Anxiety & Depression Workbook For Dummies (UK Edition)
Anxiety and depression affect 25 per cent of people in the UK at some point in their lives. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, or think that you might, this Cheat Sheet is here to help with practical advice and tips.
Are You Suffering from Anxiety or Depression?
People experience anxiety and depression in various ways and therefore don’t always realise that they have a problem until it becomes overwhelming. The following statements indicate possible problems with emotional distress. Do any of the items in this list apply to you?
I worry all the time.
I feel like a complete and utter failure.
My appetite isn’t what it should be.
I feel like I can’t catch my breath.
I don’t look forward to anything.
I’m a very nervous sort of person.
I just can’t think clearly at all.
I feel guilty a lot of the time.
I’m not interested in doing anything.
I feel hopeless.
*I have loads of fears.
My sleep is disturbed.
I’ve been having thoughts about death lately.
I avoid friends and social situations.
I can’t make decisions about anything.
I don’t have any energy lately.
My mood has been really low.
Sometimes I feel panicky.
My heart races for no reason at all.
Ticking any of these items may indicate a problem with anxiety or depression. The more you tick, the more serious your possible problem. If you think you may have a problem with serious depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide, then please do seek a professional consultation promptly.
Do’s and Don’ts of Anxiety and Depression
Coping with your anxiety and depression can be a whole lot easier if you approach it in the right way, and avoid a few easily-spotted pitfalls. The key do’s and don’ts of anxiety and depression are:
Do seek professional help if your problems feel overwhelming or you have thoughts of suicide.
Do check out other resources, such as Overcoming Depression For Dummies (Wiley) and Overcoming Anxiety For Dummies (Wiley).
Don’t give up!
Don’t feel hopeless. You can do so much about emotional distress.
Don’t put yourself down because you’re depressed or anxious – it’s not your fault.
4 Easy Ways to Deal with Distress in Anxiety and Depression
There are going to be times when your anxiety and depression becomes acutely overwhelming, and when that happens you need a quick fix to bring you back to a calmer, happier state of mind. Try the following:
Exercise. Take a brisk walk, jog, or dance for at least 15 to 20 minutes. Increasing your heart rate for a while burns off anxious feelings and increases endorphins, which lift your mood.
Chill out. Fill a sink or bowl with ice-cold water. Now take a deep breath and put your face in the water for 30 seconds or so. Believe it or not, you’re likely to feel more relaxed (and maybe a bit chilly) afterwards.
*Think grateful. Stop what you’re doing right now and ponder what makes you feel grateful. Appreciate the small things – a good parking place, the ability to read this book, flowers, foot-tapping music, a waggy dog, whatever. Make a list of these things, and review it when you’re feeling down and out.
Breathe better. Take a slow, deep breath. Hold the air for a few moments, and then let it out very slowly while you silently count to eight. Repeat this breathing exercise four or five times when you feel the need to decompress.
An Easy Remedy for Anxiety and Depression: Living in the Now
Most really anxious and depressing thoughts focus on the past or the future: Either you feel guilty about something you’ve done in the past or anticipate a whole series of awful events in the future. The remedy is to focus on living in the present, which you can do by following these instructions:
Sit quietly and take notice of your surroundings. Consider the light, sounds and everything around you.
Avoid the temptation to judge or evaluate, and just observe.
Notice your breath going in and out of your body.