Wednesday, February 21, 2024

How To Control Your Anxiety And Depression

Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers

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You can identify triggers on your own or with a therapist. Sometimes they can be obvious, like caffeine, drinking alcohol, or smoking. Other times they can be less obvious.

Long-term problems, such as financial or work-related situations, may take some time to figure out is it a due date, a person, or the situation? This may take some extra support, through therapy or with friends.

When you do figure out your trigger, you should try to limit your exposure if you can. If you cant limit it like if its due to a stressful work environment that you cant currently change using other coping techniques may help.

Know That Today Isnt Indicative Of Tomorrow

Todays mood, emotions, or thoughts dont belong to tomorrow.

If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you havent lost tomorrows opportunity to try again.

Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrows fresh start.

Anxiety And Depression: What Are The Possible Links

Although clearly not identical emotional states, mental health research suggests that depression and anxiety often coexist because they can be caused by the same or similar factors. According to an article published May 2020 in the American Journal of Psychiatry, those overlapping causes can include:

  • Genetic Factors Genetic factors contribute to 40 percent of the predisposition to depressive and anxious symptoms, with 60 percent being attributed to environmental, noninherited factors. “Especially with anxiety, more so than depression, there often is some family history, and so therefore we think that there may be some genetic predisposition to this,” Connolly explains.
  • Environmental Factors Also referred to as social factors, these include experiences like trauma or neglect in early childhood, and current stressors such as relationship difficulties, unemployment, social isolation, and physical illness. People who have post-traumatic stress disorder , an anxiety disorder, are particularly likely to also develop depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health .
  • Pain Chronic pain, and particularly disabling pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome , low back pain, headaches, and nerve pain, are closely linked to psychological distress, including both anxiety and depression, notes Harvard Health. In fact, they say, research suggests that pain shares some biological mechanisms with anxiety and depression.

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Bonnie Weiss And Her Work On Self

Bonnie Weiss, psychotherapist, teacher, author, and trainer has written various books on IFS in self-therapy. Notably, Weiss exercises are incredibly useful resources for guiding individuals and therapists through a step-by-step process of self-directed IFS.

These exercises provide a structured means of navigating through ones own inner parts, communicating with them. Weiss extensive work covers themes such as blending and reblending with wounded parts, accessing The Self and developing our personal potential.

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Start small with a walk to the end of your street. Gradually work up to going around the block, and slowly increase pace or distance as you feel better. You could also take a leisurely dip in the pool and gently swim from one side to the other.

At one point, I agreed to exercise two days a week. I got a membership to the YMCA and used the treadmill or bicycle machine for 10 minutes. Once in a while, I would do a few minutes of weight training. Even after just a short time of exercising, I felt like a million dollars.

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Laughing And Support Groups

While many believe that laughter is the best medicine, studies have already proven that laughing promotes many physical and mental health benefits. For instance, it can boost your immune system, can make your brain and muscles relax, can slow down the production of stress hormones, and can help the production of endorphins.

Plus, your support group may also provide their strategies in coping with such disturbing symptoms. Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor or mental health professional about what you are going through. They can provide or recommend therapy or medical intervention for your well-being.

We Have A Stress Reaction And A Relaxation Response

If youve been to the doctor in the US on a stress-related matter , then youve probably been treated by Dr. Herbert Benson. Not directly, of course you might not have even heard his name, but his work has changed the way Western medicine handles stress.

Benson, now a professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School, was one of the many remarkable experts who spoke at Six Seconds NexusEQ Conference in June 2013 on the campus of Harvard University. The conference focused on the intersection of the science and practice of emotional intelligence. He shared new data that stress is actually affecting our very DNA we literally shape our own biology through our responses.

In 1975, Dr. Benson wrote a remarkable book called The Relaxation Response, articulating the biomedical antidote to stress. He later founded the Mind/Body Medical Institute, and became a professor at Harvard Medical School. He was one of the, if not the, pioneer researching and advocating treatment that works with the human mind and body.

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To Stress Or Not To Stress

Bensons work is based on a simple, powerful idea: Just as we have a stress response, we have a relaxation response. In his words, we can learn to trigger this response and facilitate the human mind to bring for the emotions that open us to the positive influences in life.

This is an example of being smarter with feelings, a growing field of science called Emotional Intelligence.

If Youre Up For Exercise Consider A Walk Around The Block

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On days when you feel as if you cant get out of bed, exercise may seem like the last thing youd want to do. However, exercise and physical activity can be powerful depression fighters.

Research suggests that, for some people, exercise can be as effective as medication at relieving depression symptoms. It may also help prevent future depressive episodes.

If youre able to, take a walk around the block. Start with a five-minute walk and work your way up from there.

Sleep disturbances are common with depression. You may not sleep well, or you may sleep too much. Both can make depression symptoms worse.

Aim for eight hours of sleep per night. Try to get into ahealthy sleeping routine.

Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help you with your daily schedule. Getting the proper amount of sleep may also help you feel more balanced and energized throughout your day.

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Pay Attention To Sleep

Some people have a hard time going to sleep even at night, because of too much stress or worry. Sometimes, such worry or stress leads to sleep disorders. On the other hand, a sleep disorder may come first, and result in anxiety in the long run. Having said that, research has found out that sleep deprivation may contribute to the aggravations of anxiety.

Moreover, a lack of sleep also increases your risk of developing heart disease or heart failure. Some may also increase their risk of having high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, obesity, and irregular heartbeat. These are just some of the reasons why you should pay attention to your sleep pattern.

On a much deeper view, disrupted sleep is almost present in other mental health issues like depression, affecting your daily living. For instance, it can negatively impact your work performance, academic performance, cognitive ability, and increases the risk of physical injury. Surely, these health problems that may arise in the future may create additional worries. Therefore, it is better to take care of your sleeping pattern as early as possible.

What Should You Do If Youre Anxious

So what can you do if you notice yourself feeling anxious? Start by facing your anxiety, advises psychologist Susan Albers-Bowling, PsyD. Then try these 9 ways to calm yourself:

  • Think of yourself as a firefighter. Put out the flames of anxiety with some cool breaths. Breathe in and out, deeply and slowly. When you slow down your breathing, you trick your body into thinking youre relaxing or going to sleep, she says.
  • Cool down anxious thoughts. Thoughts like, I cant stand this this is awful! fuel the fire of anxiety, says Dr. Albers. Instead, think about what you can and cannot change about the situation. Then take steps to change what you can, and work on accepting what you cant.
  • Get some perspective. Anxiety can stem from needless worry about a lot of things that arent important in the long run. Consider how this will really impact you in five minutes, five months or five years, she says.
  • Soothe your system. Try some yoga stretches, or take a tennis ball and rub it under your foot or behind your back. Find gentle ways to calm your body, says Dr. Albers.
  • Talk it out. Research proves that simply naming your feelings can help to calm you down. This is easier to do when you share your feelings with others, she notes.
  • Dont ignore. Anxiety is like a red flag, telling you that something needs attention. Dont ignore this sign contact a professional to help you through it, says Dr. Albers.
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    Simple Steps To Help You Cope With Anxiety

    If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

    For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

    Anxiety involves feelings of worry, fear, and apprehension. Anxiety is typically experienced on cognitive, emotional, and physical levels. For instance, when feeling anxious a person may have negative or disturbing thoughts.

    On an emotional level, one may feel scared or out-of-control. It is also common to experience severe anxiety through somatic sensations, such as sweating, trembling, or shortness of breath.

    These symptoms are common for people who have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. People with panic disorder are typically familiar with the struggle of managing feelings of anxiety. It can feel as if the anxiety is taking over or completely out of ones control.

    Does anxiety have an overwhelming pull in your life? Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to manage your anxiety. Listed below are 4 tips to help you cope with your feelings of anxiety.

    Do The Opposite Of What The Depression Voice Suggests

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    The negative, irrational voice in your head may talk you out of self-help. However, if you can learn to recognize it, you can learn to replace it. Use logic as a weapon. Address each thought individually as it occurs.

    If you believe an event wont be fun or worth your time, say to yourself, You might be right, but itll be better than just sitting here another night. You may soon see the negative isnt always realistic.

    A lengthy to-do list may be so weighty that youd rather do nothing. Instead of compiling a long list of tasks, consider setting one or two smaller goals.

    For example:

    • Dont clean the house take the trash out.
    • Dont do all the laundry thats piled up just sort the piles by color.
    • Dont clear out your entire email inbox just address any time-sensitive messages.

    When youve done a small thing, set your eyes on another small thing, and then another. This way, you have a list of tangible achievements and not an untouched to-do list.

    All goals are worthy of recognition, and all successes are worthy of celebration. When you achieve a goal, do your best to recognize it.

    You may not feel like celebrating with a cake and confetti, but recognizing your own successes can be a very powerful weapon against depressions negative weight.

    The memory of a job well-done may be especially powerful against negative talk and overgeneralization.

    Focus on times when you feel the most disorganized or scattered.

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    Go Outside To Reduce ‘doom Spiraling’

    As far as a do-it-yourself mental health boost goes, getting outdoors is a great return on investment. Research published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015 found that walking outside for 90 minutes reduced rumination, which is a pattern of negative, repetitive thoughts. People who walked in nature also showed a decrease in activity in the subgenual prefrontal cortex, which is part of the brain associated with emotion, compared to people who walked in a busy urban area, suggesting there’s a unique benefit to natural space.

    A 2015 meta-analysis of multiple studies on nature and mood, published in theJournal of Positive Psychology in 2015, found that time in nature is linked to a moderate increase in positive emotions, and a smaller but significant decrease in negative emotions. Outdoor time has also been linked to improved attention and mental flexibility, according to a 2019 review published in the journalCurrent Directions in Psychological Science.

    Lifestyle Changes To Help With Managing Anxiety Or Depression

    Many of us have been there before youre in a stressful situation and can feel your heart racing or a sudden feeling of being overwhelmed. Anxiety is kicking in. Its the bodys natural response to stress but these days, it may feel more prevalent or prolonged than usual.

    In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the occurrence of anxiety symptoms reported in June was three times higher than the year prior.

    In the beginning, we thought this was short-term. Now that we look at it months later, its taken a mental toll on individuals, said Dr. Monika Roots, psychiatrist and chief medical officer of Sanvello. We are in an emotional burnout.

    For some people, that mental toll may lead to pervasive anxiety or even depression. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, a good starting point may be to consider how your lifestyle choices may be playing a role on your mental health.

    While changing these habits may not treat a mental health disorder completely, they may be an essential tool to help manage your symptoms. Dr. Roots shares some of the lifestyle changes she recommends:

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    Learn To Eat Healthier

    You maywonder what differencea good diet can make. Many who are suffering from depression turn to junk food because there is little preparation involved, and they crave salt and sugar.

    I recommend asking yourself, how does junk food make you feel? Howdoes eating pizza and soda and being sedentary make you feel? You may not realize how bad you feel until you start to eat healthily and feel an improvement in energy and clarity. Eating junk food negatively affects your body and can worsen a poor sense of self- image.

    The important thing about the diet is to be sensible. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know a healthy, well-balanced diet includes whole, unprocessed foods like fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, nuts, and seeds. Stay away from fatty, fried, and highly salty foods. There is the adage that says you are what you eat. I don’t know about that, but you will feel like what you eat. If you are so used to processed foods that you can’t quit all at once, try adding healthy ingredients to your meals little by little.

    Cooking healthy meals can seem daunting, so keep it simple and ask a spouse, friend, or family member to do it with you. It’s always more enjoyable to share a meal with someone you love.

    Why Do I Feel Like This When Im Not In Any Real Danger

    How to Control Your Anxiety?

    Early humans needed the fast, powerful responses that fear causes, as they were often in situations of physical danger however, we no longer face the same threats in modern-day living.

    Despite this, our minds and bodies still work in the same way as our early ancestors, and we have the same reactions to our modern worries about bills, travel and social situations. But we cant run away from or physically attack these problems!

    The physical feelings of fear can be scary in themselves especially if you are experiencing them and you dont know why, or if they seem out of proportion to the situation. Instead of alerting you to a danger and preparing you to respond to it, your fear or anxiety can kick in for any perceived threat, which could be imaginary or minor.

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    Online Tools For Young People

    • thelowdown.co.nz a website that can help you to understand and deal with depression and anxiety.
    • sparx.org.nz an online game that will teach you skills to deal with what you are going through.
    • auntydee.co.nz an online tool for anyone who needs some help working through problems, particularly for Pasifika youth.

    What Is The Link Between Smoking And Mental Health Conditions

    Smoking is much more common among adults with mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, than in the general population.6 About 3 out of every 10 cigarettes smoked by adults in the United States are smoked by persons with mental health conditions.6 Why smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions is uncertain. More research is needed to determine this. No matter the cause smoking is not a treatment for depression or anxiety. Getting help for your depression and anxiety and quitting smoking is the best way to feel better.

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