The Depression/Anxiety Antidote
April 22nd, 2021
We hear these terms often; “depression,” “anxiety.” We are hearing them even more now since the pandemic began over a year ago. So what do they both mean? I would like to introduce you to a helpful tool that we can use to help us better understand these concepts – The Window of Tolerance. The Window of Tolerance helps us to understand our nervous system arousal level. Hyperarousal, or too much nervous system arousal (fight or flight), is consistent with the feeling of anxiety. Our nervous system will often go into overdrive to protect us. Hypoarousal (too little arousal) is consistent with depression, we are often left feeling disconnected, not present and/or shut down.
Our goal in therapy is often to find ways to get folks back into this middle, or “optimal,” zone. Anxiety and depression counselling, specifically interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, is a good place to begin. You and your counsellor can review what the interventions entail and which may be good fit for you. In the meantime there are some strategies you can use in your daily life to support yourself through these times. Taking care of your baseline health is important; eating well-balanced meals, limiting alcohol/caffeine intake, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Some practices to incorporate when your arousal level becomes too high are deep breathing (inhaling and exhaling slowly), counting up to 10 slowly, or finding some way to ground yourself (bring yourself back to sensory experience – touch, taste, smell, sound). You can also takes steps to learn what triggers your anxiety. Try to keep a journal of instances where you are feeling overwhelmed, it may help you to identify a pattern. Finally, finding someone trusted to talk to can be very helpful. Speaking to a counsellor can help you understand behaviors that may not make sense to you, notice thoughts and patterns and begin to manage them, and how to make positive changes in the present moment.
Book in today to see Alex to learn more about managing anxiety or depression symptoms by calling 604-455-7772 or clicking here!