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7 Holistic Ways to Prevent Suicidal Thoughts and Depression

Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts and depression?

Acording to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, reasons for suicidal thoughts and depression are varied among individuals, but often include a wide range of mental illnesses, including anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, and bipolar disorder.  In an article titled the Connection between Chronic Pain and Suicide, it is reported “90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and potentially treatable illness including depression, anxiety, alcohol and other substance use.”

That is quite alarming.

Live Science supports this information and further reports that dealing with a suicidal person’s mental health issues can help and possibly prevent a suicide attempt or completion.  Getting a mental health diagnosis is a must in order to begin to treat the patient.  It is very important to know the difference between disorders so a proper therapy plan can be established.  While attending Counseling with a Psychologist or Licensed Counselor is a top choice in preventing suicides, there are also other modalities that can be paired with traditional counseling to enhance the healing and recovery process.

Let’s take a closer look.

Preventing Suicidal Thoughts and Depression

The key to preventing suicidal thoughts and depression with alternative methods of healing, paired with traditional counseling, is to treat the signs and symptoms of mental health issues that trigger these thoughts and feelings.  The sooner a person starts treatment, the better.  But healing is possible in everyone, no matter what the cause and no matter when their symptoms started.

While there is an argument for many more than seven holistic therapies that can improve a person’s mental well-being, the methods discussed in this article include Acupuncture, Aromatherapy, Ayurvedic Medicine, Balneotherapy, Chiropractic, Hypnotherapy and Yoga Therapy.

All of which are affordable and easy to implement into a daily routine.

1. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy sounds great … Smell a scent and feel better.

If only it were that simple the whole world would be feeling great all of the time.  There are two key words:  aroma and therapy.

Paired together they become a long-term treatment process of combining beneficial aromas with therapy.  In basic high school science we learn about the power of the sense of smell, with it being extremely more capable than the sense of taste.  It makes sense that smelling something positive can improve well-being because by using the power of smell, the brain receives the feel good message faster.  The National Institute of Health defines aromatherapy as “the therapeutic use of essential oils from plants to improve physical, spiritual and emotional well-being”.

Aromatherapy has a variety of benefits, including improving the mental well-being of a person by elevating moods and decreasing negative thoughts and feelings, even the thoughts of suicide.

This is because when a person feels happier, they are less likely to want to escape from their situation.  There are many aromas, offered as essential oils.  The National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy report that the most commonly used essential oils to relieve stress and anxiety are chamomile, sage, lavender and neroli.  Healthline describes a variety of methods to use essential oils for aromatherapy.  These include using a diffuser machine, massages using essential oils versus regular lotions, room sprays, or even taking baths with soaps and washes that include essential oils.

2. Acupuncture

The image of Acupuncture can be scary when it is mostly reported as being needles poking holes in different parts of the body.

Ouch!

How can that help?

But research has shown Acupuncture does help, in a big way.  It has been shown to improve mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and even grief.  According to Dr. Michael Reed Gach, the “Lung 1 pressure point, located three finger widths below the collarbone, is associated with relieving symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief.”  He calls it the “letting go” point and says it can release emotions, as well as tears, helping a person get rid of suppressed feelings.  Scientific American reports on a study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine which found a form of acupuncture called electro-acupuncture had positive results.

In fact, it was found that a mild electric pulse given to patients was found to be “just as effective as Prozac.”

The Journal of Psychology and Psychotherapy published the results of a study in which 443 participants who had been diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder were treated with Acupuncture.

They concluded that not only was acupuncture safe in treating people with Anxiety, but that it was found to be helpful in improving mental health problems. Even for people with a diagnosis of Bipolar, acupuncture can be a big help.  Helpguide.org claims acupuncture can help relieve stress and mania.  With this much evidence supporting the use of Acupuncture in healing mental health issues, it is worth meeting with a trained specialist.

3. Ayurvedic Medicine

The pronunciation of this treatment is most likely the hardest thing you will encounter in implementing this into a therapy plan.

This may also be one of the oldest holistic treatments practiced.  The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains that this form of treatment has been around, originating in India, for thousands of years.  It “promotes the use of herbal compounds, special diets, and other unique health practices.”Spirituality & Health suggests it is imperative we resolve emotional turmoil and conflict within ourselves.  Otherwise, these negative emotions will build up and over time, deplete our mental health, making us dysfunctional and even suicidal.

Recommendations made in using Ayurvedic Medicine include making good sleep a priority, as well as eating a plant based diet.

More can be found in this video about Ayurvedic Medicine, which explains how anxiety and stress are decreased through this treatment.  This is the all-encompassing treatment method due to its focus being on all levels of the human being.  It concentrates on both internal and external improvements by using herbs, diet, meditations, breathing techniques, massage and more.  And as Aromatherapy uses the sense of smell, Ayurvedic seems to use the sense of taste through spices and teas to help a person feel better about living.

4. Balneotherapy

Balneotherapy is generally described as bathing in mineral spring water to get rid of diseases in the body.

Yes, just like the natural hot springs that can be found from Arkansas to West Virginia to Canada.  Many believe in the healing powers of these spring waters and flock to these baths often for relief of many internal and external problems. The National Center for Biotechnology Information conducted a study to find out if Balneotherapy can help with stress and fatigue among participants.  They even went as far as comparing this type of treatment to music therapy.  What the researchers found was that of the 180 participants, Balneotherapy was found to be better at relieving stress and fatigue and improved overall mood and thinking skills. Don’t have time to travel the world looking for mineral springs for soaking?  No problem, try using Epsom salts right in your own home.

It has been known to help reduce stress and increase energy, easing mental health concerns.  Dr. Axe writes about the other numerous benefits of Epsom salts on the body as a whole.  When a person feels better, their thinking is more positive, giving them more reasons to live a good life.

5. Chiropractic

The Chiropractic method no longer involves the patient getting their back or neck “cracked” for alignment.  The entire system has evolved into a major healing practice that is becoming very popular.  With new advancements in the practice, from technology to adjustment equipment, this method is truly helping people without the use of drugs.

An article in Pediatric Child Health reports the primary purpose of chiropractic is to “improve health by adjusting the spine and using other natural means to stimulate the body’s innate recuperative power by way of the nervous system”.  Chiropractic has been found to improve mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety, ADHD and even Bipolar.  Treatment of Bipolar Disorder, among other physical ailments, was the subject of a case study dealing with a 23 year old male in the Journal of Manipulative and Therapeutic Techniques.  Using the upper cervical technique over several months, the patient reported no manic episodes and a lack of symptoms with his physical ailments also.  Because pain has been associated with suicidal ideations and attempts, it is important the person suffering find relief from this pain so they can feel hope and uplift in mood, leading to more positive thinking and positive living.

The American Chiropractic Association links biological and emotional problems of patients to suicidal ideations.  Because they are in so much pain, either mentally or physically, they cannot focus on the hope of getting better.  Chiropractic practices can help eliminate suicidal thoughts by improving the biological and emotional problems of the person being treated.  Therefore, offering them hope and the ability to see an improved lifestyle.

6. Hypnotherapy

Hypnotherapy has received a bad reputation at times with some therapists putting on circus like side shows in theaters making people behave in an embarrassing manner while they are not conscious.  Medicinal Hypnotherapy is just the opposite and can be of great help to a person suffering from mental illnesses.

The Mayo Clinic defines Medical Hypnosis as “hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration that can be used to help you gain control over undesired behaviors or to help you cope better with anxiety or pain.”  U.S. News tells the story of a 28 year old female with suicidal thoughts who was greatly helped by medical hypnosis.  Steve Mason, member of Beta Band, told his story of how medical hypnosis helped him alleviate suicidal thoughts and depression to The National Hypnotherapy Society.  There are more accounts such as these, lending valid evidence to support the idea that being hypnotized by a trained therapist over a long-term period can decrease negative feelings of depression and anxiety by helping patients open up on a deeper level to resolve problems.

7. Yoga Therapy

Stretching, bending, breathing funny may be some of the ways yoga is described by those who have yet to truly reap the therapeutic benefits.  Yes, all of that will take place during a yoga session.  However, you will pace yourself, making you more aware of the needs of your body and mind and connecting those to your spirituality.  Our spirituality can help us feel a higher sense of purpose, directing us away from suicidal thoughts and toward focusing on our purpose for life.

The International Association of Yoga Therapy defines Yoga Therapy as being able to help many areas of a person’s life:

  • Improve health
  • Improve Spirituality
  • Improve Psychological Wellness
  • Improve Coping Skills

LexiYoga.com states the World Health Organization reports over 3,000 suicides a day.  In addition, the author claims Yoga can help prevent suicide by increasing the amount of endorphins the brain releases.  Endorphins have been linked to being happy so it naturally makes sense that by participating in activities such as yoga exercises, the brain will produce more happy chemicals.

The Ohio State University reports that yoga can even help veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a mental disorder that can lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.  Amazingly, there are yoga classes currently in place at numerous Veterans Hospitals around the country to help veterans learn relaxation techniques they can implement when faced with triggers. If this is the case, all of the bending and stretching is worth a try.

Conclusion

The most important concept to remember is that how we feel psychologically or physically will affect our entire outlook on life, making it positive or negative, giving us hope or making us feel hopeless.

If we suffer from depression, we will most likely have feelings of hopelessness.  If many of our emotions are steeped in fear, it can seem overwhelming to continue in that lifestyle.  By improving mental well-being and emotional stability, our reasons for living improve.  When we feel happy, we find reasons to love life and lead a purposeful life.

The way to do this is to implement a variety of techniques, along with traditional counseling, that will improve our overall mental health.

This article was originally published by Vantage Point Recovery.