About Anxiety, Stress and Depression
What is stress?
Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand and can be caused by both good and bad experiences. When you feel stressed by something going on around you, your body releases adrenaline into the blood. Adrenaline gives you energy and strength, which is good if you are facing a physical danger, enabling you to confront or flee a threat (this is known as the Flight or Fight response). Most modern stressors do not require a fight or flight response, which means that you have difficulties using up the adrenaline caused by the stress response. Problems arise when the stress response persists over time and is not switched off, leading to various unpleasant anxiety symptoms.
Many different things cause stress, for example, crowding, pressure from work and family, fatigue, not taking time out to relax, worrying about things you can`t control, relationship problems. The symptoms are unpleasant and you may feel anxious, tense, irritable, have problems sleeping, avoid situations and have difficulties functioning during the day. You may find yourself smoking, eating or drinking more.
What is depression?
Depression is a psychological condition that effects how you think and feel. Self-evaluation is a process that everyone does, we evaluate our performance at work and home, whether what we are doing, saying, acting and feeling is as it should be. If you are depressed, you will find your self-evaluations will be critical, feeding low self-esteem. Depressed people tend to display certain thinking patterns. For example, when a mistake occurs, the depressed person may think “I knew it, I’m useless and can`t do anything right”. Depressed people tend to use negative self-talk, remember negative aspects of experiences and experience automatic negative thoughts that they say to themselves in specific situations. These thinking patterns sustain depression. Cognitive therapy is very effective at helping you to identify and overcome negative thinking habits.
Until you have booked your therapy session, why not try this simple technique. It’s quick and simple to learn and is very effective at activating the part of the nervous system which is responsible for helping us to feel calm.
Expanding your awareness
Get comfortable in a chair and find a spot on the wall, straight in front of you and slightly above eye level. Throughout this process, keep focusing on this spot. Just continue to look at that same point, perhaps in soft focus and begin to broaden out your field of vision, wider and wider, until you are really paying attention to what you can see out of the corners of your eyes. Keeping your eyes on the spot, extend your awareness all around you. Imagine a tennis ball hovering just behind the back of your head. What else can you see behind your head?. You may have noticed that your breathing has slowed down and that the muscles of your face have relaxed.
Keep practising this technique; it may help to play some relaxing music at the same time. You will notice that is impossible to feel tense or worried whilst you are in peripheral vision.