How to deal with depression and stress

Depression

If you are feeling hopeless or helpless persistently, it is the most common symptom of depression. Some other feelings may include worthlessness, self-hate, or inappropriate guilt. You may have recurring thoughts  like, “It’s all my fault,” or “What’s the point?”

Depression can be caused by a mix of many factors such as genetics, brain chemicals and your life situation. Chronic stressful situations can sometimes trigger developing depression if you aren’t coping with the stress well.

Research suggests that depression doesn’t mean chemical imbalance in your brain. For most people stressful life events, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause of depression. 

The percentage of adults who experienced depression was highest in the age group of 18–29 (21.0%), followed by those 45–64 (18.4%) and 65 and over (18.4%), and lastly, by those aged 30–44 (16.8%). Women are more at greater risk than men to experience mild to moderate, or severe symptoms of depression.

Depression not only makes a person feel sad, dejected and feeling of worthlessness. It can also damage the brain permanently, so the person with depression has difficulty remembering and concentrating even after full recovery. Up to 20 percent of depression patients never make a full recovery.

What Are the Main Causes of Depression?

  • Abuse. Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse is one of the major causes of depression later in life.
  • Age. People who are elderly are at higher risk of depression. 
  • Certain medications. 
  • Conflict. 
  • Death or a loss. 

The symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent low mood or sadness.
  • Feeling hopeless and helpless.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Feeling tearful.
  • Unwanted guilt-ridden.
  • Irritable and intolerant.
  • No motivation to do anything.
  • Difficulty in making decisions.

Stress 

Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous. Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline.

Stress describes a person’s physical or emotional response to the demands or pressures of daily life. Common causes of stress include work, money, relationships and illness. Significant events like the Covid-19 pandemic

Work related stress one of the major cause of stress 

Job stress is one of the major reasons for stress in modern times. It can happen when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources, or needs of the worker. Job stress can lead to poor health, even injury and in the long run lead to chronic stress and depression. 

Some of the factors that commonly cause work-related stress include:

  • Working Long hours without break.
  • Heavy and tough workload.
  • Changes within the organisation.
  • Tight deadlines and schedules.
  • Frequent changes in duties.
  • Job insecurity.
  • Lack of autonomy.

What are the warning signs and symptoms of stress?

  • Chest pain and  increased heart rate.
  • Pain in the body particularly shoulder, neck or back pain.
  • Frequent headaches.
  • Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling tired, anxious, depressed.

Stress and depression can negatively impact relationships.

Oftentimes, people keep their stress and depression to themselves, which makes it difficult for their partners to understand what they are going through and to provide support. Not dealing with stress can create a negative cycle which further increases the stress. 

Stress and depression negatively impacts your personal lives in many ways, affecting the quality of our close relationships. When you are stressed, you become more withdrawn and less affectionate. You also spend less time  on leisure activities, which leads to alienation between partners.

Stress and depression  can negatively impact your romantic feelings for your partner which can lead to divorce. If your partner doesn’t desire you because you are stressed, this means they don’t love you anymore.

Chronic stress can lead to depression

Chronic stress can be really harmful on its own, but it can also contribute to depression. Depression can then affect your appetite, your sleep habits, and your ability to concentrate.

Stress can affect your physical health and can lead to chronic conditions

  • Suppress immune system. It suppresses your immune system, upsets your digestive and reproductive systems, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speeds up the aging process. It can also affect your brain, leaving you more at risk of anxiety and depression.
  • Increase blood pressure. Stress increases blood pressure and cholesterol, which can increase your risk of stroke and heart disease. 
  • Cause heart problem. For people with heart disease, depression can increase the risk of heart attack or blood clots. Even if you do not have heart disease, depression can also increase the risk. 
  • Reduce mental ability. Stress and depression can cause memory problems, confusion, difficulty concentrating that reduce your mental ability to work. 

Alcoholism can negatively affect your stress

Some people take refuge in alcohol to manage stress. But chronic alcoholism can seriously impair your mental abilities. Alcohol can also cause memory loss by interacting with medications. Researchers also found that stress can limit the processes in the brain’s learning and memory region. 

How to deal with your  stress and depression

Having a hobby can improve stress and depression

Spending time on an activity that you enjoy can improve your mental health and wellbeing. Research shows that people with hobbies are less likely to suffer from stress, low mood, and depression. Activities that get you out and about can make you feel happier and more relaxed.

Hobbies bring a sense of fun and freedom to life that can help to minimize the impact of chronic stress. Those who feel overwhelmed at a job, for example, can benefit from hobbies because they provide an outlet for stress and something to look forward to after a hard day (or week) at a stressful job.

Some helpful stress management techniques include:

  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Eating a healthy diet.
  • Getting regular exercise.
  • Taking occasional vacations or regular breaks from work.
  • Finding a relaxing hobby, such as gardening or woodworking.
  • Consuming less caffeine or alcohol.
  • Doing breathing exercises to lower your heart rate.

Exercise positively impact Stress and Depression

  • Exercise eases symptoms of stress and depression Working out and other forms of physical activity ease symptoms of depression or stress and make you feel better. Exercise may also help keep depression and anxiety from coming back once you’re feeling better.
  • Improves fitness thus makes you resilient. Almost any form of exercise or movement can increase your fitness level while decreasing your stress. The most important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy. 
  • Be persistent to reap benefits. Exercise isn’t a one time deal, and you’re smart enough to know that benefits accrue over time. But committing to a whole new routine may feel completely impossible when you’re struggling with depression and even very small tasks become harder.
  • Exercise can sometimes be a treatment for some people. Research shows that exercise is also an effective treatment. For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn’t enough for someone with severe depression,” 
  • Regular exercise boosts mood. If you have depression, it’s especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. Any type of exercise is useful, as long as it suits you and you do enough of it.

Sex can be effective tool against stress and  depression 

Sex boosts serotonin, which helps improve your mood and fight off depression. Additionally, one of the hormones released during orgasm is serotonin, leaving you feeling soothed from stress and anxiety. A lack of sex can be harmful, causing your self-worth and confidence to plummet.

Sex also offers a temporary but feel-good diversion: Sex lets your mind wander away from the stress and anxiety that you face daily. Concentrating on various aspects of the sex, such as the touch, the position, and foreplay can take your mind off your current depressive state and ease your mental burden.

Due to this sexy cocktail of hormones and endorphins created via intimacy, sex can assist in lowering feelings of anxiety and depression, while also helping to boost our confidence and self-worth.

Laughter a potent weapon against Stress and Depression

Laughter also reduces the stress chemicals in your brain and increases the amount of oxygen flowing through your brain and body, which is great for your mental health. Laughing can even turn a negative experience into a positive one and can brighten your mood for the rest of the day. 

 Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain. 

When you laugh, your heart rate increases, and you take many deep breaths. This means that more oxygenated blood is circulated through your body – improving your vascular function. Thus reduce your risk of a heart disease.

Vitamins role in stress and depression 

  • Vitamin B-3 and Vitamin B-9 can help people with depression because B vitamins help the brain manage moods. 
  • Vitamin D, melatonin and St. John’s Wort is generally recommended for seasonal depression. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium may also help you overcome depression in some cases.
  • The stress hormone cortisol quickly depletes vitamin C. Even for people who aren’t known to have low vitamin C levels, taking a vitamin C supplement might help their mood. In some studies, participants reported that vitamin C lowered their anxiety levels.
  • Low levels of B-12 and other B vitamins such as vitamin B-6 and folate may be linked to depression. Eating a  diet rich in B-12 and B-6 is recommended for depression.

Foods to eat to help reduce stress

  • Nuts. 
  • Fatty fish. 
  • Eggs.
  • Pumpkin seeds. 
  • Dark chocolate. 
  • Turmeric. 
  • Chamomile.
  • Yogurt.

Supplements  role in reducing stress

Several supplements have been linked to reduced stress symptoms, including Rhodiola rosea, melatonin, glycine, and ashwagandha. L-theanine, B complex vitamins, and kava may also help increase your body’s resistance to life’s stressors.

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