Stress and depression are two common terms. However what do we mean by the term stress and depression. And can stress be caused by depression?
What is depression?
Nearly a fifth of adults in the UK experience anxiety or depression, according to official figures. This is a high statistic. Depression can affect more women than men. However the biggest suicide rate in the UK is men. Men in the UK aged 20 to 49 are more likely to die from suicide than any other cause of death.
These stats are serious. Support should be readily available. It is also important for both men and women to be able to feel comfortable to speak out about how they are feeling and to seek support where needed.
Depression effects how you think, feel and act. It can be highly debilitating. Those suffering with depression can experience the following – lack of energy, lethargy, low mood, a feeling of hopelessness and poor self worth. Making day to day decisions can be a challenge. You often feel tired, agitated or restless.
Often those suffering depression can feel isolated. There can also be feelings of low confidence and poor self esteem or self image. Often those suffering depression will be unable to cope, and will usually employ poor coping strategies.
Depression can manifest itself by way of a number of factors. These include a significant life event such as trauma or loss of a loved one, losing a job, the end of a relationship or an illness. It could also be triggered by a previous trauma or life event. Depression can also be a long term health complaint causing feelings of low mood and a pattern of negative thinking.
The good news is, it is treatable. Mindset techniques can be taught to enable huge shifts.
What is stress?
First of all I want you to know, stress is not a bad thing. Stress in certain situations is something that is required. Our caveman ancestors needed stress as a survival mechanism as they were living on danger alert much of the time.
We would call this fight or flight. So if the caveman was faced with any dangerous situation, for example coming face to face with a grizzly bear, he would be in immediate danger. He would be faced with the challenge of either having to fight for survival, or to run away at speed. Either way, the body would be flooded by the hormones of stress such as adrenaline and cortisol. The body would be prepared in every way. The blood would pump, the heart rate would increase, blood is pumped to the extremities, and other physical issues would be experienced such as a change in the breath rate.
This was fine, very helpful and resourceful in the caveman years, but it is very rare we are faced with dangerous situations in the present day. However many of us are living by the hormones of stress. We experience what we see as a perceived threat and we process the same physiological symptoms. So we produce the same hormones. If we are living in a world where we are on constant high stress alert where the body is being pumped by the same hormones, over time, this can lead to issues including increased heart rate and blood pressure and burnout.
Current neuroscience research suggests that we are addicted to the hormones of stress. We are thinking the same thoughts, which leads to the same emotions. We then produce the same chemicals. The chemicals of stress literally flood the body. These chemicals become familiar, like any other chemical would that was constantly being produced and fed into our nervous system.
But then what happens? We are headed for ill health. In addition, when the body is being flooded by such chemicals, or at any point when we are experiencing any high stress situation, we struggle to make decisions as the brains functionality is limited and minimised.
Too much stress placed on the body and the autonomic nervous system is going to cause havoc. We cannot survive constantly living by the hormones of stress.
Can you see how the two could be linked?
We think around 60,000 thoughts a day. Most of our thoughts are negative (85-95%) and most are from the day before (85%) So we are often thinking the same thought patterns day in day out.
Every single time we have a thought, it creates a chemical. So if we have a negative thought, we create the chemicals of stress such as adrenaline and cortisol and so on. This chemical then flows right down the spinal chord into the body, which creates a feeling, which will be linked directly to the thought. This can then be a vicious cycle.
Those suffering with depression will be living within a pattern of negative thought process, which will then create the feelings as discussed above. For example lethargy, helplessness and low mood.
There is certainly much more research to be undertaken, but I would suggest constantly living by the hormones of stress can lead to feelings linked to what I refer to above, which in turn is likely to lead to depression or related symptoms.
How can I help you?
If you can resonate with anything that is discussed in this article, then I can help you.
I have worked with many clients who have experienced deep routed stress and depression for years. I teach clients practical tools and techniques which allows them to completely eradicate signs and symptoms.
I help clients to change their mindset which allows them to feel calm and relaxed. I allow them to get off the hamster wheel and to become stress free, reducing other related feelings of anxiety, worry and panic. They feel a new lease of life and are able to make decisions with ease.