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Understanding anxiety and depression
27 Jan, 18

Understanding anxiety and depression

Have you ever heard about the lingering “Black Dog“of Depression? What about the “sinking spiral“of Anxiety? Regardless of whether you‘ve heard of them or not, it‘s highly likely that you‘ve either experienced or witnessed their effects at some time within your personal or professional lives.

According to beyondblue, over three million Australians out of a population of just under 25 million are living with either anxiety or depression. When taken in a global context, that means that it’s more than likely that somebody in your life are currently or have experienced mental ill health.

But fear not, as we‘ve got some strategies and guidance which normally helps make them lift and disappear.

What is Mental Health and why does it matter?

In essence, Mental Health refers to the ongoing state of our emotional wellbeing at any given time in our lives. Depending on our individual circumstances and experiences, the quality of our mental health can vary extensively, based on a variety of internal factors (like relationships) and external factors (such as a stressful workplace environment). It’s crucial to remember that practicing the art of self-care is an important part of promoting, facilitating and maintaining good mental health.  

A recipe for creating and maintaining good mental health

It’s often said that prevention is better than a cure, and in many ways, mental health conditions such as Anxiety and Depression are no different. Believe it or not, multiple social and lifestyle factors can have a major influence on the recovery and prevention of common mental health conditions. From practicing mindfulness and meditation techniques for relaxation purposes through to engaging with others over hobbies and other forms of social recreation, the building blocks for better health can be a lot easier to put in place than a lot of people think.

Some other simple steps to both improve and maintain your mental health can include:

  • Developing a healthy sleep pattern, where you try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
  • Considering the influence that your bedroom environment, lighting, temperature and noise levels can have on your ability to sleep in a healthy manner. This can also include minimising the use of technology in the 30 minutes before you go to bed, in order to reduce alertness.
  • Engaging in physical activities for at least 30 minutes a day, either individually or as part of a group.
  • Cutting back on depressant-inducing intoxicants, like alcohol.
  • Keeping an eye on your dietary intake, as different foods can affect our mental state and wellbeing.
  • Keeping a written journal, as a way of getting the events of the day off your chest.
  • Going back to a hobby  or find a new one  like a team sport, learning an instrument, reading or anything else that is of interest are great way to bring  joy and mental clarity. 

Needless to say, such small things can help a lot, particularly when we aren‘t feeling our best. Furthermore, there‘s plenty more self-care tips that you can find on MyBenestar

What’s the “good stuff” about having good mental health?

Whenever we‘re feeling good about ourselves, we‘re more likely to be more productive both at work and at home, sleep better, have more energy and feel able to concentrate for longer periods of time. Furthermore, we’re also a lot less likely to feel agitated, tearful, empty inside, fatigued, irritable or have negative thoughts involving hopelessness, worthlessness and excessive guilt, which can impact our professional and personal lives. 

When it gets beyond just feeling blue….

Sometimes no matter how hard we try to improve our mental health on our own, we can find ourselves in need of both support and guidance from others in order to help with our recovery.  From helping us to unpack both difficult and complicated memories through to fine-tuning some of the aforementioned self-care tips to better suit us individually, psychologists and other mental health professionals (such as MyCoach at Benestar) can have an immense influence on our health and wellbeing.

When things really start spiralling out of control, making full use of the resources at our disposal to arrest and rebound from that fall comes across as a sign of both strength and emotional intelligence to others, both of which are factors that are highly valued within today’s workforce. 

It‘s only the end of the beginning...

Once you get the hang of looking after your own mental health, taking care of it ultimately continues for the rest of your life. Like a well maintained garden, every so often you will have to do a little maintenance to it, with occasional bits of self-care acting like weeding, watering and fertilising, in order to keep things running smoothly and looking sharp. 

But most importantly, be kind to yourself and regularly practice self-care. For more information or support for improving and maintaining your own mental wellbeing, get in touch via MyCoach, LiveChat or call us.

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