Stress is the way the body responds to physical and emotional demands. Stressful situations tend to trigger feelings of depression, and sometimes, these feelings make it harder to deal with stress. Emotional stress most times, contributes to depression or could be a symptom of it.
Events like, losing a job, or ending a long term relationship often triggers depression. Meanwhile, not everyone that goes through these situations usually get depressed. Biological factors explains why a person facing a high-stress event gets depression, while another person going through same experience doesn’t.
Causes of stress
Major life changes such as, divorce, losing a family member, ending a relationship and moving can trigger stress. Studies have shown that an overactive stress system and high levels of cortisol in the body can lead to depression, heart diseases and other health conditions. This is because, when your mind feels threatened, the body produces more cortisol (stress hormones), to help the body fight and run away from threat. This can work well when you are in real danger, but it doesn’t always benefit you in your daily life.
Some of the things that can cause stress include:
- Losing a fight
- Getting into a fight with your spouse or significant other.
- Natural disasters that can damage your home or totally decimate it, disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, and tornados.
- Getting involved in a car accident, which can cause physical, emotional and financial stress.
- Being robbed or attacked
There are also certain choices you make that can contribute to your stress levels, especially if these choices one way or these can impinge on your overall health, or if you have grown to depend on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Some of these choices include:
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Not getting enough exercise
- Smoking or using illegal drugs
- Working for long periods of time without taking a break.
- Not eating a well-balanced diet
- Spending too much time on television or playing video games
- Staying fixated on your smart phone in bed for a long time.
It is normal to feel stressed or anxious. Sometimes the constant stresses of our day to day activities can trigger you fight-or-flight response, hence, resulting in depression.
However, you should note that there is a difference between feeling stress sparingly, and experiencing ongoing anxiety. If the stress or anxiety starts to take a toll on you, and you are looking for ways to deal with them, you should consider talking to a mental health professional. If you want to know to deal with stress and anxiety, the tips below should be of help to you.
Talk about your problems
If you are going through stuff or things are bothering you, you should consider talking to a trusted friend, sister, doctor, pastor or therapist. Just talking to someone about how you feel can lighten the weight or take it off completely.
You can also self-talk yourself out of it. But make sure whatever you say is positive. Self positive reinforcement can help reduce your stress. Listen also to what you think or say when you are stressed out. If it is negative, consider changing it into something positive.
Focus on the present
What often stresses you or keeps you anxious, if you notice, most times coincides with your constant worry about the future, and dwelling on the past. Maybe simply focusing your mind and thoughts on the present can help you feel a little relaxed. You can achieve this by constantly meditating. This can help you deal with stress and anxiety.
Take a break
Take some time off your fully packed schedule. It can help alleviate your stress and anxiety. Ensure that you incorporate at least one thing you enjoy every day, be it a hobby, a Netflix show, a YouTube video, or a chat with a close friend.
A fully packed schedule would make a lot of people feel stressed. Make sure you fit in at least one thing you enjoy each day, whether it’s a hobby, a Netflix show, or a chat with a friend. Also, don’t forget to say ‘no’ to things that can trigger your stress and anxiety.
Monitor your thoughts
Writing down your thoughts can help you ascertain what causes your stress, especially if you can’t figure what caused your stress (as is the case with many people) . Once you’ve done that, you can work on challenging and changing your negative thoughts. You can use a diary to do this, or an app such as Mind shift.
Challenge your thoughts
When your head is full of negative thoughts, you’re definitely going to feel stressed or anxious. But even though our thoughts feel true, it doesn’t mean they reflect what’s really happening. Try writing down what you’re thinking, then adding facts that support or disprove each thought. You might be surprised by how exaggerated many of your thoughts are.
Exercise, eat well, sleep
Working out regularly is one sure way to relax your body and mind. You are well aware that exercise lowers stress, reduces anxiety and generally improves mood. Sometimes, all it takes is 30 minutes of exercise everyday to make the difference. You don’t necessarily need to run a marathon or slave for hours to get these benefits.
Eating good food regularly and getting good sleep can also help you feel better generally. A healthy diet makes you feel healthier and stronger and make you able to handle stress better. Enough sleep on the other hand positively affects your mood and stress levels.
Face your fears
Facing whatever contributes to your anxiety can help reduce your anxiety. It might sound weird or unlikely to you, but you should probably try it; whatever the situation may be.
You can weigh how serious the situation appears to be, and hence, learn how to manage your fears. It is best you do this with the help of a professional counselor or psychologist.
Eliminate Your Triggers
If you can identify what triggers stress in your life, then you can make a move to eliminate them or at least, reduce them.
If on the other hand, you can’t seem to identify the main causes of your stress, try keeping a stress journal. Make note of when you become most anxious and see if you can determine a pattern, then find ways to remove or lessen those triggers.
Taking a few deep breaths can help take the pressure away. You’ll be shocked as to how good you’ll feel once you get good at it.