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Quick Tips for mental wellness

Understanding mental illness

Maybe it’s not depression.
Quick Tips for mental wellnessOther conditions can mimic its symptoms. Have a doctor rule out thyroid conditions and infection, medications you’re taking, excessive alcohol and sleep disorders before making a diagnosis of depression.

What is hypomania?
Someone experiencing bipolar hypomania may be: outgoing, talkative, creative, productive, energized, impatient, distracted, irritable, defensive or hostile. The other end of the bipolar spectrum is depression.

Men and depression
Many men do not recognize or seek help for their depression. They are more likely to report physical symptoms such as fatigue and sleeping problems than to acknowledge feelings of sadness or worthlessness. Four times as many men as woman die by suicide. Get help!

Women and depression
Women experience depression twice as often as men. Causes included biological differences and social pressures.

One in 10 American adults
is living with depression in any given year; 2.6 percent with bipolar disorder.

Anxiety disorder?
Worrying that is constant, chronic and unsubstantiated, causes major stress and interferes with your life could be an anxiety disorder. Talk to a doctor.

Panic attack symptoms:
Sudden fear with pounding heart, sweating, weakness, faintness, hot/cold, nausea, chest pain, dizziness, feeling of “impending doom.”

Bipolar II
Someone who has Bipolar II disorder experiences depression far more often than hypomania. They’re often misdiagnosed.

Symptoms of depression:
hopelessness, sadness, irritability, guilt, not enjoying activities, sleeping or eating changes, fatigue, isolation.

Managing our mood

Be good to yourself today.
Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Think about the things you like about yourself.

Feeling down?
Browse in a bookstore, library or museum. Take a drive. Explore a neighborhood you’ve never visited, go to the mountains or the shore. Put on some music and sing along.

Focus all your attention on a special object and think of nothing else while breathing slowly and deeply for one to two minutes.

Drop your shoulders, which improves the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, making you feel more relaxed and clear-headed.

For a good mood,
surround yourself with supportive people and avoid those who bring you down.

Trying to control your anger?
Breathe deeply. Then slowly repeat to yourself a calming word or phrase such as ‘take it easy.’

Change your thoughts, change your mood
Learn to recognize the distorted thoughts and beliefs that cause you pain and replace them with healthier ones. A therapist can help.

Family and friends

How to help someone who’s living with depression
Ask how you can help. If she wants to talk, be a good listener and don’t offer unsolicited advice. Notice and point out signs that they’re feeling better. “You laughed tonight more than you have in a long time.”

When your loved one is living with bipolar disorder
Don’t attribute every emotion to their disorder. Maybe they’re just sad or angry. DON’T say “Did you take your meds?”

Reduce conflict
Conflict happens when you make assumptions about what someone says. Did they really mean what you think they meant? Check it out with them.

Healthy body, Healthy mind

Caffeine can increase depression and anxiety
It aggravates anxiety and mood swings; it depletes the anti-stress vitamin B1. It may temporary lift depression, but as it wears off, your mood can plummet. It’s in coffee, sodas, some teas, chocolate and energy drinks.

Protein contains the essential
amino acids important for your mood, sleep, energy, and appetite regulation. Find it in meat, dairy products and eggs, as well as vegetable proteins combined with beans or whole grains.

Folic acid
can improve your mood. Find it in spinach, black beans, oranges, fortified cereals or in supplements.

Fish oil
Omega-3 fatty acids, found in cold-water fish such as tuna and salmon or in fish oil, may significantly reduce depression and anxiety.

Boost your health, lift your mood
Exercise, even walking, boosts your emotional immune system, helps you lose weight and increases your endurance and energy.

Herbal therapy
This ancient treatment may help relieve mild to moderate mood symptoms, anxiety and insomnia with few side effects. Chamomile, damiana, flaxseed oil, hops, lavender, valerian, skullcap and poppies are just a few of the herbs commonly used.

Can’t sleep?
Dim the lights an hour or two before bedtime. Sleep in a dark, quiet room with a comfortable temperature – 65 degrees is best.

Yoga can relax and revive you,
lift your mood and strengthen your body. It’s convenient, costs little or nothing and has no side effects.

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