Feeling stressed and depressed? 5 effective solutions
If you are feeling stressed and depressed, the solution is a set of aspects that we will discuss below. But before we provide solutions to the fact that you feel stressed and dejected, we must first understand what we are dealing with. Let’s outline and define the problem first.
What is depression?
Let’s start at the beginning and take one step at the time during this analysis. What is depression concretely? It is an imbalance in feelings and emotions. You’re in a state where you experience trouble understanding your feelings, this has a negative impact on your emotions.
Are you depressed?
This being said, there are some clear signs that indicate depression. The first sign is that you feel unmotivated and that you lack the joy of life. You feel like you don’t want to do anything. On top of this, you have trouble sleeping resulting in fatigue and irritability. This is a stress factor for your body and in a more advanced stage, this will in most cases result in an anxious feeling too. All these feelings are interwoven and the majority of them have a relation of cause and effect. Once you deal with them they are like a package and you need to treat them simultaneously.
The negative state of mind or emotional unbalance also known as sadness has several stages going from mild and temporary to chronic. You can be not in the mood, which is punctual, or you can feel blue, this can last a few days, but if this feeling lasts more than two weeks we describe it as a depression. Ok, now that you know this we can go further into this analysis.
A scientific explanation of depression
The chemical theory of depression is not a proven theory and can get really technical but I will give you a few words of explanation about it because it can give a clue to what is exactly happening inside of you. So, how can we give a scientific explanation of depression? I would say it is an imbalance in your body due to a too low level of serotonin.
#1 Alimentation and lifestyle
Serotonin is important for your well-being and gives you a feeling of happiness. You find serotonin mostly in your digestive system and it gives signals to your nervous system. It is made of tryptophan which is an amino acid that enters your body by food, your body is not able to make it without external factors. And here is where this becomes interesting! How can you obtain tryptophan? Simply by eating lentils, spinach, banana, pineapple, eggs, poultry, peanuts, fish, seeds and cheese. Drinking milk is also very efficient. They also sell L-Tryptophan as a food supplement but I’m not a big fan of supplements as I believe in obtaining the essential nutrients for our body from food. It’s up to you now to boost your mood by considering adapting your diet to the new knowledge you achieved today.
Additionally, if you’re feeling stressed drinking coffee is really bad for you because it contains caffeine. I suppose I don’t need to inform you that Coca Cola and Red Bull contain even more caffeine. Something some people don’t know on the other hand is that tea also contains caffeine and is not advised for people suffering from stress. I’m being really serious about this because caffeine increases your levels for cortisol which is the “stress hormone”. High cortisol levels can lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depression. There is one exception here an that is green tea because green tea increases your level of serotonin an dopamine which are really good for you.
Alcohol and weed
In case you consider drinking alcohol or smoking weed seeking to relieve your stress, this is also a really bad idea. There is no such thing as a recreational drug, the result will be that when the effect is over you will feel depressed and anxious again and you will close the negative circle you’re in. So do not consume any of the previously mentioned substances. The reason for this is simple to explain, when you drink alcohol you will need more alcohol over time to experience the same, temporary feeling of relaxation, but research has shown that alcohol intake over an extended period of time raises the cortisol levels. In simple words, when you get drunk you will always feel bad the next day, commonly known as a hangover. In the case of marihuana the cause and effect relationship is even more obvious, each time you consume this drug it will cause a spike of cortisol levels shortly after use. So remember, cortisol is your enemy!
I also want to make a strong statement against legal drugs because you will take the risk of becoming addicted to those pills, called prescription antidepressants, and then you will have an even bigger problem to solve. Think about the difference between illegal and legal drugs, the only real difference is that the legal drugs are accepted by our government and that by taking these drugs you sponsor the big pharmaceutical lobbies that take big benefits on you being hooked up on their legal drugs. Like the wise Romans used to say “mens sana in corpore sano” which means a healthy mind in a healthy body!
Causes of stress
Good, we already got so far… We covered the physical and material causes let’s now cover the psychical and immaterial causes. What commonly causes these high-stress levels in modern society? It’s quite simple. The modern human being has too high expectations, he forces goals he will never be able to reach on himself. He is blinded by false materialistic rewards which result in a feeling of emptiness. In order to afford those material things which give him a false feeling of satisfaction he always needs more money and puts himself in the 9 to 5 routine. Because he forces himself in having to work so hard to afford all the things he doesn’t really need he has no time for himself anymore. He feels trapped in the rat race and comes to the conclusion that he has a lack of freedom and perspective in life. This results in an internal conflict which is difficult to resolve because a lot of us are not even aware of the situation they live in.
Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not telling you to quit your job and go live naked on an island. I just want to make clear that one of the major causes that make you feel stressed and depressed is conflict, this conflict can also be mental, with other words inside of your head.
#2 Lower expectations
So from now on, if you want to improve your state of mind you will have to learn to lower your expectations and learn to accept that there will always be external factors and events you can’t control. Just breathe and be happy for the great gift it is to be alive…
Sure, it’s easy to say that you just have to think yourself happy. But it doesn’t work this way, it’s a process and to start with this process you will have to trigger your mind into it. How do we start? We just have to make some little changes in life.
# 3 Breathing techniques
First of all in order to relax we will have to work on breathing techniques to control our hearth beat by regulating the airflow in an effort to lower your anxiety. You will have to start breathing through your nose because it filters the air better and it allows your breath to take a long way into your body. The second and most important thing is that you need to start breathing from your stomach and stop breathing from your chest. This is due to the fact that abdominal breathing gives a signal to your body that you are relaxed, that there is no threat, which instantly makes you calm down and feel more serene.
#4 Take some time for yourself
You will also need to start taking some time and enjoy listening to music you like to evade and release bad emotions. On the other hand, writing will help you to regain your focus and canalize emotions. Finally, meditation will allow you to open up your mind by introspection in order to regain control and perspective in life.
#5 Practice some sport
If you want to practice everything together taking walks in nature will allow you to take some fresh air, listen to nature sounds, practice your breathing, do some walking meditation (called mindful walking) and at the same time, you will be practicing a low impact sport which will allow you to feel relief without stressing your body. All these benefits come with the exposure to natural light, given to us for free by nature, which is a real boost for your mood. This sunlight takes us back to our good friend serotonin, exposure to sunlight is another external factor that gives you a healthy dose of serotonin. If you are living in a country where you lack the sun then you should consider luminotherapy to compensate.
To conclude, you’ll only be able to lower your stress and depression by getting the control back in your life by organizing yourself and by having a healthy lifestyle. This will give you more time and make you feel energetic which will enable you to take more time for yourself. This free time will help you with introspective thinking. Analyze your life, know where it goes wrong, and start building on the solution. This will give you a feeling of serenity and fulfillment.
Remember to have a positive attitude, eat healthily, exercise regularly and be organized.
From there on you will regain control over your life.
If you need more information to overcome stress, check out the website National Health Scotland. Regarding depression, you will find useful information on the website ThisWayUp provided by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.