Your Mental Health Matters
Let’s face it – life can be difficult at times. More than ever, people are having trouble coping with everyday problems.
May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. And the first week in May is National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week.
It’s a good time to take note of your own mental health. Are feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear interfering with your daily activities?
If so, you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Examples of anxiety disorders include panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Anxiety disorders come from risk factors that can include genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. And while treatment is available, less than 37 percent of those affected receive care.
Signs of anxiety or panic disorder
The National Institute of Mental Health says signs of anxiety can include:
- feeling restless, nervous or on edge
- feeling tired without exerting yourself
- having difficulty concentrating; your mind going blank
- being irritable
- having muscle tension
- having difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- having sleep problems, including difficulty falling or staying asleep or restlessness
If you experience the symptoms below, it could be a sign of a panic disorder, another form of anxiety:
- a pounding heartbeat, or a sped-up heart rate for no obvious reason
- trembling or shaking
- sensations of shortness of breath, smothering or choking
- feelings of being out of control
Anxiety can be tied to depression
If you experience anxiety, you may also feel depressed. Anxiety and depression appear together about half the time in affected people. Because anxiety is the excessive worry that can make you feel bad about yourself, that can lead to depression, which can lead to more anxiety. Both can bring on more negative thoughts.
Anxiety and depression can affect your physical health on a daily basis. These symptoms may be ongoing, even when emotionally, you feel okay:
- Chest pain.
- Headaches, dizziness or shaking.
- Vomiting, diarrhea or constipation.
- Flight-or-fight stress response that releases a flood of chemicals and hormones into your system that may leave you feeling exhausted.
Tips for easing anxiety
Although treatment can be more intensive, there are some simple ways to break a pattern of anxiety and depression. You don’t have to just “learn to live it.” Start with some of these tips:
- Exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, research shows aerobic exercise can be helpful. A brisk walk, bike ride or a dance class can be a powerful remedy for anxiety.
- Do what you enjoy. This can include things such as taking a relaxing bath, reading a book you’ve been looking forward to or enjoying your hobby.
- Learn to say no. Too many obligations can be stressful. Don’t be afraid to tell your friend, your neighbor, or even your child’s teacher, “I’m sorry, I just don’t have the time to do that now.” Be direct, clear and simple, and don’t feel like you need to justify or defend your need to say no.
- Socialize with friends and family. Spending time with the people you care about most is a great way to reconnect with what makes you happy.
- Limit screen time. Time in front of your phone, a laptop or a TV screen may seem relaxing, but too much can actually raise your stress or anxiety level. Try to limit your screen time away from work to no more than two or three hours a day, broken up into smaller time periods.
Remember, you don’t have to accept long-term anxiety or depression as part of life. New patients can call denova Collaborative Healthcare at 602-777-6337 for a free, 15-minute wellness consultation. You can also click here to make an appointment online. If you are experiencing a crisis, please call 911 immediately.