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Managing Depression and Anxiety


Depression and anxiety are the most frequently seen problems in psychological services. Interestingly, they tend occur together so if you experience both sets of symptoms, please know this is a common struggle.

Depression can be conceptualized as a low mood or loss of pleasure in things you used to enjoy. It can affect the way you eat, sleep, think, react and feel. In some cases, depression may negatively influence your social life, work, family, or relationship. Anxiety on the other hand, is a chronic feeling of uneasiness or worry that is out of proportion to the situation. At times, we all feel anxiety that is normal or adaptive in the appropriate circumstances. For example, it is common to feel a little anxious before we write an important exam or before we participate in a playoff hockey game. People who are overly anxious tend to feel on edge and often anticipate negative outcomes when uncertain. Anxiety can come on “out of the blue” or can be triggered by specific situations such as social interaction, public speaking, or unique fears such as flying. The relationship between depression and anxiety is bidirectional: depression can make people anxious or the distressing anxiety can lead people to feel depressed. Whether you suffer from one or both of these common difficulties, here are some ways counselling may help:

  • Identifying negative or inaccurate beliefs about the self, other people, or the world that influence emotions and behaviour

  • Developing more positive, accurate or balanced beliefs 

  • Providing positive coping strategies known to improve mood and cognitions

  • Building the confidence and capability to return to work or school 

  • Tackling the emotional barriers to meeting life's demands

  • Testing and challenging your dysfunctional beliefs through guided exposures

  • Providing you with strategies to minimize and reduce anxiety such as mindfulness, deep breathing and relaxation techniques 

  • Providing psycho-education in order to help you better understand depression and anxiety so you feel more in control of your mental health

If you experience depression or anxiety, contact Dr. Paul Johnston’s counselling centre in Thunder Bay for help.

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