Anxiety and depression affect 3.8 and 3.4% of the world population according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and reported in their flagship Global Burden of Disease study. These two mental health diseases are sometimes linked together but they are two different disorders.
Let’s look at both disorders, their symptoms, and tips to overcome them.
What Is Anxiety?
Do you feel anxious before a dental visit or starting something new? Have you gotten the jitters before speaking in front of a large group or sweaty palms when thinking about the future?
These are common reactions when faced with something that’s scary or unfamiliar and it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong.
However, some people suffer from a more severe form of anxiety that causes more serious physical symptoms.
To better understand if your anxious feelings could be a sign of an anxiety or panic disorder, let’s take a look at some of the symptoms:
1. If you feel your heart is racing and you can’t breathe correctly, this can be a symptom of anxiety that is severe enough for you to get professional help.
2. Some people have uncontrollable fears of things like crowded places, driving, or germs that cause complete avoidance of places or situations.
3. The consistent inability to concentrate can be a symptom of anxiety. This must be consistent behavior, and not just on those occasions when you lack sleep or are hungry, for instance.
4. Nervous behaviors, such as walking around the same area over and over again or twitching your fingers or toes repetitively, can be a symptom.
5. A feeling a doom or that something will happen to you, such as an accident, heart attack, or even death, can be symptoms of an anxiety disorder or panic disorder.
6. Numbness in your hands, fingers, toes, and legs or feeling like you can’t stand are also common symptoms.
7. If you find you have trouble swallowing or unusual dry mouth episodes, these may be indications of anxiety.
8. Fear of people around you and the desire to be alone are feelings that many anxiety sufferers face.
9. The inability to leave your home can be a symptom of a severe anxiety or panic disorder.
10. If your normal activities become overwhelming to you, you could be suffering from anxiety or a panic disorder.
The good news is these symptoms and conditions are no longer thought of as being something people shouldn’t reveal or talk about.
There’s help for you if you suffer from anxiety.
As scientists and the medical world become more informed about these disorders, more medications and other forms of relief are found to be effective in treating them. Relaxation techniques are very effective, as well as Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and can even be done at home or in the workplace.
Understanding your condition can help alleviate the stress and fear these panic attacks cause and will also help you find a solution to stopping the attacks altogether. Living life in fear of another panic attack will hold you hostage and prevent you from doing the things you love.
It’s important to stay in touch with your inner self to maintain balance and notice when there might be a problem.
If your anxiety is severe or causes you to panic, be sure to see a health professional. However, for day-to-day anxiety, there are natural ways you can reduce anxiety by yourself.
Here are some herbs, tips, and techniques you can use to alleviate your anxiety:
1. Passionflower. Passionflower is a popular herb that has been known to help reduce anxiety. For many, passionflower is as effective as some prescription drugs. It also helps with insomnia since anxiety and insomnia often go hand in hand.
2. Self-Hypnosis. Hypnosis can be a great way to relax and get in touch with your subconscious. Self-hypnosis enables you to perform techniques on yourself instead of requiring someone else’s assistance.
3. Proper Nutrition. Sometimes you may forget about the intense connection between how you feel and what you put into your body. Simply paying attention to getting a natural, well-balanced diet can help you reduce anxiety.
- If eating right is difficult for you, be sure to take a multivitamin and avoid chemicals, processed foods, and caffeine when possible.
4. Time Management. A hectic schedule can cause anxiety. Perhaps it’s time to drop some activities or manage your time in a more efficient fashion. Remember to schedule time for yourself to focus on activities that relax you.
5. St. John’s Wort. St. John’s Wort has been used as a supplement for centuries. It’s a natural herb that can help with both depression and anxiety. It’s best used for mild to moderate cases.
6. Acupuncture. Acupuncture is an ancient art that can reduce your anxiety by enabling you to feel calm and relaxed. It involves the use of thin needles that are used to relax your muscles.
7. Worry Time. If you feel that all you do is worry, it’s time to pick a worry time. Choose a period of the day — maybe 5 to 6 PM — where you allow yourself to worry as much as you want. Worrying is simply not allowed or tolerated during the rest of the day.
- Every time you feel worries arise during other times of the day, tell yourself that the worries have to wait for your worry time. You’ll soon find that you won’t really worry all that much during your worry time!
8. Exercise. Studies have shown that regular exercise can reduce anxiety. Exercise produces serotonin (the “feel good” hormone), relieves stress, increases oxygen levels throughout the body, and relaxes your muscles.
9. Meditation. Pick a time each day when you can meditate. Find a quiet, relaxing place and focus on your breathing while you relax. Next, immerse yourself in visualizing that you are living the life you desire. Meditation can relax, inspire, and motivate you.
10. Valerian Root. This is another natural anxiety herb. It’s an excellent choice if you also have trouble sleeping. Valerian root can be taken as a tea or a capsule and should be taken approximately two hours before you go to bed.
Whether you choose a natural herb, activity, or life change to reduce your anxiety, you’re making a good decision when you opt to go with a natural solution to your problem.
What is Depression?
If you ask a group of people who’ve suffered from clinical depression to define the illness, you’ll hear a variety of answers. Depression is a very personal experience that millions of people all over the world experience.
Different people manifest different symptoms, but one thing is certain: depression is a difficult illness that can destroy your life if left unresolved.
Many people with depression describe it as a sense of despair that engulfs everything they do and everything they feel.
If you think being depressed is akin to feeling sad because your favorite team just lost the championship game, you really have no idea what suffering from a true depression is like. Depression is much deeper and more invasive than sadness or frustration.
Depression takes everything away from you; it saps your energy, focus, concentration, and especially your joy. You just don’t care about anything; nothing matters and even the people you love become unimportant.
If you’re depressed for a long period of time, you become accustomed to the feeling and any other emotion becomes unfamiliar and even frightening.
Physical Concerns of Depression
Depression doesn’t only take its toll on your emotions and mental state; it can cause serious physical problems as well. Depression may cause you to either lose your appetite or eat incessantly. It also zaps your energy and motivation.
When you’re depressed, you tend to become inactive. This alone can cause a number of problems, but when added to some of the other physical side effects of depression, it’s easy to see why depression is such a serious illness.
In addition, depression can lead to:
1. Lack of sleep. Depression can cause insomnia, which strips the body of the necessary sleep to function properly.
2. Poor nutrition. When depressed, many people fail to take in proper nutrients. It takes too much effort to plan and prepare a meal. This can cause several health problems.
3. Aches and pains. If anyone tells you that your mental state has no effect on your physical state, they’re wrong. When you’re depressed, the chemicals in the brain that signal pain are as affected as the chemicals in your brain that help you feel happy.
· Physical aches and pains are increased, which in turn, kicks in the sad feelings and the cycle begins again.
4. Hygiene issues. Someone suffering from depression doesn’t have the energy or the motivation to be concerned with self-care.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
These are some specific things those with depression experience:
· Constant and severe sadness about everything
· Insomnia or trouble sleeping
· Trouble concentrating
· Loss of interest in things that once interested them
· Feeling worthless, useless and strangely guilty for no reason at all
· Serious change in weight, one way or the other
· Lack of energy and fatigue
One thing about depression is certain: it’s a serious condition and should be taken seriously.
As depression progresses, it feeds on itself like a snowball rolling downhill. The longer someone is depressed, the worse the depression gets until they see no way out of it at all. They become resigned to being miserable all the time.
Depression can be caused by a certain event, the change of seasons, a loss of someone close, or even a chemical imbalance in the brain. The treatment for depression usually involves counseling or medication that helps alter brain chemistry.
If you know someone who is depressed, the best thing you can do is be his or her friend. Talk to them and help them through this period. Help them seek medical care to treat their illness.
If you think you may be depressed, talk to a health care provider. Depression doesn’t have to ruin your life! With help and support, you can conquer your depression, move past it, and go on to live a joyful life.
Quick Tips to Battle Depression
While depression is a serious illness, you can fight back against it and win if you know what to do when it strikes. If your depression is severe, however, it’s important to seek the advice of a physician.
Most people with depression, though, have a mild to moderate form, and they can do a lot to help themselves. By using some tips and tricks to get through depressive episodes, you can feel better and look forward to life.
Handling Depression on Your Own
Conquering your depression is possible, so avoid giving in to the fear that you won’t be able to handle it. Success often comes from believing in what you’re trying to accomplish.
People who succeed keep pressing forward, even if they’re scared or things look difficult. They continue to work because they know there are great rewards awaiting them. You can have those rewards, too!
These strategies will help you reclaim your life back from depression:
1. Focus on the positive. Each one of us has something good in this life. Even if it’s only the fact that we’re still alive, it matters! It’s a beginning point to work from. Make a list of everything good in your life. Take time to think about it, and you’ll come up with more than you expect.
· Small things count, too, like the beautiful sunrise you saw this morning or an unexpected smile from a stranger.
2. Know who your friends are. Spend your time with people who share positive attitudes, goals, and beliefs. These kinds of people can help raise your spirits when times are tough.
· If you’re religious, your church is a good place to find supportive people.
· If you’re not a religious person, there are plenty of groups, both online and offline, where you’ll find like-minded, happy, positive, and supportive influences. Search in your community or do an online search for forums with your interests.
· Get involved in a support group for people with depression. These people, like you, are finding ways to conquer their depression.
3. Get moving! Exercise is one of the best ways to feel better. You’ll have more energy and it’s a great mood-booster as well. Start small if you need to, but work your way up to 3–5 times of focused exercise per week.
· With exercise as a part of your regular routine, you’ll feel like smiling again. Your desire to have hobbies, friendships and life experiences will come flowing back!
4. Pay attention to what you’re eating. A lot of fatty, high-calorie foods can make you feel sluggish. If you’re feeling depressed, these “comfort foods” can make you tired and increase your desire to remain on the couch. Instead, have something healthy like fresh fruits and vegetables.
· Avoid changing your diet drastically all at once because that’s more difficult to stick to. Just start making small changes. You’ll be surprised how much of an effect it has on you, and in such a short period of time, too.
There’s Even More You Can Do To Conquer Depression
You can feel better more quickly if you’re dedicated to making changes in your life. These changes can start out small so you feel comfortable making them. For example, if you use positive affirmations each day when you wake up, soon enough your subconscious will believe it and you’ll realize that you really are waking up feeling good.
Say positive things when you wake up, before you go to bed at night, and any time you just need a boost. It may seem strange to you, but your mind just might start to internalize and believe them.
These positive statements, or affirmations, can change your life, one thought at a time.
The things you tell yourself often become reality; therefore you can choose to make your reality a good one. Make a commitment today to feeling better and you’ll soon start to see your depression fade into a memory of the past. Of course, ensure you consult with your doctor and health professionals before making any drastic lifestyle changes.
If you need more strategies to overcome anxiety and depression, check out my free guide: Anxiety and Depression: 7 Strategies that Works.
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