Using Nature and Wisdom to Sustain a
Healthy Mood
Henry Emmons, MD
Consulting Psychiatrist, Penny George Institute for Health and Healing
Community Faculty, Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of
Minnesota
Joy
“Surely joy is the
condition of life.”
Thoreau
A Holistic Disease?
Depression and Anxiety
100 years
Increased 10%
per decade
Seligman
10 times higher
risk
Disability
US
WHO
Causes of Depression/Anxiety
If not just genetics, then…
Why?
The Enemies of Joy
Physical Imbalance and Toxicity
The Mind Run Rampant
The Illusion of Separation
The Science of Hope
Neuroplasticity
Gene
Cell
Expression
Turnover
Neuroplasticity
The brain is
capable of
change.
Cell
Turnover
Cells are
programmed
to die and be
replaced
Gene
Expression
Genes can be
turned on or
off.
Resilience
The metaphor of
the water cooler
The Seven Roots of Resilience
BODY
 Balance Brain Chemistry
 Manage Energy
 Align with Nature
MIND
 Calm the Mind
 Turn Toward Emotions
SOUL
 Cultivate a Good Heart
 Create Deep Connections
The Triad of Health:
(Physical Imbalance/Toxicity)
Balancing Brain
Chemistry:
NUTRITION
Managing
Energy:
Aligning with
Nature:
EXERCISE
SLEEP
Balancing Brain Chemistry:
The Resilient Diet
Eating healthier
will ALWAYS
help you feel
better.
Calming Foods
Complex Carbs
 Beans and Legumes
 Root Vegetables
 Whole Grains
Moderate Protein
 Lean Meats
 Eggs/Dairy
 Protein Powders
Omega 3’s
 Fatty fish
 Nuts and Seeds
Eat frequently
 Always Breakfast
 Every 3-4 hours
Energizing Foods
Think summer
Lean protein
Fewer Carbs
High water foods
Nutritional Supplements
Basic Supplements
 Multivitamin or B-Complex
 Take half the dose twice daily
 Look for minimum 50 mg B6 per day
 Omega 3
 1000 mg Fish Oil twice daily
 And/or 2 T. ground flaxseed
 Vitamin D3
 2000-5000 IU daily from October through April
 Probiotic
 Especially if GI symptoms
The Triad of Health:
(Physical Imbalance/Toxicity)
Balancing Brain
Chemistry:
NUTRITION
Managing
Energy:
Aligning with
Nature:
EXERCISE
SLEEP
Managing Energy:
Resilient Movement
1. Non-Exercise
2. Exercise
3. Mindful Movement
Managing Energy with
“Non-Exercise”
 Any movement of daily
living
 Burns calories
 Tones muscles
Managing Energy with Exercise:
Calming Anxiety
 Any gentle, rhythmic
movement
 Being in nature is a plus
Managing Energy with Exercise:
Increasing Energy
•More vigorous
•Increase heart
rate
•Break a sweat
•Weight training
•Interval training
Managing Energy with Exercise:
How to Increase Anger
Exercise Guidelines: Adults
 Weekly minimum exercise:
 At least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic
activity per week
 OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
per week
 PLUS muscle-strengthening activity on at least 2 days
per week
 Source:
http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guideli
nes/adults.html
Exercise Guidelines: Children
 At least 1 hour or more per day
 Mostly aerobic
 Should be vigorous at least 3 times per week
 Include muscle strengthening (e.g. push-ups or
gymnastics) at least 3 days per week as part of the 60
minutes
 Include bone-strengthening activities, like jumping
rope or running, at least 3 times per week.
Mindful Movement/Yoga
Mindful Movement/T’ai Chi
Mindful Movement/Walking
The Triad of Health:
(Physical Imbalance/Toxicity)
Balancing Brain
Chemistry:
NUTRITION
Managing
Energy:
Aligning with
Nature:
EXERCISE
SLEEP
Resilient Sleep
Sleep problems are
a common trigger
for mental illness
There is no way to
recover fully unless
sleep improves
Natural Sleep: How much?
Average in 1900
Average today
Timing
Naps
Natural Sleep: What hurts?
Natural Sleep: What hurts?
Natural Sleep: What hurts?
Natural Sleep: What Helps?
Natural Sleep: What Helps?
The Enemies of Joy
Physical Imbalance and Toxicity
The Mind Run Rampant
The Illusion of Separation
Mindfulness
 Awareness
 Moment to
moment
 Intentional
 Non-Judging
 Slowing
and Acceptance
down, honoring the rhythms of nature
 Observing
the mind from a ring-side seat
The Psychology of Mindfulness
Mindfulness (Vipassana)
(The Mind Run Rampant)
Heartfulness (Metta)
(The Illusion of Separation)
 The practice of seeing and
 The practice of learning to
accepting things as they really
are
 Learning to do less harm
love well
 Cultivating a larger self
Life Includes Suffering
The Origin of Suffering is Attachment
The End of Suffering is Attainable
There Is a Path to the End of Suffering
Resilience is your nature
Adventitious Suffering
The Second
Arrow
Favorite Flavors of Reaction
Reactivity
Emotion
Grasping
Fear
Aversion
Anger
Denial
Flat/Dull
Impermanence
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling Is final.
-Rilke
Emotional Steadiness
Grounding
Non-Attachment
Opportunities for
Mindfulness
Self-Aversion
“I am now the
most miserable
man living.”
-Abraham Lincoln
January 1, 1841
Cultivating a Good Heart
Reactivity
Antidotes
Grasping
Generosity
Aversion
Compassion
Denial
Awareness
What does everyone want?
We can live
without religion
and meditation,
but we cannot
survive without
human affection.
-The Dalai Lama
Encountering Soul
"This is the first,
wildest, and
wisest thing I
know, that the
soul exists, and
that it is built
entirely out of
attention.“
-Mary Oliver
Returning to Your True Home
It is not perfection
that we seek. It is
fuller growth into who
we truly are.
It is to live, as fully
and joyfully as we can,
each moment capable
of giving and
receiving, loving and
being loved, caring and
being cared for,
healing and being
healed.