Breathing And Relaxation Exercises
Many people find exercises that focus on breathing and muscle relaxation to be helpful in relieving stress. The playlist below will help you to understand how stress works and start feeling better. These exercises can be done anywhere and are designed to help you feel more relaxed in general, as well as helping you feel calmer if you are becoming stressed.
This playlist is free to download, and you can also stream it using the Soundcloud website or app. You can download and listen to individual tracks if there are particular exercises that work best for you. If you’re listening to it for the first time, it’s best to start from the beginning.
To access a BSL version of this playlist, .
Find out more by checking out these 10 stress busters.
What Does Stress Mean
Stress is a normal physiological response to an abnormal situation. As such, it is part and parcel of our lives. It enables our body to adapt to the multiplicity of positive and negative events that we experience, like a birth, marriage, loss of employment, etc. Stress comes and goes on its own, depending of what factors are involved. For example, if you feel stressed on the job but less so at home in the evening or on the weekend, we could deduce that the stressors are work-related.
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Anxiety, depression and stress just about everyone feels these emotions at some time. All are common reactions to lifes challenges, from losing a loved one to going through a divorce. On the surface they can look a lot alike, but there are distinct differences.
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What Can I Do About My Stress
Identifying the trigger and taking steps to breakdown a big problem into smaller parts that are easier to address is a good place to start. Organise your time and ensure you factor in breaks. Try to set yourself realistic goals and recognise that sometimes there will be things that you cant change.
Ensure that you look after your physical health by sleeping and eating well. Avoid smoking or drinking alcohol where possible and try to take some exercise.
Talk to someone such as a friend or relative and involve your line manager if necessary at work. The Citizens Advice Bureau can also provide practical help for some problems.
Develop your resilience by becoming more assertive, using relaxation or meditation techniques, re-evaluating your work-life balance and allocating more time for yourself even if it doesnt feel like a priority at the time.
Onset Of Depression More Complex Than A Brain Chemical Imbalance
It’s often said that depression results from a chemical imbalance, but that figure of speech doesn’t capture how complex the disease is. Research suggests that depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems. It’s believed that several of these forces interact to bring on depression.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
With this level of complexity, you can see how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and therefore what treatments will work best, may be entirely different.
What follows is an overview of the current understanding of the major factors believed to play a role in the causes of depression.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Stress Overload
The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You dont notice how much its affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. Thats why its important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.
- Other mental or emotional health problems
- Chest pain, rapid heart rate
- Loss of sex drive
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Withdrawing from others
- Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
- Nervous habits
Effects Of Stress On Depression
While stress can generally have negative effects on your physical and mental health, it can be especially harmful if you have depression.
Stress can make you feel less able to maintain positive habits or coping strategies, which are important to managing depression. This can make symptoms of depression feel more intense. Interrupting a healthy routine can result in negative coping strategies, such as drinking or withdrawing from social relationships. These actions can result in further stress, which can then make depression symptoms worse.
Stress can also affect your mood, as anxiety and irritability are both common responses to stress. When a stressor causes you to feel anxious, the anxiety may result in more negative feelings or frustration, even if the stressor is only temporary.
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:
- getting enough sleep
- consuming less caffeine or alcohol
- doing breathing exercises to lower your heart rate
If lifestyle choices are causing you stress, you may consider changing the way you approach your personal or professional life. Some ways you can help decrease this kind of stress include:
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Regions That Affect Mood
Increasingly sophisticated forms of brain imaging such as positron emission tomography , single-photon emission computed tomography , and functional magnetic resonance imaging permit a much closer look at the working brain than was possible in the past. An fMRI scan, for example, can track changes that take place when a region of the brain responds during various tasks. A PET or SPECT scan can map the brain by measuring the distribution and density of neurotransmitter receptors in certain areas.
Use of this technology has led to a better understanding of which brain regions regulate mood and how other functions, such as memory, may be affected by depression. Areas that play a significant role in depression are the amygdala, the thalamus, and the hippocampus .
Research shows that the hippocampus is smaller in some depressed people. For example, in one fMRI study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, investigators studied 24 women who had a history of depression. On average, the hippocampus was 9% to 13% smaller in depressed women compared with those who were not depressed. The more bouts of depression a woman had, the smaller the hippocampus. Stress, which plays a role in depression, may be a key factor here, since experts believe stress can suppress the production of new neurons in the hippocampus.
The Gut Microbiota Can Influence Stress Reactivity And Mood
Through their communication with the vagus nerve and neurotransmitter release, the gut microbiota may play a role in stress responding. In a functional neuroimaging study of 40 women, certain bacterial profiles tracked with patterns of brain activation following exposure to emotional stimuli . Randomized controlled trials featuring probiotics suggest a causal link between the gut microbiota and stress responding. Probiotic supplementation improved sleep, autonomic balance, and bowel habits and reduced stress and cortisol levels in Japanese medical students . Moreover, after one month of drinking a probiotic-containing fermented milk product, healthy women had less activity in emotion and sensation brain loci when exposed to emotional stimuli .
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How Are Stress And Depression Different
stress tends to resolve if life events change vsdepression can last up to years
stress tends to have an obvious trigger vs depression can hit out of nowhere
stress is related to life events vs depression can happen even if life seems fine
stress is related to current events vsdepression can be linked to unresolved past events
stress can cause depression or anxiety disorders if left untreated vs depression can cause suicidal thoughts if left untreated
stress leads to adrenaline highs followed by crashes vs depression leads to fatigue
stress is socially acceptable and even encouraged vs depression still, sadly, bears social stigma
stress at very high levels has risk of heart attack vs depression at high levels has risk of suicide
low stress can be okay and keep you motivated vs low depression can still be debilitating
How Would I Know If My Stress Was Turning Into Depression Or Anxiety
If the original trigger that caused your stress settles down or disappears but your behaviour, feelings and physical symptoms persist it may be a sign of depression or anxiety. If you find that you are still feeling sad, have a loss of appetite, are sleeping poorly, or you find your concentration is affected for more than two weeks – especially if the stressful trigger has passed – this may be a clue that you are becoming depressed. Read more: Comedian Limmy opens up about depression
If, however, you’re experiencing symptoms of feeling afraid, panicked, irritable or restless for more than two weeks this may point to anxiety. Most crucially, if you are taking little enjoyment in life, starting to feel worthless, having thoughts of harming yourself or start to consider that life is not worth living this is a sign that you should seek urgent help.
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What Can I Do If I Think I Am Anxious Depressed Or Suicidal
If you think you are depressed or anxious, or you need help with managing your stress the best thing to do is to book an appointment with your GP. They will assess you then discuss the likely diagnosis before looking at treatment options such as self-help advice, time off work, therapy or medication. If you are having thoughts about ending your life it is important that you seek help urgently. This may be with your GP, the Samaritans or in some instances, if necessary, by calling the NHS 111 Service.
Ways To Relieve Stress
Its often difficult to know the difference between stress and depression for most people. Unresolved stress might lead to depression. Either way, if the feelings continue, its important to see a doctor to get a proper assessment to begin the road to treatment and recovery.
Most of the time stress and depression can be managed, and in many cases, the symptoms can be alleviated completely.
As Stress Awareness Month in April kicks off, take the opportunity to get ahead of the game and educate yourself about stress.
In October during Depression Awareness Month, youll have the necessary tools to help others and yourself.
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Where Can I Get More Help And Information
The following advice is as accurate and as comprehensive as possible but it is only general advice and should not be used as a substitute for the individual advice you might receive from consulting your own doctor.
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The Brain’s Impact On Depression
Popular lore has it that emotions reside in the heart. Science, though, tracks the seat of your emotions to the brain. Certain areas of the brain help regulate mood. Researchers believe that more important than levels of specific brain chemicals nerve cell connections, nerve cell growth, and the functioning of nerve circuits have a major impact on depression. Still, their understanding of the neurological underpinnings of mood is incomplete.
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Everything You Need To Know About Stress Depression And Anxiety
20 March, 2019
We hear these three words more and more often. The truth is that these days theyre the most common disorders out there. Stress, depression and anxiety can appear by themselves or together. But its important to identify the warning signs for each of these problems because fortunately, you can get help.
What Do Stress And Depression Have In Common
- both are individual
- they affect your energy levels
- they affect your moods
- you might feel less interested in socialising with friends and family
- they both can feel overwhelming
- you might not be able to concentrate
- both affect the bodys stress response mechanism
- both have been found to affect the brain in similar ways
Stress and depression are also similar in the ways they can be dealt with effectively. While there is no one size fits all way for either to improve, or a quick cure, both respond well to treatment. Both, for starters, can be helped by self-care . Both respond well to talking therapies, and there is increasing evidence that mindfulnessis also helpful for sufferers of either or both.
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How Stress Affects The Body
Stress can be defined as an automatic physical response to any stimulus that requires you to adjust to change. Every real or perceived threat to your body triggers a cascade of stress hormones that produces physiological changes. We all know the sensations: your heart pounds, muscles tense, breathing quickens, and beads of sweat appear. This is known as the stress response.
The stress response starts with a signal from the part of your brain known as the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus joins the pituitary gland and the adrenal glands to form a trio known as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which governs a multitude of hormonal activities in the body and may play a role in depression as well.
When a physical or emotional threat looms, the hypothalamus secretes corticotropin-releasing hormone , which has the job of rousing your body. Hormones are complex chemicals that carry messages to organs or groups of cells throughout the body and trigger certain responses. CRH follows a pathway to your pituitary gland, where it stimulates the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone , which pulses into your bloodstream. When ACTH reaches your adrenal glands, it prompts the release of cortisol.
The boost in cortisol readies your body to fight or flee. Your heart beats faster up to five times as quickly as normal and your blood pressure rises. Your breath quickens as your body takes in extra oxygen. Sharpened senses, such as sight and hearing, make you more alert.
Managing Stress In Daily Life
Stress is not an illness itself, but it can cause serious illness if it isn’t addressed. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of stress early. Recognising the signs and symptoms of stress will help you figure out ways of coping and save you from adopting unhealthy coping methods, such as drinking or smoking.
There is little you can do to prevent stress, but there are many things you can do to manage stress more effectively, such as learning how to relax, taking regular exercise and adopting good time-management techniques.
Studies have found that mindfulness courses, where participants are taught simple meditations across a series of weeks, can also help to reduce stress and improve mood.
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Get Help At Aayu Clinics
When you want help dealing with any of the above conditions, Aayu Clinics is the depression and adhd testing clinics in Chicago you can trust. From yoga wellness anxiety support to depression counseling in Chicago, we have proven anxiety and depression treatment methods to help you. Come to any of our locations to receive personalized, responsive care, quickly and efficiently, from board-certified physicians committed to you.
When Should I Seek Help
Generally speaking, overcoming reactions to stress, anxiety and depression is possible. Still, some unease may persist for some weeks or months, and even worsen. The following may be signs that your state of health is deteriorating.
These signs may mean that your personal resources no longer suffice to manage your worries on a daily basis. Seeking help could be beneficial.
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Is There A Difference Between Stress And Depression
Last Updated on September 4, 2019 by Inspire Malibu
Identifying the difference between symptoms of depression and stress can be tricky. There are certain overlaps that might lead a person to think theyre just stressed out when, in fact, theyre suffering from depression and vice versa.
Knowing the difference between stress and depression will help clear the path toward proper treatment.
In broad strokes, stress is usually situational or environmental and often a small change can alleviate the problem.
Depression, on the flipside, can develop in response to unresolved past issues, and sometimes occurs while life is seemingly great and last for weeks, months or even years. It is an illness that can also be caused by medical conditions, genetics, and yes, stress.
Both depression and stress are incredibly common. There are hundreds of surveys about stressed-out Americans because dealing with stress is synonymous with being human.
Young people of all ages feel stressed about school. Adults experience stress due to work and family, their health, the health of their loved ones and the economy.
Its virtually impossible to avoid stress and important to know that not all stress is bad. Chronic untreated stress, however, is not healthy. It can lead to a host of physical and psychological issues and, left untreated, develop into full-blown depression.
What Are The Treatments For Depression
Many helpful treatments for depression are available. Treatment for depression can help reduce symptoms and shorten how long the depression lasts. Treatment can include getting therapy and/or taking medications. Your doctor or a qualified mental health professional can help you determine what treatment is best for you.
- Therapy. Many people benefit from psychotherapyalso called therapy or counseling.7,8 Most therapy lasts for a short time and focuses on thoughts feelings and issues that are happening in your life now. In some cases understanding your past can help but finding ways to address what is happening in your life now can help you cope and prepare you for challenges in the future.With therapy, youll work with your therapist to learn skills to help you cope with life, change behaviors that are causing problems and find solutions. Do not feel shy or embarrassed about talking openly and honestly about your feelings and concerns. This is an important part of getting better.Some common goals of therapy include:
- Getting healthier
- Making sense of past painful events
- Identifying things that worsen your depression
- Having better relationships with family and friends
- Understanding why something bothers you and creating a plan to deal with it
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