Sunday, August 5, 2012

Coping With Stress, Depression, And Anxiety!

Stress, Depression, and Anxiety: Put It in Its Proper Perspective!

Do you sometimes think there is nothing you can do about your stress, depression and anxiety levels? You have too many bills to pay, too many responsibilities to meet, and simply just too much to accomplish in a day.

You can say that again!!

The other day I had just finished paying the monthly bills (a necessary chore I simply hate to do), I was late for my Yoga class and driving faster than I should. In order to save time, I passed on the shoulder of the road. Only for a short distance... after all, that pick-up truck ahead of me was doing the same thing!

Lo and behold, wouldn't you know it, the police stopped me. Just my luck... the cop didn't understand my pleading, I was late for class, I was a poor retired teacher, it was my first time... they were all true! To make matters worse, the pick-up truck got away.

That did not alleviate the ticket I received and it did not alleviate the stress, depression and anxiety it created. It seems like sometimes you just cannot do anything to control your these level.

Well actually, you have more control than you think you have!

The simple thought that you have control of your life is the essence of stress management. This includes learning and practicing relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or tai-chi and exercising. Your body can fight stress, depression and anxiety better when it is fit and you have control over your life. Of course that's always a good thing!

You probably agree, that in order to manage stress, depression, and anxiety you yourself must take charge of your life. You must control your thoughts, your emotions, your environment, and your activities (even if it is driving your car on the shoulder of the road).

You are the only one responsible for controlling the way of dealing with all of these things. In essence, you are responsible for balancing your life toward productivity.

Balancing Your Life

Think how you must balance your life to meet the demands you have: for work, for relationships, for relaxation and for play? Then you must develop the strength to hold up under the challenges of life and the pressures of stress, depression, and anxiety.

On top of it all, you must use management to recognize when the Stress, Depression and Anxiety come into your life and what is causing it. This is not as simple as it may seem!

• Is the cause and is it constantly hitting you in the face?
• Is it constantly producing undesirable thoughts, feelings, and actions that are stressing you out?
• Is it constantly worrying you or causing you conflicts?
• Is it the excuses, habits and attitude you use that helps to identify your various causes?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Yoga for Depression and Anxiety: How to Improve Your Mental Health Through Gentle Stretching

Are you Stressed or Depressed? Try Yoga!

It's well-known that yoga has numerous health benefits and is often recommended for physical ailments such as back pain, but it's interesting to delve into the use of the ancient technique to improve mental well-being and provide a healthy outlook on life.

Recent research in the United States found that three sessions of gentle yoga a week can help combat depression as it boosts levels of a chemical in the brain which is essential for a relaxed mind. In 2010, scientists at the Boston University School of Medicine found that the levels of the amino acid GABA are significantly higher in people that carry out yoga than those who do the equivalent of a similarly strenuous exercise, for example walking. This chemical is essential for the function of brain and central nervous system and promotes a state of calm within the body.

Low levels of GABA are associated with various anxiety disorders, and depression. This would suggest then that there is more to the way in which yoga makes us feel happy and relaxed than simply releasing endorphins as other exercise does.

Stress is a common occurrence in today's society; factors such as the recent credit crunch and job market on top of raising a family, relationships, studies etc. can take a toll on all of us. Our bodies and minds are not designed to handle long periods of stress- which can manifest itself in hypertension, insomnia, skin problems, asthma, ulcers, and as previously mentioned; anxiety and depression.

How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety Through Focused Breathing and Awareness

Yoga provides good results for stress management

-It physically releases stress and tension by the stretching and twisting into different postures (referred to as 'Asanas' in yoga) and unwinds knots in the back and neck muscles etc. which may be causing the body to feel tight.

-The physical exercises releases endorphins, natural hormones in the body which create a feeling of well-being.

-Yoga breathing techniques (known as 'Pranayamas') make a person take deeper breaths which fill the bloodstream with more oxygen and control blood pressure, but also being aware of your control over breathing is a very effective tool in combating stress.

-Pranayamas and Asanas, together the 'language of the body' help us get to know our innermost being, and control over ourselves through learning to control our body. Practising yoga will help realise there is an inter-connection between mind, body and spirit which in turn helps to maintain balance in daily life.

-Yoga clears the mind: Our minds are constantly racing from one thought to another and tiring themselves out in the process! The concentration used in yoga for Asanas and Pranayamas gives the brain a well-deserved break, and puts all other worries and thoughts to the side.

-Yogic philosophy also plays an important role in achieving a more optimistic outlook. Regular practising of yoga can change the way in which a person views the world and their attitude towards achieving goals and success rather than failure. Asanas and Pranayamas impart positive thinking.

-Ending each yoga session relaxing with the 'savasana' or corpse pose might feel like an enforced relaxation at first but eventually becomes a total release for both body and mind, transitioning you back into the world refreshed and ready to go!

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Most Common Types of Mental Disorders

A significantly large number of the population suffers from mental illnesses. These illnesses range from slight annoyances to serious, debilitating conditions. Here are the most common types of mental illnesses and how they affect those who suffer from them.

Anxiety Disorders

When you suffer from an anxiety disorder, fear, dread worry, nervousness and panic rule your daily life. While these feelings are normal in all of us, a person with anxiety disease feels them when it's not appropriate to. They get so out of hand that they interfere with your daily life.

Different types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and separation anxiety.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, are marked by extreme sadness or happiness, and sometimes both. If you have a mood disease, you may have violent mood swings that are far beyond the usual ups and downs we all feel. Mood disorders are often related to substance abuse problems.

Mood disorders include chronic depression, mania, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and dysthymia.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are among the most debilitating. Many people who suffer from them need to live in supervised assisted housing. Hospital stays are also quite common. Psychotic disorders are marked by distorted perceptions and thinking, hallucinations, and delusions. The most common psychotic disease is schizophrenia.

Eating Disorders

If you suffer from an eating disorder, you may have extreme thoughts and behavioral patterns related to food and weight. Most eating diseases come from a skewed perception of your own body weight. The most common are anorexia and bulimia.


Addictions are actually a form of mental illness. When a certain substance is used over a long period of time, it changes your brain chemistry and you become dependent on it. Substances are often abused in this way in order to deal with depression, anxiety or past trauma.

The most common addictions are to drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, prescription medications, opiates and stimulants. Certain behaviors can also be addictive. These include gambling, playing the lottery, sex, pornography, surfing the internet, eating, and even shopping.

Impulse Control Disorders

Impulse control disorders are when you have an uncontrollable urge that makes you act a certain way. Some mental health experts include addictions under this category. Impulse control disorders include things like pyromania and kleptomania.


Dementia refers to any kind of impairment to mental functioning as you get older. While all people lose their memory and certain cognitive abilities when they reach old age, dementia is marked by a more rapid or extreme decline.