Could Your Life Stress Be Triggering Anxiety and Depression? Here’s How to Tell

Life will always have those temporary moments of uphill battle – the deadline at work that suddenly seems to appear out of nowhere, the unexpected expense, the friend or family member that seems to drain us from time to time – it’s all there. While we can expect these things, there are some stressors that trigger deeper, more serious mental health concerns like anxiety and depression. Sometimes these events cause only minor flare-ups of symptoms, but others create perpetual issues that affect you on a larger scale. Take a good, hard look at what you’ve been going through lately. How have your life events affected your mental health?

A 2018 study published in the journal Deviant Behavior involved the analysis of survey responses completed by 500 undergraduate students at a University in Arizona. Ultimately, researchers found that life strain can cause maladaptive coping strategies of negative emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, depression and more. When individuals were experiencing life strain and felt a negative emotion, they were more likely to:

  • Withdraw from others rather than participate in social activities
  • Drink alcohol
  • Make more impulsive or risky decisions

In addition, the study also found that many individuals would not seek services for mental illness until they were undergoing extremely negative emotions – making preventative care even more important for people to know about. Mental Health America notes other warning signs, such as:

  • Strong feelings of anger
  • Excessive worries, fears, and anxieties
  • Feeling extreme highs and lows
  • Dramatic changes in your sleeping and eating habits
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Unexplained physical maladies

In an ideal world, the moment life becomes quite stressful we would seek out healthy, effective coping strategies to release any pent-up emotion that comes. We would practice daily self-care activities such as proper self-hygiene, eating healthily and getting adequate exercise, maintaining a proper support system, engaging in activities that give us life purpose, and much more. In reality, this doesn’t always work out. If you relate to any of the symptoms mentioned above, seek help from a healthcare professional. Your mental health is important.

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