Write A Letter You Wont Send
I use this activity quite frequently with teenagers and with trauma survivors. Sometimes you have things you want to say but youll never get the chance to say them.
Maybe your parents just arent able to hear what you need or your abuser will never be in a place to take accountability for what theyve done. Maybe the person you need to reconcile with is dead or you have no way to reach them. Or maybe you have things to say but youre not ready for anyone to know them yet.
In this situation, writing a letter that you never send can be a way to get some closure on a situation. It helps you express your needs, wants, and wishes without expecting any kind of change on their part. So write the letter, tell them what you need to say. Burn it afterwards or flush it or save it or mail it, whatever you want. Its the process of expression that leads to healing.
Identify And Learn To Manage Your Triggers
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.
Unsure How To Help A Friend With Depression Or Anxiety Here Are Five Ways
When people find out that I am a clinical psychologist, one of the most common responses I get is, How do I help someone in my life struggling with mental health issues? There is a reason this response occurs with such frequency. In 2017, 7.1 percent of all adults in the United States had one or more major depressive episodes, and 19.1 percent met diagnostic criteria for at least one anxiety disorder. Now consider that these numbers dont include any of the following:
These facts demonstrate that the percentage of individuals struggling with significant mental health problems at any given time is staggering. As such, virtually all people are closely acquainted with at least one person who is currently struggling with a mental health problem.
The impact of having a loved one struggling with depression or anxiety can be profound and, in fact, is often itself a reason that many people seek therapy. Unfortunately, there is no single behavior that is effective at helping all people who are struggling with depression and anxiety.
The good news is, there are some approaches that tend to work better than others. I have outlined these below:
1. Educate yourself in order to dispel harmful myths about mental illness.
2. Try some perspective taking.
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Quick Ways To Cope With Anxiety
If your anxiety is sporadic and getting in the way of your focus or tasks, there are some quick natural remedies that could help you take control of the situation.
If your anxiety is focused around a situation, such as being worried about an upcoming event, you may notice the symptoms are short-lived and usually subside after the anticipated event takes place.
Whats The Difference Between Sadness And Depression
Whether youve lost a loved one, moved to a new place, or missed out on a job opportunity, there are plenty of stressful and upsetting events that can get you down. However, the difference between sadness and depression is that sadness usually passes with a little time, while depression is a mood disorder that can appear without any specific cause and last for two weeks or more.
Depression impacts almost every part of your life, interfering with how you think, feel, and go about your daily activities like sleeping, working, and socializing. Some common symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling empty
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping more than normal
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
- Irritability or restlessness
- Aches and pains without clear physical causes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must be present nearly all day, every day for at least two weeks.
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Signs Of An Anxiety Attack
These are some of the more common mental and physical symptoms of anxiety:
- feelings of danger, panic, or dread
- nervousness or restlessness
- numbness or tingling in your extremities
- feeling hot or cold
If you notice that quick tips havent been working, you may want to consider seeing a professional for help. Especially if you believe you have GAD and its interfering with routine activities and causing physical symptoms.
A mental health professional can help with streamlining the process of identifying your triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, medications, and more.
Anxiety may always be a part of your life, but it shouldnt overtake your day-to-day. Even the most extreme anxiety disorders can be treated so that the symptoms arent overwhelming.
Once you find what treatment works best for you, life should be a lot more enjoyable and a lot less daunting.
Can Anxiety And Depression Be Treated Together
Yes. No one has to suffer from anxiety disorder or depression, and certainly not both. People with anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist, or other healthcare professional about their symptoms and start treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect you have both anxiety and depression, Connolly recommends getting a thorough evaluation from a psychiatrist as a first step. “It’s really crucial for people with both to have a good assessment to rule out bipolar disorder,” she says.
Important: If you or someone you know needs help coping with anxiety or depression, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK . The Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they text to 741741.
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Do Something You Have Control Over
Regaining some control in the moment could help overwhelming feelings feel a little easier to cope with.
You dont have to take any major action, but accomplishing a short task, such as making your bed, taking a shower, or unloading the dishwasher, can help boost a sense of accomplishment. It could also offer a temporary distraction.
Meet Yourself Where You Are
Depression is common. It affects millions of people, including some in your life. You may not realize they face similar challenges, emotions, and obstacles.
The key to navigating depression is to be open, accepting, and loving toward yourself and what youre going through.
Every day with this disorder is different. Its important to take your mental health seriously and accept that where you are right now isnt where youll always be.
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Try Supplements Or Change Your Diet
Changing your diet or taking supplements is definitely a long-term strategy. Research shows certain supplements or nutrients can help anxiety reduction.
However, it can take a few months before your body is actually running on the nutrition these herbs and foods provide. If youre taking other medications, make sure to discuss herbal remedies with your doctor as there can be adverse reactions.
Has The Pandemic Affected Depression In The Workplace
According to the State of Mental health in America 2021 survey, the number of people seeking help for depression has increased significantly from 2019 to 2020.
The pandemic has led to many people working from home or seeing colleagues and clients less often, if at all. For many people, Zoom meetings are the new normal along with Zoom fatigue.
Not only are people feeling more anxious about their health, job security, and financial stability, says Matos, but many people are now more isolated and disconnected, which can trigger or worsen existing depression.
Indeed, the social element of work has disappeared for many people, making you feel lonely and even more low.
While working remotely can be convenient in some ways, it can also blur the boundary between personal and professional life even further.
can be really difficult to maintain focus and attention on a Zoom call when youre feeling depressed, says Matos.
You might also feel as if you have to work longer at home, especially if you havent accomplished enough, which creates a self-perpetuating problem: Your depression makes it hard to focus on work, so you work slower and less efficiently.
But then you force yourself to work longer, which worsens your mood and the cycle continues over and over.
If youre finding that depression is affecting your work life, there are many things you can do to gain a bit of motivation, rest, or relief throughout the day.
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Small Steps Big Impact
If a person feels sustained, intense, feelings of sadness or loss of interest in activities, they may have clinical depression. People also refer to this condition as major depressive disorder.
However, there are small steps you can take to help you gain more agency in your life and improve your sense of well-being.
Read on to learn how to incorporate these strategies in a way that makes sense for you.
Why Are Anxiety And Depression Often Co
Its a cycle, says Sally R. Connolly, LCSW and therapist. When you get anxious, you tend to have this pervasive thinking about some worry or some problem. You feel bad about it. Then you feel like youve failed. You move to depression.
These two disorders anxiety and depression have a complicated relationship:
- The chance of acquiring depression is much higher when an anxiety disorder already exists. Nearly half of those with major depression also suffer from severe and persistent anxiety.
- People who are depressed often feel anxious and worried. One can easily trigger the other, with anxiety often preceding depression.
- People with post-traumatic stress disorder are especially prone to developing depression.
- A biological predisposition for both of these conditions if often at the root of an individuals battle. This seems to be true with anxiety disorders even more than with depression. Connolly explains, Some people are just worriers and pass it down.
People with an anxiety disorder should speak with a psychiatrist, therapist or other healthcare professional about their symptoms. Treatment for an anxiety disorder should not be delayed. If not caught in time, depression may find the door wide open for moving in and setting up house in those individuals.2
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Aim To Get A Good Nights Sleep
Not enough sleep can worsen symptoms of both anxiety and depression but too much sleep can also affect well-being and mood.
Experts recommend most adults get
These tips can help you get the sleep you need:
- Make a habit of going to bed and getting up around the same time each day.
- Turn off electronic devices about 1 hour before bedtime.
- Create a soothing ritual that helps you wind down before bed.
- Keep your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet.
Learn To Recognize The Signs Of Anxiety
Anxiety disorder is the most common mental health condition in the United States, affecting up to 18% of the population. Knowing the signs of anxiety can help you realize when someone you love is having fearful thoughts or feelings. Symptoms vary from person to person but can be broken into three categories:
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Reach Out To Loved Ones
Strong relationships can go a long way toward improving your outlook and emotional well-being when you live with mental health conditions.
Friends and family can:
- provide encouragement and emotional support
- join you in hobbies or activities that offer a positive distraction
- offer rides, grocery runs, and other more tangible forms of support when you have trouble getting things done
Simply knowing you have someone you trust in your life can often help you feel less alone, whether you actually want to talk about your symptoms or not.
Treating co-occurring depression and anxiety can sometimes be more complicated than treating one condition alone. Even when you get treatment for one condition, some symptoms might persist or seem to play off the others.
- You cant stop worrying about all the things going wrong in your life, or thinking about the ways things could get worse. These fears eventually drain your energy and motivation to keep trying, leaving you feeling low and hopeless.
- Social anxiety keeps you from connecting with people in the ways youd like. You want to make new friends but generally end up avoiding interactions instead. This leaves you feeling lonely, sad, and guilty, especially when thinking of those missed opportunities, but helpless to do anything differently.
A mental health care professional may recommend combining treatment approaches, since what helps ease depression symptoms may not always relieve anxiety symptoms, and vice versa.
Questions To Ask Yourself
Again, its very common to feel low or sad, stressed or anxious, or any combination of the above, on occasion.
All the same, youre the best person to recognize whats typical for you. If you start to experience new, uncomfortable feelings, changes in your energy and motivation, or any other unusual symptoms, it never hurts to connect with a mental health professional for more guidance.
You might wonder whether an online self-test for anxiety or depression could offer more insight about the changes youve noticed. Some people do find these a helpful place to start but a more personalized route might involve asking yourself a few questions:
- Do I spend a lot more time worrying than I have in the past?
- Do I feel sad, empty, or hopeless often?
- Have I lost interest in the things I used to enjoy?
- Have I started to avoid spending time with friends and loved ones?
- Do I worry about things I cant control to the point where I have a hard time thinking about anything else?
- Do I become irritable or annoyed more quickly than I have in the past?
- Do I often feel restless, on edge, or unable to relax?
- Do I cycle through dark, unwanted, or fearful thoughts I cant seem to stop?
- Is it difficult to fall asleep, get enough sleep, or wake up on time most days?
- Have I noticed unexplained pain, tension, or other physical symptoms?
- Do these changes affect my daily life or relationships?
If you answered yes to most of the questions above, it may be time to reach out to a therapist.
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Find A Sense Of Meaning
If youve been feeling like you dont belong anywhere or that life has lost its meaning, these ideas might help you find your place in the world again.
Choose something that feels right for you:
- Spend time in nature go for a bush or beach walk, or swim in a river
- Go to places that you know nurture your soul, such as a church or a temple
- Give yourself permission to reflect and grow
- Learn what it is that keeps you peaceful and content
- Go ‘home’ – spend time in the place youre from
- Talk to a spiritual adviser, such as a priest or a thunga.
Your wairua is one of the most important yet most overlooked parts of your wellbeing. Your spiritual wellbeing is about who you are and where you belong. For some, having faith in a higher power is a big part of wairua.
A strong wairua means knowing your own identity and being content with who you are.
You can increase or strengthen your wairua by spending time reflecting on life and doing things that you enjoy.
Finding Ways To Fight Anxiety
All of these strategies can be effective for those that want to learn how to fight anxiety. They each address specific issues that many of those with anxiety face, and integrating them into your life is a great way to reduce the effects on anxiety on your overall satisfaction.
But fighting anxiety isn’t enough. You need to win the war. For that, you need to be ready and willing to commit to a successful treatment option that will get to the heart of what is driving the anxiety, and has been shown to reduce anxiety in those that suffer from it regularly.
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Acknowledge How Youre Feeling Right Now
The first step to taking care of anxiety is acknowledging how you feel in the moment. Take a few minutes to observe the sensations in your body and the thoughts youre having. Some people notice a racing heartbeat or tightness in their chest, among other signs and symptoms.
Often, anxiety causes our thoughts to spin out of control. If you can recognize your anxious thought patterns before they take over, its much easier to switch your logic-brain back on.
Once youve pinpointed whats happening in your mind and your body, youll be able to take action to start feeling better.