Ways To Combat Depression And Anxiety When They Hit You
Feelings of depression and anxiety can come seemingly out of nowhere, and they can be debilitating when they do. Knowing how to fight them off is important. There are a number of ways to redirect your mind when these feelings come creeping in and help you to learn how to combat depression and anxiety. Keeping these 7 easy suggestions in mind can help you to combat these unwanted emotions:
Engage In Social And Creative Activities
Join a class, take up painting or dance over the weekends. Though weâre not suggesting that you burden yourself yet again, but minimal interaction an accumulation of new skills that arenât too pressurizing can be a gift at this stage as you can distract yourself and actually learn something new.
Activities that encourage you to look beyond your troubles in a simple and effective manner are extremely useful. Not only will they help you become more creative, getting to interact with new people can be liberating and help you break the old patterns too.
What Can You Do If You Experience Depression
It may sometimes feel as though, out of nowhere, that you are hit with depression, and this is true for many people who have a biologically based depression. However, I would argue that whenever there is something like depression or anxietywhich are defense mechanismsthere is something in your life that is not 100% congruent with who you are and where your life is at or going.
This essentially means that its time to take a step back and reassess a few things in life. It doesnt mean that you will be able to wright the ship entirely. However, you might be able to make some small changes that will help you feel more in control of your life and the direction that you are going in.
1. Consider Therapy
Therapy will help you take stock and think about what is happening in your life and where you might be able to make some changes. Needless to say, you will also have the support you need to embark on making those changes. It could also be a chance to identify what it is in your life that is causing the depression. A therapist can also help you connect to other supports that might help you as you work through this period in your life.
2. Group Support Network
3. Self Assessment
4. Take Some Time Off
5. Are You Bored?
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Stress Is Not Anxiety Or Depression
Stress is not the same as anxiety or depression but for some people, being stressed for a long time can lead to anxiety or depression, and it can affect a persons physical health, particularly cardiovascular health.
When we talk about being stressed, it usually means were upset or tense about something thats happening in our lives. Stress is a normal part of daily life. Its a natural physical and mental response that is designed to help people cope effectively with emergencies.
Some stress can be a good thing. It can help us get motivated to get things done, but health problems from stress happen when it is regular and doesnt let up.
Find Something To Look Forward To
This is a technique I routinely use as an anti-blues vaccination. When Im down I search for something to put on the calendar that makes me happy and excited. Indeed, this 2007 study showed that people get an emotional lift when they contemplate a future fun event, versus looking back on a fabulous activity from the past. Book a trip, buy concert tickets, plan a partywhatever brings a flush to your cheeks and rumble of joy to your belly. My biggest mood-turnarounds arise when I begin a project that can potentially create some good in the world and lead to fulfilling connections. For example, Ive volunteered as a mentor to underserved young women who want to write, sought publishing contracts to write a book, taught workshops, submitted a video to do a TedX talk . The point is: stop continually telling yourself nothing good will ever again happenyouve been there, seen that, done that.
The Upshot: Depression is a diagnosable and treatable condition. Theres no reason to suffer in silence, or to guess whether or not what youre feeling qualifies as depression. Your primary care physician can help direct you to someone who specializes in mental health. In the meantime, heres a guide to the signs and symptoms and a quick assessment quiz. You can also download one of these mental health apps for more information.
*Names of patients are changed
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How Can I Help Someone With Depression
Depression is a serious but treatable disorder that affects millions of people, from young to old and from all walks of life. It gets in the way of everyday life, causing tremendous pain, hurting not just those suffering from it but also impacting everyone around them.
If someone you love is depressed, you may be experiencing any number of difficult emotions, including helplessness, frustration, anger, fear, guilt, and sadness. These feelings are all normal. Its not easy dealing with a friend or family members depression. And if you neglect your own health, it can become overwhelming.
That said, your companionship and support can be crucial to your loved ones recovery. You can help them to cope with depression symptoms, overcome negative thoughts, and regain their energy, optimism, and enjoyment of life. Start by learning all you can about depression and how to best talk about it with your friend or family member. But as you reach out, dont forget to look after your own emotional healthyoull need it to provide the full support your loved one needs.
Understanding depression in a friend or family member
Depression is a serious condition. Dont underestimate the seriousness of depression. Depression drains a persons energy, optimism, and motivation. Your depressed loved one cant just snap out of it by sheer force of will.
Tend To Your Social Life
When you’re depressed, there’s no reason to go it aloneand all sorts of reasons to reach out to friends and family. Make plans with loved ones and keep those dates. Join a club or sign up for a group activity such as a local dodgeball league, for example, or a French class.
Other things you might try:
- Join a support group. Talking to other people who are facing the same experiences and challenges can be informative and helpful.
- Schedule activities. Having routines can be helpful when you are going through depression. Create a daily schedule that includes spending time with others. You are more likely to stick to it if its a scheduled event.
- Volunteer.Joining a cause that you care about is a great way to meet new people and expand your social circle.
The problem is that depression often causes people to withdraw, which only further exacerbates feelings of isolation and loneliness. Even when you don’t feel like going out or being social, try reaching out in whatever way is most comfortable for you. Enlist a few of your closes loved ones who understand what you are experiencing.
Doing the things you used to do might not bring you quite the same enjoyment, but getting out of the house and spending time with people who care about you can help you feel better.
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Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancingwhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, taking a water aerobics or dance class, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk.If you dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
Tips On Managing Stress
Stress Management Techniques Are Useful In Coping With Depression. Stress Relief Can Also Help Prevent Depressive Symptoms From Developing. Some Helpful Stress Management Techniques Include:
- 1. Getting Enough Sleep
- 2. Eating A Healthy Diet
- 3. Finding A Relaxing Hobby, Such As Gardening Or Woodworking
- 4. Doing Breathing Exercises To Lower Your Heart Rate
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Sociodemographic Factors And Prevalence Of Suicidality
Sample demographics are shown in . The MSM sample consisted largely of a young and midlife population with an average age of 31.6 years the majority were aged between 20 years and 29 years or 30 years and 39 years . Nearly two-thirds, 69.9%, had completed a 2-year college or higher degree. The unmarried rate was high nine out of 10 MSM reported having never married . Sixty-six percent of the sample self-identified as gay or homosexual, whereas 28.5% self-identified as bisexual. Only a small number identified as heterosexual or transgender . The number of participants who selected other or don’t know was very small , and it was suspected that these individuals were most likely bisexual. Only 20.9% of participants had come out , and 64.3% had no intention of doing so.
Recognizing Depression Symptoms In A Loved One
Family and friends are often the first line of defense in the fight against depression. Thats why its important to understand the signs and symptoms of depression. You may notice the problem in a depressed loved one before they do, and your influence and concern can motivate them to seek help.
Be concerned if your loved one:
Doesnt seem to care about anything anymore. Has lost interest in work, sex, hobbies, and other pleasurable activities. Has withdrawn from friends, family, and other social activities.
Expresses a bleak or negative outlook on life. Is uncharacteristically sad, irritable, short-tempered, critical, or moody talks about feeling helpless or hopeless.
Frequently complains of aches and pains such as headaches, stomach problems, and back pain. Or complains of feeling tired and drained all the time.
Sleeps less than usual or oversleeps. Has become indecisive, forgetful, disorganized, and out of it.
Eats more or less than usual, and has recently gained or lost weight.
Drinks more or abuses drugs, including prescription sleeping pills and painkillers, as a way to self-medicate how theyre feeling.
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Properly Charge Your Body Battery
Sometimes when people struggle with depression, it can be very challenging to practice good self-care. In fact, some people take better care of their smartphones and devices than they do their own bodies.
How often do you forget to charge your phone compared to how often you forget to properly nourish yourself or get adequate sleep?
Taking care of your body might sound like a common sense tip, but its too important for me to skip over.
When depression is high, logical thinking and energy levels tend to be low making it far too easy to neglect our bodies. And yet, taking good care of your body can really help to decrease depression. So how well are you taking care of your body battery? Lets take a look.
When people are depressed, it can often lead to a loss of appetite and/or overeating. How are you doing at lovingly nourishing your body? Are you making daily efforts to eat a balance of all the various food groups and stay properly hydrated? These are really important ways to manage blood sugar, energy levels, and depression.
One thing that helped me move my body when I was in my darkest days was to tell myself I could go for five minutes and if I wanted to stop, I could. Sometimes I stopped after five minutes, but most of the time it actually felt surprisingly good and I wanted to keep going.
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Curl Up With A Good Book
Open up a book and get lost in another place and time for a while. Pick a comfy spot , choose a good book, and spend some quiet time reading.
Sometimes the mind just needs a break from the stresses of everyday life, and reading is the perfect escape. Lose yourself for an afternoon in a Gothic romance, a thrilling mystery, a beloved classic, any world you choose. Relax and read some good books you love. You might just discover or rediscover a calming, enjoyable habit.
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Encouraging The Person To Get Help
While you cant control someone elses recovery from depression, you can start by encouraging the depressed person to seek help. Getting a depressed person into treatment can be difficult. Depression saps energy and motivation, so even the act of making an appointment or finding a doctor can seem daunting to your loved one. Depression also involves negative ways of thinking. The depressed person may believe that the situation is hopeless and treatment pointless.
Because of these obstacles, getting your loved one to admit to the problemand helping them see that it can be solvedis an essential step in depression recovery.
If your friend or family member resists getting help:
Suggest a general check-up with a physician. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctors visit is actually a great option, since the doctor can rule out medical causes of depression. If the doctor diagnoses depression, they can refer your loved one to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Sometimes, this professional opinion makes all the difference.
Offer to help the depressed person find a doctor or therapist and go with them on the first visit.Finding the right treatment provider can be difficult, and is often a trial-and-error process. For a depressed person already low on energy, it is a huge help to have assistance making calls and looking into the options.
The Risk Of Suicide Is Real
What to do in a crisis situation
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone.
In the U.S., dial 911 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
In other countries, call your countrys emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.
It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain theyre feeling.
Since suicide is a very real danger when someone is depressed, its important to know the warning signs:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, dont wait, talk to them about your concerns. Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a persons life, so speak up if youre concerned and seek professional help immediately!
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Upgrade Your Mind Mood
In my work with clients, I like to teach what I call three different mind moods:
- unkind mind,
- kind mind and
- quiet mind.
Theyre all pretty self-explanatory. But suffice it to say that an unkind mind dishes out negative and critical thoughts. A kind mind is when were thinking positively or kindly toward ourselves and others. And when were in a quiet mind mode, were simply in the present moment and our minds are at peace.
Lets say you become aware that your unkind mind has been running the show. Here you are going about your day and you become aware of thoughts like, why bother, things are hopeless, Ill always be depressed, Ill never be happy or everyone else has more fill in the blank.
Now youre at a crossroad. You can keep recycling and believing the thoughts that your unkind mind is dishing out, or you can make a conscious decision to either upgrade your thought to a kinder one or to quiet your mind by turning your attention to something that is actually factually present in the here and now, otherwise known as reality.
As you gain more awareness of your depressive thoughts and more willingness to upgrade them, you will start to get some breaks in the regularly played unkind mind programs.
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