About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared in print as well as on this website and others. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery, and the entertainment industry.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), major depressive disorder affects over 16.1 million adults in the United States. This represents 6.7 percent of people who are eighteen years old or older. The ADAA adds that this condition typically begins in a person’s thirties and is more likely to occur in women.
Another depressive disorder is persistent depressive disorder (PDD), a condition that occurs for a minimum of two years. It, too, typically begins when people are in their thirties. Although PDD affects 1.5 percent of the U.S. population annually, or around 3.3 million adults, only 61.7 percent of those struggling with it seek treatment.
Depressive disorders are complex conditions. Some can be the end result of dealing with difficult situation after difficult situation. You might find it difficult to figure out ways to handle these situations. You might experience anxiety and depression because of them. Some people use alcohol and drugs to cope with anxiety and depression. But using such substances often makes the conditions worse and can create addictions.
Drug and alcohol use is common and often begins at a young age. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey on drug use, 13.3 percent of twelfth graders, 9.4 percent of tenth graders, and 5.8 percent of eighth graders used illicit (illegal) drugs other than marijuana in 2017. Some of those who struggle with substance abuse might have to turn to a top rehab center in California. It may help to turn that person’s life around.
While drug use can occur at any age, the teenage years may be a big turning point. According to researchers, rats exposed to alcohol as adolescents displayed changes in their DNA that reversed the operation of specific genes. The researchers hypothesize that adolescent binge drinking can create similar molecular changes in human offspring.
Given such dramatic, long-lasting results, abusing alcohol and drugs is not a solution to combat stress. It might end up leading someone to a top rehab center in California because of such abuse. But while it may seem tough to overcome stress and difficulties, there are other ways to make life easier by turning tough times into more positive ones. Here are some ways to cope with difficult realities:
1.) Learn from your mistakes. According to University of Exeter psychologists, it can take 0.1 second for the brain to react to stimuli that have caused errors in the past. Using this early-warning signal in the brain can help prevent us from making the same mistake twice. Using previous errors and learning from them can be just what you need to start doing things differently.
2.) Look for the positive in the negative. In an article published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, researchers Tabitha Kirkland and William A. Cunningham explained that a balanced response in the amygdala can relate to happiness. The amygdala is the region of the brain related to emotional processing and other functions. This research indicates that people who are happier are not blind to negativity or naïve. Instead, they realize the good and the bad in the world as they respond to it.
As negative things happen in life, you may become more grateful for the positive things you experience. Recognizing the positives could prevent you from dwelling on the negative side of life and constantly seeking other things.
3.) Try to eliminate negative thoughts. Susan Reynolds and Dr. Teresa Aubele, writing in Psychology Today, say that having positive thoughts can provide many benefits. Such benefits include improvements in analytical, thinking, and creative skills and can contribute to the growth of nerve connections.
Conversely, consistently negative thinking could reinforce new neural connections, alter your perception and memory, and affect your relationship with your environment. While it can be a challenge to think positively, following the advice in this article might help produce more positive thoughts.
4.) Exercise regularly. You might be exhausted when you come home from work and not want to do anything. But exercising can make a huge difference in how you feel physically and mentally.
Psychology professor Michael Otto says that there is a direct link between exercise and mood. “The link between exercise and mood is pretty strong,” Otto states. “Usually within five minutes after moderate exercise you get a mood-enhancement effect.” Physical fitness can thus alter your mood as well as your body.
5.) Avoid making definitive statements. You might be familiar with making statements utilizing words such as always, worst, ever, never, and other similar words. When you do so, you are making definitive statements about your life, statements that might not be true.
Writing in Forbes, Travis Bradberry notes that “Do you really always lose your keys? Of course not. Perhaps you forget them frequently, but most days you do remember them. Are you never going to find a solution to your problem? If you really are that stuck, maybe you’ve been resisting asking for help.” It’s true we might make statements that are conclusive and definitive many times. It’s also important to recognize they are not often true.
Throughout life we will face challenges. They could be monumental in stature or relatively minor in the long run. They might lead us down paths we never expected or into situations we never envisioned for ourselves. But remember, many are only temporary. They are not permanent and do not represent the full makeup of your life.
If you begin to take steps toward a better tomorrow, there is no reason why that should not become a reality one day. In the end, try to take some time each day to be grateful for the things you have. Recognizing the positives in your life may help springboard you into a better future.