Mental health disorders or mental illnesses are marked by a significant change in a person’s emotions and thinking or behavior, and is a leading cause of disability in the United States. Mental health is as important as physical health and is a vital part of your life.
A high number of adults in the U.S. are dealing with a mental illness, and these conditions are often treatable. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common mental health disorders, cutting across age, race, and gender. Living with depression and anxiety can be challenging, but there are effective ways to manage it and live a happier, healthier life.
In this blog, we talk about depression and anxiety, and provide you with 10 tips for living with them, for better well-being and quality of life.
What is the Difference Between Depression and Anxiety?
Depression and anxiety are both mood disorders that have distinct characteristics, as outlined below. Please note that the information provided here is not meant to serve as a medical diagnosis for major depression, and it should not replace the guidance of a mental health professional.
- Characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness
- A loss of interest in activities that bring joy
- Changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide
- Experiencing physical symptoms such as aches, pains, and digestive issues
- Weight gain or weight loss, often in the extreme
- Forgetfulness, a lack of focus, and difficulty concentrating or with decision-making
- Characterized by excessive worry, fear, and apprehension about present or future events
- Symptoms can include restlessness, irritability, racing thoughts, difficulty sleeping, muscle tension, and panic attacks
- Physical symptoms such as sweating, an increased heart rate, lightheadedness, digestive upset, headaches, and body aches and pains
- Unable to think about other things except the present worry
You can have either one or both depression and anxiety, as they often co-occur. Half of people diagnosed with depression are found to also have anxiety.
10 Useful Tips for Individuals with Depression and Anxiety
Through comprehensive care and treatment, improvement can be made in individuals with depression, anxiety, or both.
Here are several tips for anyone with depression and/or anxiety:
#1 Seek Help
Accepting that you need help is often the hardest part of living with depression and anxiety. A mental health professional can help identify the root causes of your mental illness, prescribe medication, and guide you on strategies on how to manage it.
#2 Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a cognitive-behavioral therapy technique under psychotherapy that involves paying attention to your thoughts, feelings, and emotions that hinder progress. Avoid dwelling on negative thoughts through rumination and prevent a relapse.
#3 Communicate with Friends and Family
Isolation and loneliness can exacerbate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Reach out to your loved ones for support and understanding during this time. Studies show that surrounding yourself with other people helps ease depressive thoughts and feelings.
#4 Exercise Regularly
Exercise can boost your mood. Make physical activity part of your routine. Go out for a walk, take up dancing or yoga, join a gym, or swim at the local pool – all these can help boost feel-good hormones.
#5 Nourish Your Body
What you eat can also affect your mental health, and diet can be a powerful tool against depression and anxiety. Dark-leafy greens, walnuts, avocado, berries, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, beans, apples, and lean proteins like fish can help with better emotional well-being. The Mediterranean diet is considered great for overall health.
#6 Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial for mental health, so make sleep a priority. Aim to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night to help better regulate your mood.
#7 Monitor Your Media Consumption
The news and social media can be overwhelming and trigger depression and anxiety. Limit your exposure to negative news and take breaks from social media when necessary.
#8 Try Journaling
Utilize the power of journaling to express your thoughts and emotions, and also practice gratitude. Write down recurring negative thoughts and feelings, enabling you to identify any distorted thinking patterns and self-defeating behaviors. In addition, write down positive aspects of life and acknowledge the good in your life.
#9 Take Medication as Directed
If you have been prescribed medication for your depression or anxiety, take them as directed. Let your prescribing doctor know of any negative side effects.
#10 Seek Immediate Help for Suicidal Thoughts
If you have powerful thoughts of hurting yourself or suicide, seek help immediately. Know the important numbers: call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or call your mental health provider.
Depression and Anxiety Treatment in Dallas, TX
Our board-certified internal medicine doctors at Prime Internal Medicine Associates offer comprehensive, compassionate, and holistic care for depression and anxiety, as part of our primary care services.
Our team combines traditional therapy such as medication and psychotherapy, as well as individualized wellness programs to treat the entire person and improve treatment outcomes.