Stress and depression are inextricably related to each and many people often use them in the same breath. But what exactly is depression and how is it different from stress? More importantly, what are the reasons behind rising instances of stress and depression today?
There is a lot of difference between actually being depressed and feeling just a bit down at times. But even the slightest hint of depression must be dealt with in due time to be sure that it doesn’t turn into something bigger and stubborn. Similarly while it is good to have some amount of stress to keep up the motivation and competition at work and in other aspects of life, taking too much stress can cause serious mental and physical harm. We face several challenges every day and it’s natural that some will be harder to accomplish than others. If you take minor failures to heart they will create pessimistic feelings which add up to create a mountain of sadness and depression. If you are constantly under pressure to perform and keep everyone happy at the cost of your own health and mental peace, it will invite stress to attack you and raise anxiety. The one thing that is common among stress and depression is that they both feed off each other and multiply to overwhelm a person. And the most glaring difference is that while stress can be easily managed on a per task basis and is easier to deal with, depression needs to be treated psychologically before it can become clinical and chronic. Typically when someone is feeling a wave of stress, it will last for only up to a few hours but depression is much deeper and may last much longer. Depression will cause powerful mood swings and sometimes a person will lose the will to do anything, saying all is in vain.
Today’s generation has much higher expectations in life than the generations of the past who had limited desires and thus fewer reasons for stress and depression. They are in a constant rat race to earn more money and acquire material possessions as fast as possible. Living life in the fast lane, they don’t have time and resources to prepare for unexpected or adverse conditions if they ever come across one. When their expectations are not met in work, in their relationships and in their life in general, they feel dejected giving rise to the first trickle of thoughts that create depression. When people feel such deep disappointment they tend to gravitate towards negative thoughts and when a person is under the influence of negative thoughts all actions tend to become self destructive by nature. Depression can become chronic and even bring about suicidal tendencies in a person who is trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts and destructive actions.
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High pressure at the workplace with tight deadlines creates a lot of pressure on the mind invoking stress. The worst thing about stress is that it debilitates the mind as a result of the stress hormone cortisol. The more stress there is at work with a sword hanging above your neck, the more difficult it become to actually work in such a state adding further stress in the mind. Sometimes the stress can be mostly physically induced, for example the body giving signals to the brain that it needs rest. This can be a avoided by getting enough sleep and by raising the body’s endurance level and stamina to perform for many hours at a stretch without getting tired or stressed.
To put it in a nutshell, Stress is not always a bad thing but depression in any form is detrimental. If the stress is able to motivate you to perform better then there could be nothing better, but if it makes you tired and drained, its not worth it. On the other hand, even though depression is way more serious and longer lasting than stress, it is very much treatable if you get help in time and don’t let it suck you in. Don’t forget that depression and other mental health problems are nothing to be ashamed of. Seek help when you feel it is taking over your brain’s ability to function normally and don’t stress over it too much on your own.