicate that supplemental omega-3 may be helpful in the management of depression. Of interest were findings using omega-3 as a supportive treatment, not as a singular intervention, which yielded the most significant decrease in depression.15 Omega-3 can be found in foods like salmon, nuts, eggs, and olive oil, just to name a few. Dietary supplements can also be used, but be mindful of the recommended dosages for optimal benefits. Low folate and vitamin B12 deficiency have been linked to depression. Studies show that depressed patients often have low levels of red-cell folate, serum folate, and vitamin B12.16 Folate can be found in leafy green vegetables and certain dried beans like black-eyed peas and lentils, as well as in fruits like oranges and bananas. Vitamin B12 can be found in seafood like snapper, shrimp, and scallops, and in fermented vegetables like miso and tofu. Just like omega-3, folate and vitamin B12 dietary supplements can be useful. St. Johns wort (SJW) is a yellow flower commonly known as Tipton's weed. The botanical extract from this plant has been used as an herbal antidepressant for over two thousand years. Studies on St John's wort, sometimes referred to in research as Hypericum perforatum, show it to be more effective than a placebo and, in several studies, more effective than common antidepressant medications in treating minor depression.