Healing From Depression. The 6 Proven, Non-Medication Ways To Strengthen the Brain and Body Against Depression (We Should All Be Doing This!)

Depression steals people. So far, despite the colossal investment of resources, there is still no reliably effective treatment. What we know for sure is that antidepressants just aren’t working. According to Dr Stephen Ilardi, respected psychologist, university professor and author of ‘The Depression Cure: The 6-Step Program to Beat Depression Without Drugs’, antidepressants only have about a 50% success rate. Out of the people who do find relief, half of them will relapse, taking the actual recovery rate to 25%. Then there are the side effects, such as emotional blunting, weight gain and sexual dysfunction.

When antidepressants fail to deliver, the hopelessness that lies at the heart of depression becomes even more brutal. If we could immunise ourselves and the people we love against depression, we’d be lining up. There is no immunisation, but a growing body of research is finding that there are ways to protect ourselves from depression and alleviate any existing symptoms, particularly for mild to moderate depression.

It’s about certain lifestyle factors – six of them – and the difference they can make to each of us, depressed or otherwise, is phenomenal. The claims may sound extravagant, but science is proving them over and over. The evidence is too compelling for us not to take notice. 

The Depression Epidemic: Our Stone Age Brains

There is an undeniable connection between lifestyle and depression. A modern lifestyle is making us sick. The more modern a society, and the more removed it is from the primitive hunter-gatherer way of life, the higher its rate of depression. Our world has changed phenomenally and our lifestyles have changed along with it, but our brains have hardly changed at all. They remain remarkably similar to the ones that powered people in the Stone Age when sleep was abundant, food was nutritious, and people wandered in groups, constantly on the move in the sunshine.

Our Stone Age brains just weren’t designed to handle the sedentary, isolated, indoor, sleep-deprived, fast-food-laden, stressed-out pace of twenty-first-century life.-Dr Stephen Ilardi

Our brains are beautifully crafted to support Stone Age bodies that live Stone Age lives. When Stone Age brains are forced to live a modern lifestyle, the effect can be devastating. The brain and the body become depleted of the very things that have been fuelling them for thousands of years before now.

In the parts of the world where hunter-gatherer tribes lead similar lives to their Stone Age ancestors, their levels of depression are almost zero. They get plenty of sleep, physical activity and sunlight. They have plenty of distractions to keep them from being trapped in their heads by endless negative thoughts, they have a diet that is rich in omega-3, and their social connectivity is vast. According to Ilardi, these have a much more powerful effect on the brain than any medication.

How Can We Keep Our Stone Age Brain Happy?

Brains can change, and we have the capacity to change them. The key is finding the most effective ways to do that. Enter neuroscience. The chemistry of our brain is very responsive to what we do – for better or worse. Depending on the choices we make, we can deplete it or enrich it.

In preliminary clinical trials comparing the effect of lifestyle changes against antidepressants, researchers found that lifestyle choices brought about a reduction in depressive symptoms almost three times that experienced by the antidepressant group. There are six primary lifestyle factors that have been proven to protect the brain against depression and reduce depressive symptoms and Ilardi details them in his book, The Depression Cure. Interestingly, these lifestyle factors are remarkably close to the way we would have been doing things had we been living in the Stone Age.

  1. What we eat. Let it be plenty of omega-3.

    Omega-3 fatty acids are vital for the construction of brain cells and the insulation of nerve fibers. Many of the fat molecules needed by the brain are made by the body, but there are some that can only be drawn from our diet. Some of the best sources are fish (such as salmon), wild game, grass-fed beef, nuts, seeds, and leafy vegetables. It’s no co-incidence then, that Stone Age people consumed five to ten times more omega-3 fat than we do. It’s also no co-incidence that the lowest rates of depression are found in countries with the highest levels of omega-3 in their diets. Plenty of research has confirmed a link between omega-3 and depression – people with depression have lower levels of omega-3 and consuming omega-3 reduces the symptoms of depression.

    Omega-3 does beautiful things to the brain – we know that – but there is something we are eating more and more of, that is hurting it – sugar. (I know. That sort of ruined my day too.) Sugar is so addictive – it lights up the brains reward circuitry in a similar way to cocaine. The problem is that it activates the release of powerful inflammatory hormones that causes all sorts of trouble in the brain. Sugar also suppresses the activity of BDNF, a growth hormone that is vital for the health and happy firing of neurons in the brain. People with depression have critically low levels of BDNF.

     What to do:
    The greatest benefit is to be found in omega-3 rich in eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), specifically omega-3 comprised of at least 60% EPA. This type of omega-3 is found in fish and shellfish. Ilardi suggests 1500mg of omega-3 daily (in the form of fish oil capsules), with a multivitamin and an antioxidant, such as 500mg vitamin C. Check with a pharmacist or doctor if you have any doubts or questions.

  2. What we think about.

    Thoughts influence the brain. A proven risk factor for depression is rumination – dwelling on negative thoughts over and over. Rumination causes physical changes in the brain. When we keep circling around negative thoughts, the brain’s stress circuitry steps up. Cortisol (the stress hormone) attacks the neurons in the hippocampus, which is where memories and emotions are dealt with. People with depression have been shown to have a smaller hippocampus, one of the effects of ruminative stress on the brain.

    What to do:
    The greatest risk factor for rumination is spending time alone. Being with people or doing an activity are powerful ways to break up a negative thought cycle. Depression is exhausting though, and sometimes being with people will be the last thing a depressed person feels like. Just know that it makes a difference – a big one. If depression has you in its clutches, it’s likely that you will have trouble finding the joy in anything. If that’s the case, think about what you used to enjoy and force yourself to do it. Think of it like medicine or brushing your teeth – it’s just something you have to do. It will be worth it. Interrupting rumination by ‘doing’ is called behavioural activation. It has been proven to be as effective as antidepressants and more effective than cognitive therapy in alleviating the symptoms of depression. Its healing power doesn’t end there. Behavioural activation has been shown to prevent relapse over a two year period as effectively as antidepressants or cognitive therapy.

  3. People time. Spend it with the ones who matter.

    According to Ilardi, when someone is depressed the brain mistakenly interprets that pain as an infection. It then tries to protect the person by sending a message for them to isolate themselves until the pain goes away. The effects of this can be catastrophic because isolation encourages toxic rumination. Human contact is powerful. It can ease the symptoms of depression, and protect against them.  

    What to do. 
    Spend regular time with people who care about you. If your tribe is looking a bit sparse, force yourself to join a group – anything where there are people – a book club, an art group, an exercise group, a drama group … anything. You might not feel like it but it will make a difference. People were meant to be with people. Just make sure they are people who deserve you.

  4. What we do. Exercise.

    Exercise changes the brain and is one of the most under-utilised anti-depressants. Our brains were never meant for sedentary lifestyles. Whenever we are active, key neurochemicals (including serotonin, the neurochemical targeted by antidepressants) set to work throughout the brain, elevating mood, motivation and energy levels. Exercise also elevates the brain’s production of BDNF, the key growth hormone we talked about earlier. During depression levels of BDNF plummet and cause the brain to shrink over time, making learning and memory more difficult. Exercise reverses this. Research that compared the effect of a popular anti-depressant (Zoloft) with the effect of exercise on depression found that 30 minutes of brisk walking 3 times per week was every bit as effective as the medication. Exercise also seemed to have a protective function that the antidepressants seemed to lack. Twelve months after the study, the participants who kept exercising were more likely to have kept their depression at bay. Medication didn’t seem to show this effect. 

    Exercise is medicine … It enhances brain function as powerfully as any medication.Dr Stephen Ilardi

    What to do.
    Try for at least 30 minutes of brisk exercise three times a week, but of course, if you can do more, go for it. Anything that gets your heart beating is perfect – a hurried walk, running, dancing, bike-riding, swimming – anything. It doesn’t have to be graceful or strong or beautiful to watch – it just has to be active.

  5. Get plenty of safe sunlight

    Sunlight sets off an avalanche of activity in our brain. It does this through receptors in the retina that are connected to the circuitry deep inside the brain that takes care of our body-clock. These are circuits that look after sleep, appetite and arousal. For millions of people, when the days become short the lack of sunlight unleashes chaos in our sunlight-loving brains. This can cause seasonal affective disorder (‘SAD’) which is debilitating and painful, and remarkably, up to 30% of us can show symptoms. SAD can happen to anyone who is chronically deprived of sunlight, because of the impact on serotonin. The power of sunlight isn’t only protective. It also has a remarkable capacity to heal the symptoms of depression. Research has found that light therapy is an effective, stand-alone treatment for depression, having an effect similar to most antidepressant medications.

    What to do.

    Try for 15-30 minutes of safe sunlight each morning. If it’s not easy to get some rays, try a lightbox, which is able to simulate the effect of sunlight on the brain and create the same protection against depression.

  6. Pillow time. Blissful, restful abundant pillow time.

    Yes. I know you know this one, but despite knowing how important sleep is, so many of us remain chronically sleep-starved. We need at least eight hours – as eight hours every single day. Sleep is like a superpower. It really is that good and that important to mood and mental health.

    Disrupted sleep is one of the most potent triggers of depression, and there’s evidence that most episodes of mood disorder are preceded by at least several weeks of sub-par slumber. -Dr Stephen Ilardi

What to do.
Aim for at least eight hours every night. Set your bedroom up so it’s conducive to restful sleep. Make sure it’s dark, minimise the light from appliances and iThings as much as you can. If you struggle to fall asleep, try a warm shower before bed and spray lavender into the room before you settle. 

But remember …

If you are already on medication, it is critical that you don’t stop it suddenly. Coming off anti-depressants should always be done in close consultation with a doctor to avoid withdrawal symptoms (such as a worsening of depression) that can happen when medication is stopped too quickly. Sometimes, particularly for more severe depression, medication is important to bring relief to symptoms but again, they won’t work for everyone. When medication does bring relief, using the lifestyle factors in conjunction with medication is a way to potentially strengthen mental and physical health even further.

Depression doesn’t always happen in isolation and can sometimes be triggered by medical conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, thyroid disorder, heart disease, chronic infection and hormonal imbalance – to name a few. In these cases, it will be hard to shift the depression until the underlying medical issues are dealt with.

Depression can also come about in response to other medication, but your doctor will be able to support you on this.

And finally ….

The six lifestyle choices are something that will make a difference for all of us, not just those with depression. We were born to thrive and for that, we need to take our cue from our Stone Age relatives. They were the pioneers of the human brain and their lifestyle was perfect for making it thrive. Our circumstances have changed – a lot. We no longer need to wander the sunny plains in search of food, and we don’t snuggle up with a tribe of relatives in front of a campfire every night, but our brains have stayed remarkably unchanged.

The human brain still craves the things that were ‘everyday’ in the Stone Age. We don’t want to go back to scouring the land for food, fighting wild animals and living with a tribe of relatives, and we don’t have to. Careful and consistent research has isolated the parts we need to keep, and the parts we can leave thousands of years behind us. If we tweak the way we live, we will see a profound difference – on our quality of life, our mood, our physical and mental health, our relationships and our lives. 



full of good common sense information. Taking us back to the source and how our ancestors lived . Diet exercise and avoiding isolation. Such useful tips making you aware that you have to help yourself. No pill will do that without your involvement in healing yourself by understanding what your brain needs
Thank you


This is a good, high quality, informative article. It goes beyond purely medicalizing depression and addresses the fact that our lives are far different from what we are biologically accustomed to and that there are some parts of our lives that we may need to give more attention. Thank you!

Jason Jones

I liked the post you have shared. The post nicely deals to the various models, side effects, root causes of depression and anxiety and also describe how one can tackle this awful disease. Thanks for sharing this kind of useful article.

Mark M

I really appreciate your tip on eating a lot of leafy vegetables to help prevent depression. My daughter told me that she has been feeling depressed for the past couple of weeks because of her schooling. I will be sure to buy more leafy vegetables for our daughter so she feels better!

Karen Young

Green leafy vegetables won’t necessarily cure her, but it is important that her brain and body are strengthened as much as possible. Sleep is vital, as is gut health, exercise and mindfulness. If you start to get really concerned, or if it feels as though she is getting worse or feeling so helpless that it is difficult for her to do any of these things, it might be worth speaking to a doctor. Whatever happens though, these are really powerful ways to strengthen the brain and body and to help protect mental health. Love and strength to your daughter.


Great article, but i disagree with the first point of stone age brains.
Since we have gradually evolved from stone age to modern age over thousands of years not in a few days.

So what I mean to say is that our brains must have also evolved during that process and should be capable to handle the new situations posed by the modern age.

Otherwise a nice article!

Karen Young

Great point, but our brains still need the same things our stone-age brains needed – connection, healthy food, exercise, sunlight etc. These were the same things our grandparents generation were also doing plenty of, so there has really been no need for our brains to ‘evolve’ in any other way.


I had a major psychotic breakdown.
And was wondering what in can try to overcome this..
I feel absolutly nothing of emotions.
No support from people in used to hangout with few years ago

Really hard to live everyday..

Anyone some suggestions?


Thank you so much for this article! I have been dealing with depression-like symptoms for some time now and the more I learn (from my therapist, psychiatrist, and through observing my own habits) the more that I believe this article is golden. While a lot of people with depression do benefit from medication, I think everyone should try to adjust their lifestyle so they can get maximize their healing. Thank you!


I loved this article! But is there anything you know about gaining the motivation to exercise or gaining the motivation to eat healthier, or simply gaining motivation in general? Thank you so much!

Karen Young

Rather than focussing on the end result, start with small goals that will be easier achieve. The more you achieve, the more motivated you’ll be. There’s no easy one for this one – I wish there was. It’s really just a matter of starting. With exercise, rather than deciding to go for a walk, just decide to put your exercise gear on and then see what happens. Then, decide to walk to the end of the street and see what happens. Once you’ve started, whether that’s putting your shoes on, eating healthy for one day, you’ll find you’ll gain momentum.


Thank you. This makes so much sense. I hardly ever come in contact with people – just maybe twice a week. I’m just a SAHM and grad student. Kinda gets you down when you don’t have a social life at all. This has been going on for 10 years. Well, now I know . . . looking forward to getting a job some day.


I appreciate what you do. I really do. But what if I try to do as you said but my “natural” self comes back again? This is not the first time I try to rid myself of depression. So what can I do to be like “okay, time o change this” ?

Karen Young

Elodie, it’s one step at a time. Don’t wait for yourself to feel ‘ready’ to change things. Just start with one small change, and be open to the possibility that it will work. Your mind is powerful, so you need to bring it on board. Perhaps start with going for a walk everyday, or making sure you get at least 8 hours sleep, or being social at least once a week – whatever feels okay to start with. If you are really struggling, you might need outside support from a therapist – and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.


3 years of major depression and anxiety. No meds helping me. Pretty much disabled. I try and walk everyday. Not helping. I isolate and ruminate. Help

Karen - Hey Sigmund

Michele have you had your medication assessed by a doctor? Sometimes amounts need to be adjusted, or a different type of anti-depressant might need to be prescribed. Not all anti-depressants will work for all people, which is why there sometimes needs to be a bit of experimenting (always with a doctor guiding you) to see what works best. If you are looking for other lifestyle things to try, have you tried mindfulness? It changes the structure and function of the brain in ways that can help to protect it against anxiey. Here is some information about that https://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-depression-meditation-exercise/. If you are looking for a way to start practicing mindfulness, the free Smiling Mind app is a great way to do this.

Margaret Donovan

Thank you so much for that article.I really struggle with depression and meds do not help.I am a nurse and got sick 1990@and needed to stop work.My major problem is being lonely so have started walking and am starting an arthritis water class.Praying that will help.

Karen - Hey Sigmund

I’m praying for you too Margaret. I hope you’re able to find comfort from your depression soon. It sounds like you’ve made some healthy changes. Keep doing them, and be patient – the exercise and company will be doing good things for you, even if you don’t see the change straight away. If your symptoms have been there for a while, it can take a while to turn them around. The main thing is not to give up and to keep going. I wish you all the best.

Jasmin Beck

This is the article I have been waiting for.
Thank you so much as meds have always, for me, had unbelievable side -effects .
Fortunately my current psychiatrist is tending towards this, but we both know that if I have an acute episode of bi-polar, it will necessitate medication and or hospitalization.
Please keep your fingers crossed for me, as I will for you, as the last thing I want is yet another stint in a psych hospital or more meds.
I am passing these articles on to my doctors; social worker and a special friend. They are learning so much, just as I am.


Thank You Karen so much these articles are very helpful and motivational.
God Bless you for all you do!!!!!


I have had medium to major depression for most of my life. The past 10 years, more major. I’ve had two hospitalizations, have tried every med, meditation (seems to make it worse), excersise at least 4 times a week not including the obsessive cleaning every day, take tons of vitamens, socialize, you name it. I cannot seem to stop ruminating. I can feel the depression most of the time and now nightly nightmares that make it even more painful. Any suggestions?


My mom sent this to me and I’m ever so happy I took the time to read it. A lot of these steps were lifestyle choices I’ve heard of time and time again, and I appreciated the reminder. Especially omega 3 and the sunlight. I just moved my omega 3 liquid to a spot where it stares me in the face every morning. What I found most interesting about this article was our brains climatic similarity to our stone age relatives. I personally find modern society encourages sitting at home alone and using our tech devices as a means to *socialize*. Although technology is an amazing invention, Facebook and Twitter can be such a negative thing for a person who suffers from depression and encourages the negative thinking you spoke about. I find the simpler things In life are things we desperately need to prove our existence worthwhile. Cooking a meal, having a good chat and going for a walk. I’ve suffered for a long time but the biggest thing I’ve learned is when your feeling awful and the negative thoughts are all consuming , kindly yet off your rear and do something. Something that makes you feel good. Something that makes you feel loved. Sorry for the novel, but was that inspired by the article and the responses, that I felt inclined to pour out my feelings. Thank you so much

Hey Sigmund

Meggi I love that you have shared this! It sounds as though you have intuitively found the things that work for you. There’s a really good reason they work.

Sue Murray-Wilson

This article has really helped clarify for me what works best to keep the light and energy up. Thank you from the bottom of my heart…I so nheeded to read this.


Great article, thank you for sharing this information. How can I effectively communicate and encourage my 12 year old son to develop these habits?

Hey Sigmund

Oh I know how tricky this part can be! Explain to your son that he can change his brain and make it stronger. This can be a really powerful thing that a lot of kids (and adults) don’t realise. Then, explain over a few different conversations (you don’t want to bombard him with information) the things that will make a difference. Talk about fish (particularly salmon) as brain food and get him involved with cooking it. Explain how when he sleeps, his brain works on making his memories and the things he has learned stronger, then have some rules around sleep – bedtime and when devices go off. There will come a point where you won’t have a lot of control over his sleep timing because his body clock will be different, and also you might find that being awake later at night will become important if it’s when he studies better. When he goes to bed, make sure he isn’t tempted to look at a phone, iPad or computer from bed – the light from these devices can interfere with the hormones that look after his sleep timing, making it harder for him to fall asleep. In relation to exercise, talk to him about what might be fun for him. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as he is moving and being active, whether it’s kicking a ball, walking a dog, riding a bike, indoor rock climbing – anything. As much as you can, get him involved in finding ways to do these things. Above everything though, the most important thing to do is to model these things, so make sure you’re doing all of these things as much as you can. As he gets older, he will have more of a mind of his own on these things, which is very normal. Do what you can, and then leave it to him. He might not take everything on straight away and that’s completely okay. If he grows up watching the way you do these things, and if you are open to hearing from him the ways that would work best for him (in terms of exercise, eating etc) then you’re definitely on the right track.

Susan Gisella Ilona Barr

Very interesting reading. Thank you for the great articles, especially on depression and natural ways to manage depression. It would also be interesting to see how meditation, and transcendental meditation in the mix of the healthy therapeutic lifestyle, would have on the condition. I would love to see the results. Thank you for the great reading! Suzy!

Hey Sigmund

You’re so welcome Suzy. I’m not sure about transcental meditation, but there has been a lot of research attesting to the the effectiveness of mindfulness on the symptoms of depression, particularly that in the mild to moderate range. Here is one study that found mindfulness was a way to prevent relapse in depression https://www.heysigmund.com/mindfulness-as-effective-as-medication-in-preventing-relapse-in-depression/. There is a lot of research happening around depression and mindfulness meditation in particular, so it will be really interesting to see where it leads.

TT At touch

I think the writer covered it all except meditation. Many people shun radical acceptance concepts, traditional eastern yoga (not the exercise crap we have here), awareness, consciousness , spiritality, respecting peace and that which is beyond our knowledge, And also treating other potential causes such as ADD or ADHD (which is a good thing). Some or all of these concepts you logical, fix it this way or allow it to be that way type of people will be totally tuned out/ turned off to anything I just said. Why? You’ve tried everything but you really haven’t. Even this article i bet most of us havent done wholeheartedly each of the six with do or die, study for the final or loose it all type laser focus. You may, if you are like me, already know exactly what you need to do to feel good. Time and time again you don’t. Why? Just ask yourself: are you ready for the new you? Do you deserve the success you are about to get by being peaceful and who you are to the core? Do yoy cry and feel uneasy? Uncomfortable? Care too much what others think? Well, the World doesnt need you, or anyone. But Life needs you and you are Ready now. Get going to be you, without any rumination or anything else. Just do your thing and be present and all else will work out around you. Trust that intuition now more than ever. Run that race or take that chance, or don’t. Stop treating and start being. Bad at getting back to people? Accept it and tell them. Bills overdue? Call tomorrow or Monday to make arrangements. Nothing left to live for? Take a nice long walk to see life one last time, talk to a stranger , and I promise the universe will do the rest for you . Peace is all we want, but we dont kniw the huge vast amount of paths to get it….all so different, and all lead the same peace feeling. Exept Except the ultimate one, death in final is not peace, it is just more suffering for anyone who loves you, and for you too as you will be lost in the afterlife totally unconscious and totally dependent on an angel finding your soul before it gets too hot to save. Dont be that soul, be the angel. Why? The world and Life needs you.


Excellent advice. For many of us who live with chronic major depression, these lifestyle structures assist in supporting our medication to allow us to live fulfilling, regular lives. Without both healthy lifestyle structure and medication, we wouldn’t be able to function effectively on a daily basis.

Hey Sigmund

Yes, there is certainly a place for medication and adding in these lifestyle factors can be really important to support the healing. Thank you for sharing your experience of this.



But of course there are many who think the only solution comes out of the bottle or packet in tablet form.

Exercise and sunlight plus diet etc are all important. But like the belief of where the solution can be found many refuse to see the benefits of these simple actions or acknowledge that their food contains a vast number of substances that the human body hasn’t evolved to handle and that can and do cause us issues.


Thank you so much. Im bipolar 2 and in a horrible low now. I will pt these things into practice. I really didnt know that exercise could help my brain and mental illness like this.

Hey Sigmund

You’re welcome Tina. And yes – the research on exercise and mental health is phenomenal. The main reason I exercise is for my mental health – it makes such a difference!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our newsletter

We would love you to follow us on Social Media to stay up to date with the latest Hey Sigmund news and upcoming events.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Separation anxiety can come with a tail whip - not only does it swipe at kids, but it will so often feel brutal for their important adults too.

If your child struggle to separate at school, or if bedtimes tougher than you’d like them to be, or if ‘goodbye’ often come with tears or pleas to stay, or the ‘fun’ from activities or play dates get lost in the anxiety of being away from you, I hear you.

There’s a really good reason for all of these, and none of them have anything to do with your parenting, or your child not being ‘brave enough’. Promise. And I have something for you. 

My 2 hour on-demand separation anxiety webinar is now available for purchase. 

This webinar is full of practical, powerful strategies and information to support your young person to feel safer, calmer, and braver when they are away from you. 

We’ll explore why separation anxiety happens and powerful strategies you can use straight away to support your child. Most importantly, you’ll be strengthening them in ways that serve them not just for now but for the rest of their lives.

Access to the recording will be available for 30 days from the date of purchase.

Link to shop in bio. 

The more we treat anxiety as a problem, or as something to be avoided, the more we inadvertently turn them away from the safe, growthful, brave things that drive it. 

On the other hand, when we make space for anxiety, let it in, welcome it, be with it, the more we make way for them to recognise that anxiety isn’t something they need to avoid. They can feel anxious and do brave. 

As long as they are safe, let them know this. Let them see you believing them that this feels big, and believing in them, that they can handle the big. 

‘Yes this feels scary. Of course it does - you’re doing something important/ new/ hard. I know you can do this. How can I help you feel brave?’♥️
I’ve loved working with @sccrcentre over the last 10 years. They do profoundly important work with families - keeping connections, reducing clinflict, building relationships - and they do it so incredibly well. @sccrcentre thank you for everything you do, and for letting me be a part of it. I love what you do and what you stand for. Your work over the last decade has been life-changing for so many. I know the next decade will be even more so.♥️

In their words …
Posted @withregram • @sccrcentre Over the next fortnight, as we prepare to mark our 10th anniversary (28 March), we want to re-share the great partners we’ve worked with over the past decade. We start today with Karen Young of Hey Sigmund.

Back in 2021, when we were still struggling with covid and lockdowns, Karen spoke as part of our online conference on ‘Strengthening the relationship between you & your teen’. It was a great talk and I’m delighted that you can still listen to it via the link in the bio.

Karen also blogged about our work for the Hey Sigmund website in 2018. ‘How to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Children and Teens by Understanding Their Unique Brain Chemistry (by SCCR)’, which is still available to read - see link in bio.

#conflictresolution #conflict #families #family #mediation #earlyintervention #decade #anniversary #digital #scotland #scottish #cyrenians #psychology #relationships #children #teens #brain #brainchemistry #neuroscience
I often go into schools to talk to kids and teens about anxiety and big feelings. 

I always ask, ‘Who’s tried breathing through big feels and thinks it’s a load of rubbish?’ Most of them put their hand up. I put my hand up too, ‘Me too,’ I tell them, ‘I used to think the same as you. But now I know why it didn’t work, and what I needed to do to give me this powerful tool (and it’s so powerful!) that can calm anxiety, anger - all big feelings.’

The thing is though, all powertools need a little instruction and practice to use them well. Breathing is no different. Even though we’ve been breathing since we were born, we haven’t been strong breathing through big feelings. 

When the ‘feeling brain’ is upset, it drives short shallow breathing. This is instinctive. In the same ways we have to teach our bodies how to walk, ride a bike, talk, we also have to teach our brains how to breathe during big feelings. We do this by practising slow, strong breathing when we’re calm. 

We also have to make the ‘why’ clear. I talk about the ‘why’ for strong breathing in Hey Warrior, Dear You Love From Your Brain, and Ups and Downs. Our kids are hungry for the science, and they deserve the information that will make this all make sense. Breathing is like a lullaby for the amygdala - but only when it’s practised lots during calm.♥️
When it’s time to do brave, we can’t always be beside them, and we don’t need to be. What we can do is see them and help them feel us holding on, even in absence, while we also believe in their brave.♥️

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This