By day, I am a school counselor, and this topic is particularly hard for me to write about. However, part of living well means living honest about the negatives in life so we can work to make a better and more positive existence for those around us as well as for ourselves. I see more and more kids come through my door who experience a level of anxiety and depression I never encountered at their age. To make matters worse, I was informed of a new statistic revealing suicides have increased significantly since the 80s, especially in young girls ages 10-14 years old. Researchers have many hypotheses as to why this is, but nothing solid has been discovered. All they know for sure is the percentage has nearly tripled in recent years for this age group. This is disheartening for me as a counselor and as a woman.
Knowing this new statistic motivated me to write down a few tips for managing anxiety and depression according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Strategies for Managing Anxiety & Stress
- Take a time out. Practice yoga, pray, meditate, listen to music…whatever can help you step away from the situation for a while.
- Eat balanced and regular meals.
- Limit caffeine. It can increase anxiety and actually trigger panic attacks.
- Take deep breaths and count to ten. Sounds basic, but it actually works to calm your mind.
- Get involved. Make enjoyable connections with your community.
- Invite humor into your life and enjoy a good laugh.
- Exercise regularly. Set a reasonable and achievable goal for yourself and stick to it. It is much easier to manage at least 30 minutes a day instead of up and deciding you nee to be able to run a marathon.
- Talk to someone. Share your experiences with friends and family. Tell them how they can help. Speak with a therapist or physician if more professional help is necessary.
Depression and anxiety are not the same. However, it is important to know that symptoms can be shared between the two. If you feel that you or a loved one is suffering from depression, please seek professional guidance from your physician.
Tips for Talking with Someone Suffering from Depression
- Offer emotional support, understanding, and encouragement.
- Talk to them and really listen to what they have to say.
- Never discount their feelings or comments about suicide.
- Remind them that with time and treatment, depression can lift.