Life is bound to have highs and lows, but sometimes the lows seem to overwhelm, and it becomes difficult to just snap out of feelings of sadness or anxiety. Stress and sadness are indeed a natural part of life, but sometimes, certain factors can make you susceptible to developing more serious anxiety or depression.
In Illinois, approximately 5.4% of the population suffered from severe mental health issues in 2012, which is higher than the national average rate of 4%. A study conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic showed that 14% of the participants had anxiety and 15% suffered from depression.
Mental health has always been a major issue, but only recently has it come to light. Unlike physical health, mental illness has long been stigmatized and neglected. Many psychologically disturbed individuals cannot get the help they need. However, the situation today is much better.
On many different platforms, trained psychologists are there to advise individuals about ways to improve their mental health. The following are some useful ways to rid yourself of anxiety and depression:
- Don’t hesitate to seek help
It is as logical to seek professional support for a mental health concern as it is to visit the doctor when you have an upset stomach, no matter what others say. People might think that you should be able to snap out of feelings of anxiety or depression on your own, but know that it is not always possible, and that is perfectly okay.
Getting support always helps, and you will find numerous facilities where you can get such assistance. Here experienced doctors and nurses offer treatment packages tailored specifically to your case. The Chicago ketamine clinic introduced a new kind of treatment for depression, anxiety, and related disorders using Ketamine IV infusions. Traditional treatment for anxiety and depression fuses the use of antidepressants with psychotherapy.
Either way, seeking professional help will make things a lot easier.
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Yes! As surprising as it might sound, physical activity is a great way to counter depression and anxiety. On days you feel like staying in bed and doing nothing, getting out is just what you need to do! Exercise can work wonders not only for your physical health but also your mental health.
Unfortunately, statistics reveal that around a quarter of adults in Illinois (24.3%) didn’t engage in any physical activity other than their job for the past month. One major reason for this in Chicago is that people don’t feel safe leaving their residences to go for a walk. However, there are many other ways to have an active lifestyle.
Research has proven regular exercise to be as effective as any medication for treating depressive symptoms and helps reduce the chances of relapse. Incorporating only as much as 30 minutes of exercise a day will help you improve your symptoms. Another research proved that only two days a week of aerobic exercise helped the lower perception of stress in students and improved self-reported depression. Other studies have shown exercise to help improve mood and tackle sleep disturbances.
- Minimize screen-time
It might come as a surprise, but research has proven a link between screen time and the risk of suicide, suicidal ideation, and depression. Today, unfortunately, smartphones, tablets, computers, etc., have become more or less a part of life, and it is hard to imagine a world without them. It has become part and parcel of employment, education, and entertainment.
While it is true in some situations, you cannot discard the screens; you should certainly attempt to limit their use; numerous studies have shown that excessive use of smartphones causes increased stress and raises the likelihood of mental health disorders.
Too much time with electronic devices generally affects psychological well-being, which holds true for children and adults. It also contributes to sleep disturbances which in turn increase stress levels.
- Cut down on caffeine
Leave, or even reduce your intake of tea or coffee? It sure sounds like a huge demand, but you will see a tremendous positive impact on your overall well-being. Fortunately, you don’t have to boycott caffeine altogether. It depends on your threshold of tolerance. When caffeine makes you jittery and anxious, you should reduce your intake.
Caffeine is known to contribute to feelings of anxiousness and disturb sleep. For people who are more sensitive to it, anxiousness might also result from much less consumption, so keep in mind your personal tolerance level. It is also true that caffeine in moderation might be healthy, but the recommended intake is no more than 400g a day; this translates into 4-5 cups of coffee daily.
- Acknowledge and counter negative thoughts
One major contributor to both anxiety and depression is erroneous thinking. The problem arises when you consider yourself helpless and without control over things, jump to conclusions, and condemn yourself. You must challenge your troubling thoughts or cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are inaccurate and faulty beliefs with characteristic negativity.
Many people, every once in a while, experience cognitive distortion. For those who have developed a habit of it, hopelessness sets in. Some common cognitive distortions you need to look out for and change are catastrophic thinking, not taking credit for positive events, reasoning with emotions, labeling yourself negatively, and mentally filtering information.
When you identify any of these, put these thoughts on the witness stand; question whether the evidence supports the thoughts and whether there are other possible ways to interpret the situation.
- Don’t forget to get enough daily sunlight
Sunlight is a wonderful natural mood booster; it helps increase serotonin levels, also called the ‘happy hormone’ in your body, and enhances mood. Unfortunately, there are times of the year when Chicago gets unbearably gloomy, and there have been times when it was very close to going nine days straight without the sun.
It is reported that a lack of exposure to sunlight can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder. Therefore, go for a walk whenever you can, ensure your house has enough natural light, and try to shift to a place where winters have at least some sunshine.
Mental health is still somewhat taboo in society, though the situation is much better than before. It is time we address our mental health with as much vigilance as we do our physical well-being. Exercise regularly, minimize screen time, reduce caffeine intake, counter negative thoughts, and get enough of the sun. You will see positive outcomes in no time. If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression, don’t hesitate to seek help.
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