Category: Dr. Bernadette’s Blog

Everyone experiences feeling gloomy, melancholy or down––it’s normal. At times, life circumstances can be overwhelming and put you in a sad mood. But sometimes being unhappy isn’t just the blues, it is a signal of a deeper underlying issue such as depression. Depression is an intense sadness accompanied by helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness that last longer than two weeks. Don’t take it lightly, like high blood pressure and diabetes, it is a medical problem––you cannot simply wait it out.

8 Signs Your Sadness is a Sign of Depression:

  1. Sleeping too little or too much. Changes in sleep pattern can be the first clue of depression. Although you sleep for long hours, you aren’t refreshed. You are often awakened multiple times which usually causes fatigue and irritability. Sleeping may actually be an attempt to escape from problems. On the other hand, you can find yourself too troubled to fall asleep and experience many nights of wakefulness and restlessness.
  • Lack of interest in activities that were pleasurable. If you rather not hangout with friends, participate in your favorite pastimes or do hobbies which once excited you, it could be red flag that you are not just down in the dumps, but instead are depressed. Withdrawing from friends and loved ones amplifies the depression.
  • A guilty conscious. Are you constantly feeling guilty about things, even those that are not in your control? Being consumed by a guilty conscious signifies depression may be lurking. People who are depressed tend to get stuck in a cycle of excessive negative thoughts which weigh heavily on them and distort their thinking.
  • Low energy. If the low battery light seems to always be on in your life, perhaps you should check to make certain you aren’t depressed––no motivation can be a tell-tale sign. The thought process in depressed individuals is typically slower making it difficult to get even routine day-to-day tasks done.
  • Poor concentration. Are you starring at the same “thing” for hours and cannot make any progress because your thoughts are all over the place? This could be a warning sign––depression ahead. Because you are easily distracted, the ability to comprehend and remember information is affected. Poor concentration can put a burden on work, personal life and relationships leaving you feeling alienated.
  • Overeating or loss of appetite. Food can be a means of numbing emotions that appear too massive to confront. If you notice you are having a love-hate relationship with food, but you crave its comfort, perhaps you are depressed. Likewise, if you are dropping weight due to a lack of an appetite and feeling low, it also could be a cloud of depression.
  • Easily agitated. When the “normal chaos” is frustrating you more than ordinary and you frequently find yourself seconds from crying, it might be a hint that you are depressed. The fatigue, perceived stress and persistently dampened mood which are the hallmarks of depression can be keeping you on edge.
  • Suicidal thoughts. Take thoughts of hurting yourself very seriously. Seek professional help right away. There is nothing to be embarrassed about, with the appropriate intervention, you can regain hope and self-worth.

To lift your sad mood, keep a consistent sleep regimen, don’t worry about being a downer; maintain positive social contacts, increase your physical activity, shift from multi-tasking to accomplishing a single thing at a time, find something other than food to cope with your feelings, eat foods high in folic acid (spinach) and omega-3-fatty acids (salmon), avoid drugs and alcohol, practice deep belly breathing to relieve stress and schedule an appointment with your doctor. There is help for depression…you don’t have to be “exhausted from trying to be stronger than you feel.” (anonymous)

I am sure you are familiar with the phrases “be you,” “beYOUtiful,” “the real you,” “be an original” and the like. They all imply to be inspired by, but resist trying to copy others. I agree that it seems to be good advice; but, what does it really mean to be the unadulterated unedited version of you? The you which is mostly influenced by your own passion and purpose. Warning, it’s challenging. Living authentically involves a higher state of being which requires a deep connection with your inner self, soulful living.

Authentic living can be viewed as simultaneously desirable and yet unattainable. How do you live authentically in a world that capitalizes on you wanting to be anyone except you? Moreover, with everyone sharing their opinion about you, how do you even recognize if you are living your authentic life?

The best place to start is to share what authentic living isn’t. It does not hold you hostage to what you do not want and leave you questioning your ability to manifest your dreams. It is not continuous unrest and constantly feeling at odds with yourself. It is not living incapacitated by fear. Authentic living is not merely “doing,” in absence of enthusiasm, because you are good at it––or told you were. It is not establishing your life based on your families legacy if it does not align with your personal aspirations. The bottomline is authentic living does not mean to forsake yourself!

“Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close. You may occasionally dress yourself up as one of them, watch the same mindless television shows as they do, maybe even eat the same fast food sometimes. But it seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the “normal people” as they go about their automatic existences.”~Timothy Leary

Now that you know what authentic living isn’t, you may still be trying to come to terms about what it looks and feel like in your life––it’s ever-evolving. However, these seven signs are a general guide. You are living your authentic life, when…

  1. you can do it afraid––whatever “it” is.
  2. you are concerned less about the opinions of others and more about yours.
  3. you become the author of your own story including defining your success.
  4. you acknowledge that everything you need to be you is already within you.
  5. your life is enough––this does not mean you do not have ambitions, but comparisons will be a thing of the past.
  6. challenges are just pauses––regroup and get back at it.
  7. you can quickly notice inauthentic living.

When I wasn’t living my authentic life, I felt a persistent internal struggle. The life I really wanted and the life I thought I had to live was always at battle. I was mentally and spiritually exhausted. It took a lot of energy to just get out of bed and put my feet on the floor. It was as if I was unengaged and disconnected from my own life. Everything was a task. It was not until I made the conscious decision to be my authentic self that I felt alive again! My suggestion to you is to be free to wear the hairstyle you like best, the clothes that make you feel beautiful, travel to your favorite destination, go after the career which makes your spirit leap…intentionally be you!

When I discovered what it meant to be authentic, my life changed. I felt like a two-year old discovering a treasure of choices. I was unbound, liberated, and attuned to me. I no longer needed a stamp of approval to live because within my purpose, there is already permission. Happiness became tangible and peace was not extinguished by obstacles.

Embracing authenticity gives you the courage to get off the virtual merry-go-round that circles around your ideal life and awaken to vast possibilities. Research has found “authentic people are happier, more exuberant, more empathetic, and more secure. They have higher self-esteem and are more accepting of their own weaknesses.”

Each time you do not live according to your heart, you are being unfaithful to yourself.  When you drift from your true self, you and the universe are deprived of the incredible riches that can only be deposited by you. Authentic living waters the seeds planted within you and allows you to blossom into the unique person that you were born to be. Admit it. You aren’t like them. You’re not even close…” GO LIVE YOUR AUTHENTIC LIFE!

Are you lying awake counting sheep? You are in the company of millions worldwide. Not getting enough siesta time is no minute issue. Insufficient shut-eye predisposes you to heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. On the other hand, adults who sleep at least seven hours a night, experience a better sex life, improved mood, clearer thinking and more productivity. A good night sleep is as necessary to life as breathing. 

Get some Zs! Try these 7 Easy Fixes For A Better Night Sleep:

  1. Zone the bedroom for sleep and sex only. Go ahead, place a sign on the door! The bedroom has become a hangout place to do everything. It has lost its’ sacred essence. I recall awakening from my sleep because of rolling onto my laptop, cell phone or whatever work I brought to bed. Kick the office—or whatever—out of your bedroom and reclaim it as your sleep haven and for intimacy.
  2. Unplug––including the television. The best scenario is to not have a television or electronics in the bedroom, but if you must, set a specific time to turn them off.  There is no way around it, you must power down for quality rest. Electronics provide cognitive stimulation which is the opposite of what you need to sleep. Put a stop to texting, emailing, browsing social media and watching television in bed––you can’t stay connected 24/7 and get restful sleep.
  3. Keep regular hours. Turning-in and rising at random times is a set up for fatigue. Establishing a routine matters. It trains your body and reinforces its’ natural circadian rhythm––internal clock. It is very important to pick a time you can maintain even on the weekends. A regular sleep schedule is a prerequisite for a healthier happier life.
  4. Meditate day and night. Add mediation to your bedtime routine.This is fantastic way to slow things down and shift your focus from daily busyness. It calms the mind and centers your thoughts. I generally light a candle and turn on my favorite guided meditation CD. The ideal time is approximately an hour before bedtime.
  5. Set the atmosphere for sweet dreams. I read that people who doze off in rooms painted in blue sleep the longest––that’s reason enough for me to pick up a gallon of blue paint. Some other bedroom makeovers include new bedding, candles, flowers or change the wall decor. Also, adjust the lighting and temperature in the room to keep it dark and cool.
  6. Don’t do it, don’t hit the snooze. I’ll be the first to admit I would set the snooze for thirty minutes before I actually had to get out of bed. But, the sleep after it sounded wasn’t exactly peaceful because I was concerned about oversleeping. So, turn off the alarm and rise and shine all in one motion. By the way, I rarely require an alarm clock to wake up anymore; a full night’s sleep is generally all that’s needed.
  7. Close the kitchen two hours before bedtime. Eating and going to straight to bed isn’t a good idea for many reasons. And, one of them is it can keep you tossing and turning. Avoid big heavy meals late at night; instead, have a small snack like greek yogurt, a smidgen of peanut butter and toast or popcorn. It goes without saying, not to have caffeine or alcohol close to retiring for the evening. Also, if you don’t want your sleep broken by the spasming of your bladder, be mindful of drinking too much water right before heading to bed.

Quality sleep is a part of a healthy lifestyle. So, sleep or sex only in the bedroom, unplug, get on a schedule, meditate, change the ambience, stop hitting the snooze button and shut down the kitchen earlier—sleep tight.

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