7 Warning Signs of Depression

7 Warning Signs of DepressionThe world was saddened by the death of Mr. Robin Williams, an iconic comedian, beloved American legend and accomplished actor. Mr. Williams reportedly suffered from severe depression. He appears to have taken his own life.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family. Depression is an insidious mental health disease affecting millions of people every year. Severely depressed individuals are at high risk of suicide.

Symptoms of depression can be tough to detect in someone close to you and even harder to detect in yourself. On occasion, most people feel a little sad, anxious or gloomy. These feelings are quite common when they are the result of a significant life change (e.g., loss of job, divorce, illness, work stress, etc.) and usually last a short time. But, when you or someone you know feels sad and hopeless most of the day, these and other symptoms persist for extended periods of time and effect daily functioning, serious depression may exist and the help of an experienced mental health professional may be needed.

Here are some key areas where depression may lead to diminished functioning and suicide:

  • Extreme changes in sleep habits. On occasion, most people may have a day or two when they either wake up too early, have difficulty getting to sleep or wake up sometime during the night. People experiencing depression will sleep excessively or sleep very little
  • Overeating or appetite loss. Often people who are extremely depressed find themselves eating much more than normal or snacking excessively or having little or no appetite for foods they previously enjoyed.
  • Difficulty staying focused. The inability to think clearly and/or make simple decisions is a frightening part of severe depression. Making major decisions is often intolerable for a depressed person. This lack of concentration leads to increased anxiety, and feelings worthlessness, and/or helplessness.
  • Diminished energy. You may notice that you or a depressed individual moves and speaks at a reduced rate and often complains of being tired without any evidence of physical exertion.
  • Lack of interest.  Depressed individuals have diminished energy and/or no desire to engage in routine activities or hobbies they once found pleasurable.
  • Low self-esteem. During periods of depression, people may dwell on failures and losses and experience feelings of excessive guilt and helplessness. Thoughts of suicide may occur when these feelings persist.
  • Thoughts of suicide/suicide attempt. People who are depressed may say such things as “I wish I wasn’t here”, “what good am I”.

This post is by no means an attempt to diagnose or treat depression.  If you are concerned about depression and/or suicide for yourself or someone else, please use the following resources to get immediate help:

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433) You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

If you are hearing impaired, there are several ways to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • To chat with a Lifeline counselor from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday-Friday (Eastern Standard Time), click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

If you are hearing impaired, and a veteran, service member, or any person concerned about one, there are several ways to contact the Veterans Crisis Line.

  • To text with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, send a text message to 838255.
  • To chat with a Veterans Crisis Line responder, click here.
  • Contact the Lifeline via TTY by dialing 800-799-4889

Call 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)  or  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

If you or someone you know experience any of the warning signs of depression and/or suicidal thoughts or intentions, please take it as very, very serious and seek immediate help.

Gladys Anderson helps individuals and couples to renovate their relationships with partners, family members, friends and co-workers.

Check Your Judgment Meter

Check Your Judgment Gage

Check your judgment meter before it’s on empty. When your judgment meter is running dangerously low, you are more apt to create a story or make an assumption that has no basis in fact.

Good judgment is based on our ability to form an opinion objectively and with some knowledge and insight.

However, often our judgments are based on everything except objectivity, knowledge or fact.

This was certainly the case with me on a recent trip to the supermarket when I noticed a young woman on her cellphone.

That day, my judgment meter was running at dangerously low. My tolerance level had long ago reached the danger zone.

One of the things that will drain my judgment meter is seeing someone talking on a cellphone in public places.

It seems everywhere I look someone is on a cell phone. And I often judge them to be rude, inconsiderate and uncaring individuals. I have no interest in hearing the details of last night’s argument with a spouse, or idle gossip about neighbors or friends. So when I see someone on a cellphone in public, of curse, I decide right then that these individuals as “inconsiderate” and “rude”.

And, just when my judgment meter approached a dangerously low level, I overheard the woman on her cellphone say loudly, “Oh, no!… what hospital? I’ll be right there”.

Now here was something more plausible than the judgment story I had created in my head.  It appeared there was some crisis in this woman’s life.

How quick I had been to judge her – make assumptions about her phone call, her life, and her motives – without any knowledge of her whatsoever.

I wanted my deflated judgment to slink off to the nearest corner and hide my face in shame.

I began to wonder how many other times had I made a quick judgment about someone or a situation only to discover later that I was way off base? What about you?  Have you ever been quick to make a

What about you?  Have you ever been quick to make a judgement about someone without any basis in fact?

The supermarket incident gave me an unexpected pause to reconsider my objectvity and assumptions

Here’s the “aha” moment I took away from that experience:

I recognized that situations are not always as they appear at first glance.

Don’t be so quick to judge or make assumptions

My thoughts determine my reactions and responses to others.

I learned to take time to assess my own assumptions and level of acceptance.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron

So if you find your judgment meter dipping to a low level, consider these options first:

  1. Be willing to acknowledge that you don’t know all the details. I may think it’s rude to talk on a cell phone in public but that doesn’t mean others share my reality.
  2. Accept that others have a different reality from yours. Just because something doesn’t sit well with you does not mean it’s not working for the other person.
  3. Give others the benefit of the doubt before you judge and create a “story” about them and their motives. Consider that you may lack knowledge that could make a difference in what you think.
  4. Check your own thoughts and behaviors before you judge someone else. Are you guilty of the thing that you find most annoying? Have you ever used your cell phone at a checkout line, at a concert or in another public place?
  5. Make sure you have some facts to back up your judgment. Your judgments aren’t always (hardly ever) right. A judgment is an opinion you form without any concrete evidence to support it.
  6. Explore your own beliefs and assumptions to gain greater awareness and acceptance of yourself and others. Use moments of judgment to reflect on your level of discomfort so that you are not giving others permission to push your buttons.

For more tips and insights like this, check out my book, Master the Genie Within: Uncover, Embrace and Celebrate the Real You

7 Stress Busting Tips for the Holidays

Holidays are filled with joyous times spend with family and loved ones but can often be stressful as well. Some studies indicate that stress, depression and suicide are highest during the holiday season.  To reduce stress, overwhelm and possible depression, consider some of these stress busting tips for the holidays, practice some good self care and enjoy!

  • Start your list early.  Even if you change your mind, you have a guideline in place for gift giving and shopping.  I usually start my list early in the year as I listen to what my family and friends say are on their wish list.  Of course, the list might change by December but I’ve already gotten a head start and can avoid the last minute buying frenzy.
  • Budget wisely.  Assign a reasonable dollar amount for each gift on you list.  This may change but you will start your shopping with a ballpark figure in mind and likely won’t exceed your budget.
  • Shop only from your list. Don’t allow the brightly colored decorations, advertisements and shiny objects sway your intentions.
  • Take time out for self-care. While shopping or doing other errands, stop to enjoy your favorite beverage, snack or just “people watch” for 10-15 minutes.  And when done, you can resume your tasks feeling refreshed and ready to forge ahead.
  • Keep entertaining menus simple. Every occasion doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart event.  Remember, entertaining is about creating precious memories and enjoying the company of your family and friends.
  • Use creative gift wrapping. Unless you enjoy gift wrapping, use department store gift wrapping services or recycled gift bags and tissues to cut down on the time, expense and stress of selecting paper and ribbons.
  • Prioritize. Each day, starting December 1, make a list of the important things to be done and prioritize it by importance.  Don’t try to do everything on your list, move some to another day to avoid overwhelm.

When you do too much, are worn out and lack energy, you tend to look at the seasonal preparations as just another chore. With all the planning and activities on the horizon, it’s vitally important to take time for self-care so you can enjoy the season amongst all the frenzy.

Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous Holiday season!

Gladys Anderson – Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Certified Life Coach, family therapist, and Group coaching specialist, Gladys M, Anderson helps nurses, teachers, social workers, therapists and other care giving women to set limits so they have more time, more joy and more energy for self-care.  To get tips, start living out loud with more energy, passion and self confidence, start by getting your FREE copy of Building Strong Boundaries to Create More Breathing Space in Your Hectic Life

What Happens to Your Body When You’re Stressed – Part 1

Have you heard the phrase, “stress is a killer”.  Surely, that phrase should be a wake up call to get a handle on stress. But, unfortunately, most of us wear stress like acomfortable pair of old shoes.

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, two-thirds of office visits to family doctors are for stress-related symptoms such as fatigue, body aches, obesity and heart palpitations.

These are stressful times for all of us and coupled with our day-to-day stressors, we can easily become affected by stressful symptoms.

When you  have a gazillion things on your to-do-list, you’re overwhelmed by the demands on your time, and can’t take a minute just for yourself,  your body will respond to these stressors as though you are in danger. Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes faster, and you get a sudden burst of energy. This is known as the fight-or-flight response.  This response is fine if you are in actually in danger.  But, just imagine feeling this way several times a day for days on end.

Consider traffic jams, deadlines, eating on the run, bills to pay, job changes, family and community obligations, endless chores and errands, and demands and more demands on your time, and energy.  That’s the reality for most of us, most days.

How  would you feel if you could take care of everything you have to do and still carve out some time for self-care?

You don’t have to let stress rule your life.

In the next post, I’ll share with you the four areas of your life where stress takes a serious toll.

Gladys Anderson – Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Gladys Anderson, founder of Coach for YOUR Dreams, is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, writer and speaker. Gladys combines years of experience, training and a genuine commitment to helping nurses, teachers, therapists and other care giving women to set limits so they have more time, and energy to devote to self-care.

The Effects of Stress and How it Shows Up in Your Life – Part 2

Woman afraidI know you hear a lot about stress but unless you get a grip on stress, stress will get a grip on you and won’t let go.

The second article in this series is meant to give you concrete examples of how stress shows up in your life.

I’m sure you have either experienced or know someone who seems prone to accidents, often gets burned while cooking,  is always tired or gets frequent colds during the winter.  It’s not that you or anyone else is unlucky, unhealthy, clumsy or unfocused.  These are all early warning signs leading to stress overload.

Let’s take a look at the effects stress has on your body.

Physical Stress – Do you often complain of a headache or wake up tired?  Here are some signs of physical stress:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach, neck and shoulder pains
  • Frequent colds
  • Excessive tiredness

Watch for frequent colds, pain or excessive tiredness, all which can indicate that your stress level is rising.

Mental Stress – Symptoms of mental stressors may show up as;

  • Confusion
  • Poor concentration
  • Boredom and a negative attitude.

Forgetting to turn off a light is a lot different from not remembering something as important as a doctor’s appointment you have had for months.  Not being able to concentrate on something that you have no interest in is not the same as frequently losing your train of thought while reading your favorite magazine.

Emotional Stress – Lately, have you noticed that you snap at your children, partner, and co-workers more so than usual. Do you find yourself making remarks that you can’t believe poured from your mouth?  Watch for these signs of emotional stress:

  • Irritablility
  • Overly sensitive
  • Impatience
  • Angry
  • Frustration  and Excessive Worry

Stress is most likely the culprit and is  effecting your emotional state. Ask yourself, “what’s going on in my life that is influencing how I feel?  Is it my work, home life, children, family members?”

Emotional stress effects not only your well being but also the people around you who depend on you.

Social Stress –   You’re declining more and more invitations to engage with family and friends.  You would rather just stay home and watch TV.  You just don’t want to be bothered and would rather be just left alone.

  • Isolation
  • Avoidance
  • Lowered sex drive
  • Nagging

Read the final article to learn how you can keep stress at bay.

Gladys Anderson – Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Gladys Anderson, founder of Coach for YOUR Dreams, is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, writer and speaker. Gladys combines years of experience, training and a genuine commitment to helping nurses, teachers, therapists and other care giving women to set limits so they have more time, and energy to devote to self-care.

How You Can Get a New Lease on Your Stressful Life – Part 3

stressed womanStress leads to strokes, high blood pressure, obesity, and a host of other serious illnesses.  Did I get your attention?  Stress is not to be taken lightly.  But the good news is, you can do something about it.

Now that you are aware of the toll stress takes on your body and how to recognize stressful symptoms, here are some ways to help you get a better handle on  stress:.

  • Try new ways of thinking – Change the way you think and the things you think about will change.
  • Work on releasing anger, frustration and worry. Worrying about tomorrow or yesterday wastes precious energy that could best be used to tackle the things you can change
  • Learn to say “no”.  A sure way to add stress to your life is to fear saying no. Saying no sets and maintains health boundaries. Learn to say no and mean it.
  • Manage your time wisely.  Keeping to a schedule will allow you to get more done with less stress.  Only commit to the things you are confident you can accomplish within your time frame. Set consistent boundaries around your time. Do the things that are most important to you first and schedule others for later
  • Take good care of yourself.  Get plenty of rest, exercise and eat well.  A healthy body makes a healthy mind!  Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  It helps to have a strong system of support but if you don’t, there are professionals who are available to assist you in managing stress.
  • Set and maintain healthy boundaries – Establishing firm, consistent limits on your time, energy and resources lowers your stress level.  Don’t take on more than you can reasonably accomplish.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.  It helps to have a strong system of support but if you don’t, there are professionals who are available to assist you in managing your stress level.

How do you handle stress? Share your stress tips with us over in the Self Care Circle

 

 

Gladys Anderson, is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, author and speaker. Gladys combines years of experience, training and a genuine commitment to helping couples and individuals to revive the love, passion, respect and fun that’s been missing from their relationships.
 

10 Quick and Easy Tips to Reduce Daily Stress

In today’s media frenzy, you are constantly bombarded with news of tragedy, war, economic upheaval, and more and doom and gloom headlines. All this just makes you want to scream.

You focus on the problems and not your reactions to them.  That is where you open the door and let stress in.

Here are ten quick and easy things you can do immediately to help keep your stress level under control:

1) Establish consistent routines – Put your keys away in the same place every day. Establishing a predictable, consistent routine allows more time to focus on other important things.  Having things in a specific location cuts down on time spent looking for them and in turn reduces frustration.

2) Avoid Rushing – Keep a small amount of cash handy to avoid rushing to the ATM. When you rush around trying to fit in just one more thing, your stress level increases.

3) Be Prepared – Always keep a minimum of a half tank of gas.  That way, you won’t have to concern yourself with a low gauge when your thoughts should be on where you are going.

4) Tidy up at night – Spend ten minutes at night tidying up so that your day will not start off cluttered and disorganized.

5) Organize your work clothes, lunches, and any work materials you will need for the week on Sunday evening.  You will have more free time in the morning and cut down on stress.  If something needs ironing, you can either iron it Sunday evening or select something else.  You save time and frustration the next morning when all is taken care of and you’re not rushing.

6) Slow Down – Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, practice speaking more slowly than usual. You’ll find that you think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations. Stressed people tend to speak fast and breathlessly.  By slowing down your speech you’ll also appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.

7) Complete One Simple To-Do – Jump start an effective time management strategy. Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g. returning a phone call, making a doctor’s appointment) and do it immediately. Just taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.

8) Manage Your Time – Use a time management system to keep you on track. It can be electronic or paper.  The important thing is that you adhere to a schedule.

9) Get Some Fresh Air – Get outdoors for a brief break. Our grandparents were right about the healing power of fresh air. Don’t be deterred by foul weather or a full schedule. Even five minutes on a balcony or terrace can be rejuvenating.

10) Recharge at the Day’s End – Plan something rewarding for the end of your stressful day, even if only a relaxing bath or half an hour with a good book. Put aside work, housekeeping or family concerns for a brief period before bedtime and allow yourself to fully unwind. Remember when you take the time to replenish and energize yourself, you’ll be much better prepared to face another day.

Use these simple tips to reduce your stress level and you will immediately see amazing results! And for more tips like these, join us in the Self Care Circle.

Gladys Anderson – Life Coach, Therapist, Author

Gladys Anderson, founder of Coach for YOUR Dreams, is a certified life coach, licensed marriage and family therapist, writer and speaker. Gladys combines years of experience, training and a genuine commitment to helping nurses, teachers, therapists and other care giving women to set limits so they have more time, and energy to devote to self-care.