Dealing with Anxiety and Depression – Step by Step

Why does the brain respond the way it does when experiencing anxiety and depression?

When an individual is experiencing anxiety and depression, their body is essentially operating in “survival mode” or can be said to be under “chronic stress”. This can impact their brain and their bodies in several ways resulting in symptoms including extreme stress, high blood pressure, increased risk of a stroke or heart attack, memory impairment, and headaches.

Extreme stress, anxiety, and depression can vary for different people in terms of the degree and duration of the experience, but approximately 70% of adults experience some level of anxiety or depression.

How can you prevent your brain from responding in this way?

There are a number of ways to prevent, minimize, and treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. Ultimately it comes down to asking for help, finding the right treatment plan, and then mitigating the stress triggers in your life.

The first step: asking for help

The most important first step that you can take is to ask for help. Many find this very difficult as there is an unfortunate stigma around mental illnesses. It’s important to know that these experiences are a very common human condition and are often due to a physical disease. Ultimately, it is not your fault.

Depending on the degree of the response you are experiencing, you may need a combination of cognitive therapy and medication.

Antidepressants or Anti-Anxiety Medication

Taking medication can be helpful in managing a current anxiety or depressive episodes, or in managing physical and emotional symptoms. Your doctor is the best resource to speak to about incorporating or managing your medication plan.

Cognitive Therapy

Cognitive therapy incorporates stress-relieving mindfulness techniques like neurofeedbackhypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, and meditation. Using one, or a combination, of these techniques have been shown to provide significant improvements in an individual’s ability to mitigate their anxiety and depression.

If you are already taking, or are planning on taking medication for your anxiety and depression, incorporating some counsellingneurofeedbackhypnotherapy, or meditation can make your treatment much more effective. Incorporating those techniques can also allow for reducing or eventually eliminating your medications with your doctor’s guidance.

The third step: reducing stress triggers in your life

There is a very strong link between psychological stress and depressive episodes. So if you can do your best to set yourself up for success when you are not currently feeling depressed or anxious, you will likely experience fewer, or less intense anxiety or depression episodes.

You can reduce stress triggers in a variety of ways including

  • Exercising often
  • Incorporating some supplements into your routine
  • Reducing your caffeine intake
  • Journaling
  • Spending time with family, friends, and loved ones.
  • Practicing Mindfulness

For a more detailed list with supporting information read 12 Natural Remedies for Reducing Anxiety and Depression.

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