“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional”
I always wonder why I feel exhausted throughout the day, even though I failed to complete most of the tasks I had planned just a night before. The night that follows has me staying awake, worrying about all the things I didn’t do. Deep within, I feel torn between a terrible force of habit to ‘keep worrying’ and a contrary desire to ‘let go.’ Ultimately, I feel like I am running a marathon with one broken leg.
What is this feeling?
Anxiety: A sudden feeling of nervousness or deep confusion felt within when you are uncertain of the result. You remain strongly concerned about an unknown subject. Worry becomes the thought for the day (and night).
Depression: Precursor to Anxiety. Depression is a tar that pulls you down and traps you insidiously. It hinders you from fulfilling your thoughts and aspirations. You’re scared of expressing your natural emotions and end up repressing them, leading to adverse effects on your personality and mental makeup. It affects you physically as well and throws your cognitive functions out of whack.
So, how do I find out if I suffer from anxiety or depression or if I am simply upset for a while?
Let’s do a mock drill to answer the below questions in either Yes or No –
- Are you always uncertain about the decisions you take?
- Do you always feel hopeless or down?
- Do you sleep too much/too less?
- Do you feel tired during the day?
- Do you overeat or suffer a poor appetite?
- Do you feel scared to express your thoughts in public?
- Do you lack concentration?
- Do you get irritated if you are unable to complete your planned activity?
- Do you fear a loss of control over yourself?
If you answered:
= or < 2 ‘Yes’: You are just upset, and will be fine soon.
= or <5 & > 2 ‘Yes’: You are prone to develop anxiety and panic. Stop worrying now.
= or <7 & > 5 ‘Yes’ : You are extremely depressed. This calls for an immediate address of the situation.
Anxiety and Depression (A and D) are classified as modern age diseases. With modernisation, you have virtual friends whom you meet frequently in the online space but quite infrequently in the physical world (sometimes not at all), as compared to the conventional old times. A few more vicissitudes of modernism are –
- Smartphones have taken over our world, establishing an alternate virtual reality with virtual connections on various social media handles. These have effectively replaced face to face connections.
- Shopping has become easy online, with no personal interaction required.
- The virtual world approximates the real experience via live video streams. This again seems to fill the void caused by the lack face-to-face human interactions.
So, how can I keep away from A and D disorder?
As per a study made by Professor Steven L’Lardi (gold medalist in human mental science), he recommends trying out the following remedies:
1. Physical Activity: When you are depressed, your body either feels drained out or does not produce enough elements of Serotonin and Dopamine.
Serotonin: Low levels can increase mood swings, sugar cravings, and sleeplessness.
Dopamine: Low levels can bring negative thoughts or the inability to feel pleasure.
As per a survey, people suffering from A and D disorder were divided into two groups for a six week period. Group 1 preferred to continue their office job and were prescribed anti-depression pills. Those in Group 2, along with a desk job, engaged in 30 minutes of walking for 5 days every week. After a period of six weeks, Group 2 showed improved results in many parameters while the condition for Group 1 more or less remained the same.
2. Omega 3: Without a shred of doubt, Omega 3 is a must-have supplementation as it belongs to the family of essential fats that your body cannot produce. Let me bring it to your notice that Inflammation (I) to Anti – Inflammation (AI) ratio of the present human body is 17: 1. This ratio should be 1: 1 in ideal conditions. Hence you are 16 times more prone to allergies, heart disease, and even depression.
Omega 3, obtained from grass-fed animals can reduce the condition significantly.
3. Sunlight / Vitamin D: Apart from improving bone and muscle health, sunlight also boosts your immune system. A chronic lack of it can cause cancer, diabetes, and dreadful mental conditions.
In a survey done, more than 40% of the cases who were found deficient in Vitamin D were doing office jobs while also having severe anxiety and depression disorders. Sunlight is required to produce essential hormones in the body – that aid in sleeping well (Melatonin), help to act smart (Dopamine), to think and feel happy (Serotonin), and even to metabolise (Thyroid glands regulation).
Your body’s biological clock is reset with sunlight.
4. Don’t let smartphones take over your life: Do you ever wonder why you have sleepless nights? You are drained the next day, not able to think and manage your plans due to sleeplessness.
Try avoiding phones, laptops, tablets and the television set at least 45 minutes prior to bed. Use the bed only for sleep.
5. Stop Ruminative thoughts: Stop holding onto those memories that are unpleasant, stop thinking too much about tiny things, let go. Engage yourself in a hobby, not just playing games on virtual platforms.
6. Social connections: Man is a social animal. Face value and physical presence develop trust and loyalty amongst us.
Social isolation can shrink your brain. Face-to-face communication is by far better than hiding behind text messages.
7. Anchor your thoughts: Everyone has thoughts, be it good or bad. It’s you who has to anchor your thoughts. When you feel angry or depressed about anything, think of the most beautiful thing that has happened to you in the past.
Take a deep breath and count backwards from 10 to 1. Your brain will immediately listen to you.
Anxiety and Depression are bubbles. You can either stay trapped inside, waiting for a hand to pull you out, or relax your mind with the above suggestions. You cannot change the memories, but you can always dwell on the pleasant ones, and even create new ones. When chased by any past incident, simply stand up to the mirror and tell yourself, “It is ok, you will be fine.” Keep yourself positive and engaged at all times to fight depression!
Author credits – Navdeep Chawla