How to Overcome Anxiety and Depression
An increasing number of people today have problems with anxiety and depression.
What Is Depression and Anxiety?
It is normal to feel sad or to go through fluctuations in mood. However, when your mood consistently interferes with work, relationships, sex, and other aspects of your daily life, you may be experiencing clinical depression.
Depression is a mental health condition where you feel sad, disconnected, and things seem bleak and hopeless. You may lose interest in doing the things you used to enjoy. You may also experience changes in appetite, frequent headaches, problems with sleep, and recurrent body aches.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It is your body’s natural response to stressful situations when dealing with the wide-ranging challenges in life. It is usually short-term and ends after you have gone through the experience that has triggered the stress. It usually does not leave a lasting or dramatic negative impression on you.
You feel anxious when you experience feelings of apprehension, nervousness, worry, or fear when you have to deal with something new or challenging like an important exam, performing or speaking in public, unemployment, divorce, and other stress-inducing experiences.
Although it is normal to feel anxious about certain things, when this feeling starts interfering with your everyday life and is intense and sometimes debilitating, it becomes an anxiety disorder. Having chronic anxiety attacks interferes with your happiness and sense of control over your own life.
Can you have both anxiety and depression?
Although the two conditions are different, they can occur together. A person can have a combination of the symptoms of depression and anxiety and symptoms of both conditions seem to improve with similar treatments.
What causes anxiety and depression?
Anxiety is commonly caused or worsened by the following factors:
- Chemical imbalances where experiencing a lot of stress over prolonged periods can lead to changes in your mood.
- Environmental factors like trauma, situations involving the loss of a loved one or sudden unexpected life changes, and continuous exposure to dark and cold spaces, harsh lighting, and loud noises.
- Family history - When one or both of your parents have depression or anxiety, you may be predisposed.
Depression is a result of biological, psychological, and social factors or a combination. Common causes include:
- Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
- Age. Elderly people are at high risk of depression and factors like living alone and lack of support can further worsen the condition
- Certain medications can also increase your risk of depression. Speak with your pharmacist to learn more
- Conflicts at work or in your personal life
- Gender. Women are more likely to experience depression
- Family History. A family history of depression may contribute to disease risk
- Major events even good ones like giving birth, starting a new job can lead to depression
- Death or a loss of a loved one
- Other personal problems, serious illnesses, and substance misuse can also aggravate the condition.
Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
You usually see the following signs and symptoms in a person undergoing depression:
- Feeling sad for more than two weeks, without any obvious cause
- Experiencing feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Feeling tired and low on energy for no clear reason
- Losing interest in things you like, such as sports or hobbies
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping too much)
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Anxiety, or restlessness
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
- Thoughts of death or suicide attempts
- Unexplained physical symptoms, such as back pain or headaches
A person who is experiencing anxiety may also have the above-mentioned symptoms. They are also likely to show these additional symptoms:
- Chronic tension and nervousness
- Increased heart rate
- Trembling, excessive sweating, and hyperventilation
- Digestive problems
The following examples will help you understand how depression and anxiety affects people:
Example 1: For Bianca, anxiety came out of nowhere. It just started with nervousness and loss of appetite. All she could feel was constantly sweaty palms and increased heart rate, which gradually turned into feeling sick all the time and losing weight too fast. First she thought it to be a normal stress of a high pressure job like sales. But when one day she had a severe panic attack, she was terrified. Slowly, these attacks became frequent and that is when things started getting worse for her. She had to leave her job and was all weak and lean. Her life turned upside down, dragging her into severe depression.
Example 2: Sarah’s stressful ways of working developed into anxiety. She put all her energy into working full time with no social circle to meet. She was all by herself. She started eating terribly and never exercised, which resulted in weight gain. She was too exhausted to cook for herself or go to the gym after work. This pattern continued for a few years, which developed horrific social anxiety in her. She felt uncomfortable interacting with people and struggled to keep a conversation going. All this made her feel embarrassed and depressed at the same time.
What to Do When There are Signs or Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
How do you deal with the warning signs of depression and anxiety so that they don’t become worse?
- Eat right.
- Improve sleep habits.
- Avoid cigarettes, alcohol, and recreational drugs.
- Learn to manage stress by exercising and using mindfulness techniques like meditation and yoga.
If symptoms persist, consider speaking with a certified mental health care provider or your primary care provider (PCP). Your PCP may suggest some depression and anxiety medication to stem the adverse effects of the condition and help you get better.
Timely treatment of both depression and anxiety is important!
Mental health issues make it difficult for you to achieve your potential, make sound and healthy choices, cope with stress, handle work and relationships, and become a happy and productive member of your community.
Depression and anxiety are common mental health problems. It is essential to recognize their symptoms or warning signs so you can address them early on.
These problems affect thoughts, feelings, and actions. They have adverse effects on your physical health, as well as on your psychological, emotional, and social wellbeing.
Though stress is part of everyday life, if you are not able to properly manage it, it can adversely affect your general ability to function normally.
Therefore, it is prudent to know what anxiety and depression are and to recognize their symptoms. Being aware helps you apply early interventions, seek medical help, reduce the risk of mental illness and other complications, and achieve fast and effective recovery.
Overcoming Anxiety and Depression in 10 different ways
The things that undermine mental health are not going to go away on their own. Do not wait for the symptoms to escalate. Switch to these ways to strengthen your mental health now and overcome anxiety and depression.
Trained mental health professionals suggest the following steps to help you cope with everyday stress and prevent severe depression and anxiety.
- Talk Therapy with an Online Doctor
Talk therapy, also known as psychotherapy, is a simple way of expressing yourself and overcoming your negative emotions. Mental health professionals use this technique to communicate with their patients, which helps them identify the real cause of their emotional distress.
A lot of people hesitate to try talk therapy for depression and anxiety. They feel uneasy about sharing their thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
Studies, however, show talk therapy to be effective at improving psychological health. Talking with a certified therapist may help you confront the behaviors and lifestyle issues that are negatively impacting your mental health. It helps you strategize and take the appropriate measures to effectively address thoughts and feelings that hold you back from enjoying better mental health.
A qualified online therapist provides a trained perspective. They give expert guidance so that you know how to overcome a depressive episode and deal with anxiety. They help you identify the issues that trigger unproductive stress and to develop skills for stress management.
Talk therapy helps in coping with depression and anxiety. It helps you find your way towards living a positive, happier, and more fulfilling life.
- Participate in Physical Activities
Engaging in physical activity provides benefits that lead to better health and a sense of well-being. It reduces the level of stress hormones that trigger anxiety and depression. It releases endorphins, the hormones responsible for improving your moods.
Exercise makes you sleep better and enables you to cope with stress. It also puts you in a more positive disposition and promotes self-confidence.
- Spend Time in Nature
Spending time in nature benefits the body and mind. It brings down the heart rate and blood pressure, eases muscle tension, and helps produce serotonin, a key hormone that stabilizes your mood, feelings of well-being, and happiness.
It also adds to emotional wellbeing. It distracts from everyday problems and worries, relieves stress, reduces negative feelings like anger, uncertainties, and fear, and triggers happy, pleasant, and feel-good feelings.
- See a Doctor for Anxiety and Depression
Doctors may prescribe antidepressants, antipsychotics, or mood stabilizers, together with other psychological treatments, for moderate-to-severe mental health problems.
A doctor evaluates each individual thoroughly before prescribing medications. Most medications take a few weeks before individuals experience their benefits.
Side effects may include headaches, wooziness, agitation, fretfulness, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, and weight gain. Patients should speak with a pharmacist to learn more about their specific medication.
These side effects are usually short-term. The response to the medication, as well as the length of the prescription, varies from person to person. Therefore, always take the meds under your doctor’s supervision.
- Do Something that You Enjoy
Enjoy activities that promote a relaxed and carefree disposition. Do things that make you feel happy and keep your negative thoughts and feelings at bay.
- Connect with friends. Set aside time to enjoy coffee, pastries, and small talk.
- Put your feet up, play some soothing music, and let the melody and the lyrics wash over you, calm you, lift your mood, and renew your mind and heart. Hum or sing along if you feel like it.
- Play with your pets. You will feel connected, warm, and happy and feel less stressed and isolated.
- Watch a funny movie or sitcom. Laughter is potent for shifting your outlook and allowing you to see things from the right perspective. It interrupts unproductive and upsetting emotions. It allows you to look at life from a lighter, more sensible and less frightening point of view. It adds joy, energy, and pleasure to life.
When you are anxious or depressed, you tend to retreat inward. You dwell on your worries, fears, and misery – and end up increasing your negative thoughts and feelings.
Volunteering for something that interests you will make you feel better. It will help you focus on things you like and will bring you outside yourself. It gives you something meaningful and productive to do.
Meditate for enhancing your mood, easing stress, anxiety, and depression, and strengthening focus and mindfulness. Stress reduction can be an important method to manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Cortisol is a hormone that triggers the body’s natural fight-or-flight response to ensure survival. It is responsible for the surge of energy that you need when you have to deal with something threatening or upsetting. It helps you cope with stress.
When you are always in chronic stress mode, however, the body’s overproduction of cortisol may have unhealthy and unpleasant side effects like fatigue, headaches, high blood pressure, irritability, constipation or diarrhea, weight gain, poor sleep, and apprehension and melancholy.
Meditation helps to modulate your stress response and is a natural mood enhancer that helps address symptoms of anxiety and depression.
The way you eat impacts a wide range of existing health issues. If you want positive physical and mental health, consider incremental changes in your diet and lifestyle habits.
Enjoy foods high in sugar in moderation. Feed your body with nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and you will soon note an incredible shift in your physical and mental wellbeing.
Consider cutting down on alcohol and cigarettes and speak with a health professional to learn more about available supports. Use of these products in excess can worsen depression and anxiety symptoms. .
Poor sleeping habits tend to undermine mental health. It is generally recommended that you get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, however the exact amount will vary between people. Adequate amount of sleep is a natural way to build up your body’s ability to cope with mental health stressors.
Consider implementing some combination of the following techniques to help you sleep better:
- Adapt regular hours for going to sleep and getting up every day.
- Limit your intake of caffeine in strong teas, coffee, energy drinks, and soda. Choose decaffeinated or caffeine free drinks after 4 PM
- Do not use alcohol as a means of helping you sleep. Alcohol prevents restful sleep and wakes you up frequently during the night.
- Take the time to wind down before you go to bed. Listen to soothing music or do something comforting and relaxing before turning in for the night.
- Take a break from social media and other online activities a full hour or more before bedtime. If it is possible, leave your phone outside your bedroom at night.
- Positive Approach
Anxious and depressed individuals tend to be hard on themselves. Taking a positive approach and strengthening your self-esteem, lifting up your moods, and cultivating a more constructive attitude towards yourself are all ways to support improved mental health.
Engage in helpful and positive self-talk. Practice positive affirmations to encourage yourself and to promote good vibes.
Recognize emotions of fear, sadness, disappointments, and grief, but do not allow them to bring you down. On the other hand, do not expect to succeed or to remain happy all the time. Do not expect things to be perfect. Be sensible and realistic and always be compassionate with yourself.
Find positive ways to express what you feel. Take up drawing, journaling, or singing. Talk to someone you trust. Consult with your primary care provider or an online doctor. Face your fears and try to overcome them one fear at a time. Seek to grow and learn a little each day.
Try to look at your life with enthusiasm. Do not focus on what is wrong or what is missing from your life. Look for things to be grateful for. Take every small opportunity to feel good about yourself.
It takes a combination of factors to develop depression and anxiety. The essential thing is to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of the conditions, to address them with the necessary techniques, get the support of people you trust, and seek professional help if needed.Get Started