Stress and Depression: Lifestyle Factors

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
 

What is Stress?

Have you ever had a feeling that everything is overwhelming you or there is so much pressure on your wellbeing? Stress is a condition where the bothers of life exceed the ones you can comfortably handle in both good physical and mental health. You find yourself stuck and unable to proceed. It is when you overcome a stressing solution that you find yourself as an achiever and get motivated to face other challenges.

What is Depression?

Stress and Depression

Depression is a feeling of extreme unhappiness and sadness usually accompanied with a feeling of helplessness and discontent. You feel as if you have no control* of anything happening around. Your interests and the whole world seem to have parted you. Your mental health state is agitated and lacks the willpower to concentrate in your normal functions at work, school or at home. If unattended, depression can lead to chronic and complicated mental illnesses or suicide.

Is Stress Good for You?

According to Jennifer Parmelee, a yoga instructor in NYC, stresses to a certain levels are good for you. Your body reacts to life threatening challenges by stimulating the release of hormones which are essential in the overall improvement of your health. When faced with danger, your brain releases the hormone andrenaline. This in return increases* your heartbeat, senses become clear and the rise in blood glucoses gives you courage to attack or run away. These moderate levels of stress that trigger sudden discharge of hormones can help you to work efficiently and enhance* memory. Good stress is the one that at the end of the challenge, you will feel that your effort in handling it leads to achievements. Tasks with set deadlines put more pressure on you and the overall outcome is beneficial. Your blood circulation is improved*, your immune system boosted and your productivity increased.

How do you Respond to Stress?

Everyone at one time must experience a stressing situation. People respond differently to stresses depending on their nature. To deal with stress effectively, you need to learn the diverse ways of handling every degree of a stressing experience. By assessing the magnitude of your stress, you stand a good chance of coping with it effectively. If stress emanates from work, you should try and clear the one in hand before requesting for additional tasks. In most cases, people respond negatively when faced with stress. Here are some of the big mistakes stressed people make.

  • Procrastination: You feel you are not in the mood to get things done immediately and postpone hoping to be set another time. Won’t this only put more pressure on you later? You will find yourself doing things that ought to have been done some time back. Time is wasted.
  • Cramps: Unawares you are clenching your fists or jaws braving a challenge. You may eventually experience unfounded muscular tensions and aches on your neck and back. This could be coupled with sleeplessness or breathlessness.
  • Fury: Your unpreparedness to respond appropriately on time can spark anger and end up in conflicts with your colleagues at work, home or school. Arguments unrelated to the cause of your stresses can creep in at this time.
  • Depression: If the stressing issue is out of your control*, tendency to dodge the whole responsibility may arise leading to feelings of hopelessness or gloominess. Persistent stress can contribute significantly to the rise of depression and other mental disorders.

You don’t have to worry if faced with stress. Approaching it in the right way will bring speedy help. How?

  • Prioritize: Figure out the less* important duties in your program and tackle the most important ones first.
    You can opt out of that schedule to visit a friend and complete your assignment instead. If possible, assign some duties to other people even if at a cost.
  • Always Plan: It will be easier to know how much free time you have in a week’s program and break it down in to simple daily achievable fractions. Proper planning will make tasks look simple and attainable. Create more time for tasks that need thoroughness.
  • Relate with Others: A friendly environment at work, school or at home will improve* your productivity. Encouragement in a family, society or at school fuels everyone’s desire in the realization of the common good.
  • Have Fun: Taking up a hobby will give you a break from the normal stresses of life. This will rejuvenate your feelings and break the monotony of always having to deal with challenges at work. That weekend out treat* could be all your mind needs to recharge.
  • Exercise and Rest: Physical activities that strain your muscles take your mind’s attention from normal stresses of life. When your body gets tired, you will find it easier to relax. Ensure you have adequate sleep to avoid naps at work or impaired concentration.
  • Request for Help: Don’t ignore to seek assistance from a professional if you can’t handle stress. The serious health implications that can result to unattended stress include mental disorders such as depression.

How Much Stress is too Much?

Stress mostly refers to any challenge that calls for an action. In your daily activities, you are faced with a number of stressing moments. You eventually overcome them anyway. In some cases, the buildup in stresses can become overwhelming. How can you tell that the stress is too much? Lack of enjoyment, sleep problems, fatigue and intolerance are the major signs of too much stress.

The Stress-Depression Connection

Both stress and depression can be prompted by similar factors. Loss of a job, an accident or a divorce can lead to stress. In response to stress, your body defense mechanism may trigger hormonal imbalances. Persistent stress if unattended leads to increased levels of cortisol, the hormone in charge of stress management while on the other hand, suppresses* neurotransmitters which are associated with depression. Alterations of these hormones by stress can increase* susceptibility to depression in some people. Similar changes in the brain occur during depression or prolonged stress. If you suffer from a chronic diseases including depression, you are likely to be stressed at the same time.

Stress and Depression: Lifestyle Factors

The relationships between stress and depression revolve around each other. It is difficult to tell what led to the other. If frequently stressed, you are likely to demonstrate similar characters like when you are depressed. You’re craving for more cigars and beers. You may quit exercise and start taking junky meals. Recurrence of such behaviors will lead to chronic stress and increase* the risks of depression.

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Author

Expert Author : Joan Raynor (Consumer Health Digest)

Joan Raynor is a health researcher and expert writer specializing in mental health issues where she provides hope and support to persons with treatment-resistant depression and other chronic mood disorders.