Depression is one of the most common mental health disorders. It affects about 7.1% of American adults, which is roughly equal to 17.3 million people. Data shows that depression rates are highest among young adults between the ages of 18-25, and the disorder is most likely to affect women compared to men.
Depression is a range, and everyone experiences the disorder differently. Some people deal with severe depression that makes it difficult to complete regular tasks. Other people suffer from mild depression that does not interfere with their everyday life but affects them at a lower level. Depression may not be curable, but the symptoms are manageable.
Managing depression symptoms can be difficult if someone is experiencing stress or anxiety. If you suffer from depression, learning how to manage your stress and reduce anxiety effectively is an integral part of treatment. Dealing with depression is more challenging if you are suffering from other types of emotional distress.
How Stress and Anxiety can Make Depression Worse
Stress and anxiety are standard parts of life. Everyone experiences these feelings from time-to-time. But “normal” levels of stress and anxiety eventually resolve themselves. People who deal with chronic stress or anxiety might feel the emotions more intensely, affecting other areas of their life.
There are countless reasons why someone might feel stressed or anxious, and the events of 2020 have made Americans even more burdened than in years past. According to the American Psychological Association Stress in America 2020 report, 78% of Americans said the COVID-19 pandemic was a significant source of stress in their lives and 60% of people said the number of issues America is facing is stressful and overwhelming.
In addition to current events, some other familiar sources of stress are:
- Job performance
- Losing a loved one
- Chronic pain or injury
- Raising kids
- Caring for sick family members
- Moving to a new home
- Facing discrimination
- Experiencing a traumatic event
When stress and anxiety reach a point where they become unmanageable, it can make someone feel depressed or worsen existing depression symptoms. Dealing with overwhelming stress and anxiety can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, exhaustion, and irritability. It can also affect your sleep, eating habits, and motivation to do anything, even things you usually enjoy.
6 Tips to Relieve Stress and Improve Mental Clarity
When dealing with depression, stress, and anxiety together, life can be challenging. When so many emotions compound on each other, it can feel like an uphill battle. Often, addressing the stress and anxiety first can alleviate some of the depression symptoms. If you are dealing with stress or anxiety, try implementing some of these tips for better mental clarity:
One of the best ways to reduce stress is to unplug from your devices. Put away your smartphone and laptop and take a break from social media. Mindless scrolling can cause stress and anxiety without you even knowing it. If you can not part ways with your phone for a few days, challenge yourself only to use it for an hour or two each day. Most importantly, make sure to turn off your devices at least a few hours before going to sleep.
2. Ask for help
Taking on too many responsibilities at once is an easy way to feel stressed, anxious, and burned out. If you feel overwhelmed with work obligations or familial responsibilities, do not be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help will allow you to perform at a higher level, which is essential when working on big projects. Asking for help can be scary at first, but it gets easier over time when you get into the habit.
3. Practice self-care
At times, self-care can be overlooked, but it is one of the best things you can do for your mental health. Find healthy habits that help you de-stress and make them part of your weekly routine. That could mean getting a massage, cooking a new meal, going on a long drive, singing karaoke, spending time near the ocean, meeting friends out, or spending time alone watching a movie.
Exercise is scientifically proven to improve mental health. Working out can help reduce stress and anxiety, enhance mood, improve sleep quality, and boost self-esteem. Not to mention, working out will temporarily take your mind off the things causing your stress and anxiety. Whatever form of exercise you enjoy, whether it is yoga, running, skiing, walking, playing basketball, or weightlifting, make it a priority to do it at least a few times per week.
You have probably heard the saying; laughter is the best medicine. Experts agree that laughter can help people reduce stress, improve their mindset, and feel happier overall. Make it a point to laugh every day, whether it is a funny movie, comedic podcast, or a conversation with your hilarious best friend. Surrounding yourself with positive and upbeat people in general is a great way to improve your mental health.
6. Get outside
Spending time outside and in nature is a game-changer for your mental health. Being out in the fresh air and sunlight is a great way to revamp your mood, lower blood pressure, and reduce stress. Explore new walking or hiking trails in your area, hang out at the beach, try kayaking or paddleboarding, or start a garden in your backyard. Spending time outside is especially important during the winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.
Treatment for Depression in Los Angeles
For some people, focusing on relieving stress can make a big difference in their depression symptoms. But other people deal with treatment-resistant depression, which does not respond well to conventional depression therapies, like medication.
If you are dealing with treatment-resistant depression, consider transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. At Pulse, we offer Brainsway™ Deep TMS, an FDA-tested and approved treatment for treatment-resistant depression.
Call us today at (310) 878-4346 to see if you are the right candidate for TMS.