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How to Avoid Anxiety and Depression
Posted: October 11, 2019

Depression is feeling sad, blue, unhappy, or down in the dumps. Most people feel this way once in a while. Major depression is a mood disorder. It occurs when feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration get in the way of your life over a long period of time. It also changes how your body works. 1

If you or someone you love has suffered from anxiety and depression, then you know how awful it can feel. When feeling anxious or depressed, most people have little interest in brain chemistry and neurotransmitters; they just want to feel better. Anxiety and depression are scaled by rating their frequency, intensity, duration and impact on your functioning.

These are the symptoms and signs of major depressive disorder (if you feel them most of the day, nearly every day, for over two weeks):

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Other kinds of depression disorders include:

1 ) Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia)

2 ) Postpartum depression

3 ) Psychotic depression

4 ) Seasonal affective disorder

5 ) Bipolar disorder

These are the symptoms and signs of generalized anxiety disorder:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep

Other kinds of anxiety disorders include:

  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia related disorders
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Separation anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Ways to avoid anxiety and depression:

  1. use your spirituality at home and at church, especially with a caring small group in daily devotionals and Bible reading
  2. exercise daily, with a minimum of three 10-minute long walks, in the morning, noon, and evening
  3. practice mindfulness and relaxation, especially paying attention to your breathing so that it is slow and deep
  4. reduce screen time, which can harm your eyes, cognitions, immunity, as well as your resistance to anxiety and depression
  5. build support systems with family and friends, neighbors and coworkers, people who share your interest in organizations and hobbies
  6. plan your week ahead so stress is reduced by organizing chores, clothing, meals, and schedule and enabling fewer daily decisions
  7. decrease your stress level, especially by learning to forgive and release actions or events which have triggered negative thoughts and worry, helpless and hopeless feelings
  8. start or continue treatment plan, including taking prescriptions correctly, maintaining a therapeutic alliance with a counselor, and practicing using the tools you learn
  9. sleep well and consistently by experimenting on sleep hygiene which fits your living arrangements, individual needs, and consideration for your work and family
  10. stay away from people who want to control, bully, or take advantage of you, especially those toxic people who gossip, put people down and spread hurtful rumors
  11. eat a balanced diet (if you have not learned how to shop, prepare and store food, then recruit a nutritionist or dietitian for personalized plan)
  12. maintain a healthy weight because obesity can result in diminished self-worth, increased complaints and criticisms from other people, and motivation to isolate or withdraw
  13. consult your primary care physician to manage any chronic medical conditions, because worry about your health can permeate all the areas of your life and cause depression
  14. read about prescription benefits and side effects, because some medications can cause depression or panic as a side effect
  15. reduce alcohol and drug use since they affect the limbic system and can neutralize your psychotropic prescriptions
  16. stop smoking since nicotine can act as a depression trigger and serve as a counterfeit crutch for coping with mood disorders
  17. cope preemptively by recognizing anxiety and depression triggers and planning for dealing with them when they happen

The mission of Healthy Counseling Center in Spokane is preventing and healing relationship problems with God, self and others. If you would like more help with depression and anxiety problems, please call 509.466.6632.

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