Stress & Mood DisordersJul 22, 2022
A (fairly) new field of research, psychoneuroimmunology (yes, it's quite the mouthful), suggests that chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate mood disorders.
- Depression and anxiety
- Bipolar disorder
- Cognitive (thinking) problems
- Personality changes and problem behaviours.
And with stress at an all time high, it's no wonder we are seeing a hike in mood and mental health diagnoses, especially in the last two years.
Disorders such as depression, anxiety and problem behaviours can be caused by many factors but stress is a common denominator and has been shown to maintain or aggravate them.
One of the common mistakes with mental health conditions and mood disorders is we think of them as just a psychological response, but they also have serious physical consequences, including:
- Decreased immune function - increasing vulnerability to illness
- Disrupting hormone function - creating hormonal imbalances
- Decreased metabolism - causing weight and appetite fluctuations
And when we are physically exhausted or in pain that aggravates feelings of stress, anxiety, depression and so on. It becomes a vicious feedback loop.
So what can we do about it?
The two best steps we can take (in my humble opinion) to support our mental, emotional and physical are:
- Connect with a professional to reduce psychological stress and improve mental and emotional health
- Learn to breathe via conscious effort to relax your mind and body daily. When we learn to breathe ourselves calm we greatly reduce the physical symptoms of stress, illness and pain. We also greatly improve sleep which is essential for a healthy mind and body.
If you are looking for a professional to help with your mental health there are great platforms like Bark (a service to find counsellors, psychologists and the like)
If you'd like to try a calming breathing exercise we have a complimentary one here. You can download this to save and use anywhere, anytime to help combat feelings of stress, anxiety, pain and so on.