Anxiety and Depression Show up as Emotional Management
So, the first area we notice anxiety and depression – or just mood disorders – is how we manage our emotions. We all should experience a wide range of emotions in any given day. We wake up and look at the angelic face of our spouse as they sleep so quiet and still – and feel peaceful. We grab that first cup of hot steamy morning coffee – and feel a sense of hope (that we won’t kill anyone … today). We drive through traffic and experience frustration. We get our paycheck and feel … contentment? Insecurity? Important?
Emotions are not the problems in themselves. They become a symptom of a problem when they are too frequent, too intense, or last too long. They can be too flat. Or they can just hide in a sense of dread or feeling on edge.
Anxiety and Depression Show up as Challenging Behaviors
1) Fears, obsessive thoughts, concentration problems
2) Restlessness / fidgeting. This is more that just extra energy, but it’s a deep unease. You might be fidgeting, pacing, handwringing, straightening your clothes for the 100th time, tapping.
3) Perfectionism – everything having to be in order and be perfect … or else
Anxiety and Depression Show up as Rest Problems
Like everything else, sleeping too much or too little can be an issue
I also tell clients to pay attention to how they feel when they wake up. Are they still tired? (Honestly most of us are). But most of us are also stressed – and stress can create fatigue.
Are you getting enough rest? 7-9 hours / 90 minute increments
Is it quality rest? Limit screen time, naps (no more than 30 minutes), avoid stimulants & heavy foods, be careful of lights
Are you getting rest?
Anxiety and Depression Show up as Withdrawing from Others
Sometimes we withdraw from people and society and believe (or think we believe) that we’re not hurting anyone. But we are.
Avoidant behaviors – withdrawing socially, withdrawing from pleasurable activities,
Self-medicating: People with anxiety disorders may turn to comfort foods, alcohol or any type of drug that relaxes them (e.g. Xanax, marijuana). These behaviors can also help alleviate emotional pain and distress associated with an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety and Depression Show up as Physical Symptoms
Tension in the body
Digestive issues: Anxiety is thought to be a contributing factor in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other digestive issues. Chronic anxiety can prevent the body from properly and efficiently digesting food, and, in turn, anxiety may result in poor eating habits, which can compound digestive issues.5
Bruxism: This is the medical term for frequently grinding or clenching the teeth. While several factors can cause bruxism, anxiety is the most common culprit. Studies have shown that nearly 70% of bruxism cases occur as a result of stress or anxiety.7
What You Can Do About Anxiety and Depression
1) Name that Emotion
There’s a phrase that I often lean on: “If you name it, you can tame it.” If you’re struggling with emotions, one of the first things you need to do is name what you’re facing. Is it anxiety … depression .. frustration from ____? If you don’t know, check out some feeling wheels and see what fits!
2) Find 1 Thing that Makes a Difference
Don’t try to solve the problem all at once. Find one solution and focus on implementing it. If you’re struggling with anxiety, find something calming. If it’s depression, find something energizing.
3) Find someone (accountability)
Lastly, find someone – anyone who brings energy to your life. It can be a friend, a religious leader, or even a family member.
And if you need it, counseling is an option. A skilled counselor will empathize with you and offer support and help. And you should never feel judged for needing it.
Contact me today to schedule a free consultation to see how I can help you overcome your anxiety and depression.
Matthew E. Morgan, MA, LPCC
Today’s show is hosted by Matthew Morgan, a licensed professional clinical counselor in Ohio. Matthew’s favorite roles are as a husband and father. He also is known for loving his coffee. See more about Matthew here
Behind the Podcast Thoughts:
This was part of a morning wellness talk I gave at a local coffee shop!