In this fast-evolving world, depression and anxiety seem not to be inevitable, as people tend to become worried and anxious over nothing. Both usually occur together and according to a 2015 research published by the National Institute of Health, it was found that 41.6 percent of people reported having both major depression and an anxiety disorder during the same 12-month period.
Depression and anxiety are both mood disorders that can spring forth from different sources and have different signs and symptoms.
Depression is a mental and mood disorder that leads to persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest, and despair, often accompanied by suicidal thoughts, social withdrawals, etc., while anxiety leads to excessive worry, fear, and nervousness, often accompanied by physical symptoms like rapid heart rate and restlessness.
Depression and anxiety may arise due to trauma, mental illness, stress, chronic illness and academic failure, to mention but a few. These are how to deal with depression and anxiety, if you are suffering from them: Change of lifestyle, seeking professional help and medication.
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression And Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can make you lose your mind and you might think nothing will work. Depression can render you useless. It can also lead to low productivity or work output. If you see the following signs or indications, it means that either you or someone else is suffering from depression and anxiety.
You might feel sad and empty. You might also feel hopeless for most of the day and nearly every day. This, in particular, is an indication of depression.
You always feel tired. You can also experience a lack of vigor and motivation, even for simple tasks. This is an indication that you are suffering from either depression or anxiety.
You might feel worried or anxious about different issues. These issues may be how to pay school fees, house rent, or how to become like your financially stable colleagues. These might also spring forth from unnecessary things. This is a sign that you are suffering from anxiety.
Lack Of Concentration
You might find it difficult to concentrate. You might be unable to focus on tasks, make decisions and remember things. This is an indication that you might be suffering from anxiety or depression.
You are easily agitated, and restless. Most times, you become short-tempered. This is a sign that you are suffering from depression or anxiety.
This is when there is a rapid episode of severe fear or panic, often accompanied by a pounding heart, sweating, and shaking. It is a sign or an indicator.
How to deal with depression and anxiety
These are ways you can deal with depression and anxiety.
1. Challenge Negative Thoughts
For a depressed soul, negative thoughts are like food. Negative thoughts like ‘’I am a failure, I am useless and I have no reason to live again.’’ For you, it becomes an unconscious habit. Challenge those bad thoughts in your mind with positive ones.
Change your mindset with positive affirmations (Frequently stand in the mirror and say positive things to yourself). Every time those negative thoughts come ringing in your mind, say these words (“I am beautiful,” “I am great, I am fearfully and wonderfully made”) and constantly rebuke those bad thoughts in Jesus’ name. Sure, it works. And you’d be free.
Avoid overgeneralization and assumptions about things; these can fuel negative thought patterns. This is one of the most effective ways to deal with depression and anxiety.
2. Do What Gives You Joy
Depression and anxiety can make you forget what you once loved and make you give in to fatigue. It can make you channel your energy to negativity. It is advised that to conquer depression and anxiety, engage in activities that you love. Channel those energies into something that will lift your spirit and lighten your mood. Things like going out with friends, traveling, baking, writing, singing, listening to music, or dancing. Do something pleasurable and intriguing. This is one of the best steps on how to deal with depression and anxiety.
3. Talk To A Loved One
Depression can make you withdraw from people and begin to spend more time alone. This single act can lead to suicidal thoughts. Resist that temptation and talk to someone you love and trust. Spend them with them.
Express your feelings, voice out your anger, and lean on their shoulder and cry if you want to. Having someone to ‘talk to’ will help relieve you of the pains in your heart and heal you faster.
Their little pat on the shoulder, calm words, and encouragement can quench the fire burning in your heart. Be happy, you deserve one. This is a better step on how to deal with depression and anxiety.
4. Limit Those Things That Stresses You (Stressors)
Limit any activity or thing that stresses you. Stressors can be workload, money issues, toxic relationships, and low self-esteem. Ensure you identify them and do away with them; it can be by setting boundaries or making changes to your routine life. This is one of the ways you can deal with anxiety and depression.
5. Seek Professional Help Or A Therapist
Depression and anxiety can affect you mentally, and consulting a mental health professional or a therapist can be the best way to deal with them. The therapist might suggest some treatment or therapy, like cognitive and talk therapy or any other psychotherapy that can enable you to learn skills that will help you cope, challenge negative thoughts, and build a healthy mind lifestyle.
This might help alleviate the symptoms that come with it. A medical doctor might suggest some medications. These medications may include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and mood stabilizers. He might suggest other treatment options like supplements, acupuncture, and hypnotherapy.
7. Practice Mindfulness And Relaxation Techniques
Depression and anxiety can affect your energy and motivation. This is one of the most effective steps on how to deal with depression and anxiety. Daily relaxation and mindfulness techniques include daily meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, and deep breathing. This can reduce your stress, make you happy and boost your health.
8. Eat A Balanced And Healthy Food
Depression and anxiety can make you grow lean and look malnourished. One of the best steps on how to deal with depression and anxiety and live a longer life is to eat healthy meals. Take whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, sardines, e.t.c and whole grains.
Avoid or reduce the intake of caffeine, alcohol, refined sugars, and processed foods as they can worsen your situation, especially the physical symptoms that come with depression and anxiety.
9. Get Enough Sleep
It is no longer news that individuals suffering from depression and anxiety have sleep disorders. Some sleep too much, while others find it hard to sleep, this can exacerbate depression and anxiety. Hence, experts recommend that most adults sleep each night between 7 and 9 hours to improve their health.
To develop good sleeping habits, you can achieve them by sleeping and waking at the same time every day, turning off electronic devices an hour before bedtime, and keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet. This is one of the most effective steps on how to deal with depression and anxiety.
10. Create A Good Routine
Creating a well-structured routine daily can help you maintain stability. Ian Cook, a psychiatrist and director of the depression research and clinic program at UCLA says, ‘’If you’re depressed, you need a routine. Creating a routine also makes you feel in control.
Although it is good to create a routine, it is also important to create good ones and change bad ones. This might be: Waking up at a specific time, eating at a particular time, meeting your doctor at the normal check-up time regularly and going out with friends or calling a friend.
Create a routine list and stick to it. You can also set realistic daily goals instead of a long list of tasks and dissect them into bits or smaller goals. Do not set goals that will leave you frustrated and depressed as a result of your inability to accomplish them.
Creating a routine helps to increase the dopamine ( a chemical the body produces specifically in the brain that makes one feel good) level which reduces depression.
11. Increased Intake Of Water
You might be wondering why this is included in the list. Reduced intake of water aids depression and anxiety but increased intake of water helps keep your body hydrated and healthy. It removes toxins, enhances clear thinking, and improves internal organ functioning.
According to research, an adult needs about 2-3 quarts of liquid daily for a healthy life. Keeping your body healthy aids in the reduction of feelings of depression. This is an important step on how to deal with depression and anxiety.
12. Engage In Laughter
Sounds awkward right? Anything that increases your dopamine levels automatically reduces your feelings of depression and engaging in such activities daily helps you a lot. Laughter is one of them.
Engaging in activities like watching comedy movies, reading jokes, laughing with others, and thinking of funny things that might have happened in the past can result in laughter.
13. Practice Gratitude
Sounds simple, right? But it is not. Practice a ritual of gratitude and have a daily gratitude list. In this list, write down things you are grateful for daily, like the food you ate, the tasks you were able to accomplish, the sudden bank alert, free ride or transport fare, etc.
Gratitude takes you from a place of despondency to a place of hopefulness and happiness. Just by taking note of things you appreciate, your focus can be shifted from negativity, your depression reduced and your mood lightened.
Depression and anxiety make you feel hopeless, and worthless, drains your vitality, and makes it difficult for you to take any steps to improve yourself. Depression, in particular when not dealt with, can lead to death. Hence, you must take steps on how to deal with depression and anxiety to get free and maximize your potential. You are born to be great and you deserve a good life.