Irregular sleep: Cortisol levels should go up in the morning while melatonin goes down. If your melatonin level is high at the wrong time, however, you may feel groggy and depressed. For example, if you take a long nap in the middle of the day, you may wake up feeling tired and unhappy for the next two hours. Moreover, this nap may further offset your sleep rhythm because when bedtime comes, you are still not sleepy.
Unhealthy diet: If your body does not have enough raw materials to produce what we call the “feel good hormones,” serotonin, progesterone, GABA, and dopamine, to relax your mind and body, you will not feel well no matter how rich or loved you are.
Alcohol: Alcohol can cause sudden increases of your dopamine level. When you are hung over the next morning, however, your body experiences a sudden drop in dopamine, and therefore you feel depressed. It’s like having bipolar disorder: one moment you feel high due to a higher level of feel good hormones but the next moment the hormones are depleted so you just as suddenly become depressed.
Lack of exercise: Not exercising can lead to insufficient -endorphin and serotonin production. Without exercise, there would not be sufficient blood flow to nourish your internal organs. When these organs do not function well, you have less feel good hormones. Exercising also improves the blood flow to your brain and other important organs, so your body have improved function to produce more relaxing hormones.
Anti-acids: Anti-acids can cause a deficiency of vitamins and mal-absorption of proteins, leading to an abnormally functioning nervous system, which becomes supersensitive to the physical and mental stress. Therefore, you cannot relax and enjoy life. In my experience, I have noticed that people who already have problems with anxiety and depression tend to have more panic attacks after they take anti-acids for a period of the time.
Caffeine: Drinking too much caffeine stimulates your “fight or flight” system constantly, causing you to always rush around from one thing to another. When you attempt to multitask, you tend to become more anxious.
Indigestion: Even if you eat a healthy diet, if your stomach cannot digest it well, ultimately, you will not get enough nutrients to produce balanced levels of hormones. Instead, the undigested food can become toxic to your body.
Aging: When people become older, their digestive system also goes downhill. Thus, if they do not eat a very balanced diet, their bodies may not absorb the nutrients necessary to produce enough feel good hormones. Cakes, cookies, and ice cream can only make them happy for a short period of time. These junk foods not only impede their digestion but also deplete their supply of feel good hormones.
Stress: Stress makes people produce too much cortisol and adrenaline, the “fight or flight” hormones, causing a chemical imbalance and thus depression and anxiety.
Lack of sunshine: Daytime sunlight can reset the circadian cycle of melatonin, which influences our mood.
Adrenal fatigue: After exposure to long-term stress, the adrenal gland can no longer provide enough of the stress-coping hormones cortisol and progesterone so that the slightest environmental change can make you feel anxious and depressed. Trauma, such as car accidents, can trigger a sudden release of adrenaline and cortisol, depleting adrenal gland function and your reserve of relaxing hormones such as serotonin, GABA, progesterone, and dopamine.
What causes depression?