Depression and anxiety affect millions of Americans and millions more around the world. Not only does it change a person’s emotional and psychological state, but it also causes a negative ripple effect on the people around them. Depression can come as a result of various factors. But one thing is sure, it can result in worse consequences if it’s not addressed.
Who could not forget many of the celebrities who struggled with depression and succumbed to addictions? Others ended their lives for good. Yes, depression and anxiety are real and pressing issues of our times. It can affect your friend, your brother, your sister, your relative, or you.
Fortunately, it is a curable condition. While the easy recommendations are pills and medications, experts warn that these could lead to dangerous side effects. Thankfully, there are alternative approaches to treat depression naturally. One of these is the weighted anxiety blanket.
But before we delve into that, let’s first look at the fundamentals of depression and anxiety.
Depression vs. Anxiety
Depression and anxiety can occur side by side. In some cases, depression leads to anxiety, while anxiety can incite depression. According to studies, around 45% of people with one mental health condition struggle with two or more disorders. Though there may be varying causes, both conditions may manifest similar symptoms and treatments.
The symptoms of depression can either be physical and emotional.
Physical symptoms include:
- reduced energy
- chronic fatigue
- constant sluggish feel
- difficulty in focusing, making decisions, remembering
- frequent pain, aches, cramps, or unclear cause of gastrointestinal issues
- changes in weight or appetite
- difficulty in sleeping, early wake-up, or too much sleep
Emotional symptoms include:
- involve lost interest in activities or hobbies you previously loved
- A constant upheaval of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness
- lack of hope and pessimism
- easily angered, or irritated
- experiencing a feeling of unworthiness or helplessness
- suicidal thoughts and attempts
Anxiety symptoms can also manifest physically and emotionally. However, take note that anxiety is normal because we all experience it for some reason. But, prolonged or chronic anxiety can be damaging and leads you to irrational and unwanted thoughts and fears. All these can interfere with your daily life and routines.
Physical symptoms of anxiety include:
- frequent fatigue feeling
- difficulty focusing or remembering
- muscle tension
- racing heart
- grinding teeth or biting lips
- sleep-associated problems such as restlessness, draining sleep, difficulty sleeping, and unsatisfying sleep
Emotional symptoms of anxiety similarly manifest:
- restlessness, irritability, or feeling on edge
- uncontrolled worry or fear
- constant dread
- panic and nervousness for unclear reasons
Remember. Anxiety and depression can exude overlapping symptoms, including difficulty sleeping and concentrating, irritability, and uncontrolled anger or fear. However, if you noticed, several differences distinguish the two.
Alternative Approaches to Treating Depression and Anxiety
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, drugs or pills can provide instant relief from depression and anxiety. However, such relief lasts only for a time, and yet, there can be worse consequences or side effects. Add to that the amount of money you need to spend.
Good thing, there are alternative approaches you can apply to deal with depression and anxiety. That may surprise you. But many of the everyday activities we do are crucial to healing. These strategies are simple, practical, and cost-effective but can lead to total ridding of depression.
Let’s describe each one of them.
These are practices and techniques you can apply to boost the mind’s positive impact on the body. It can also work the other way around. Among the common examples of these are relaxation training, meditation, hypnosis, and imagery/visualization. These strategies have played essential roles in traditional healing for centuries, especially in Asian countries such as China and Japan.
Various researches confirm that yoga, for example, can result in positive outcomes for anxiety and depression. Mindfulness has also been proven to have a significant impact on improving one’s mood. Specifically, it improves anxiety and depression symptoms in just after eight weeks.
Other forms of mindfulness include tai chi and qigong. The good thing about this? You can quickly learn them at little cost and with minimal risk. Not only do they help you cope with anxiety and depression, they help you take a sense of control over at least an aspect of your life.
It is only recently when experts are beginning to appreciate the uniqueness of each person’s biochemical processes. Functional medicine, for example, is just starting to gain acceptance in the medical world. This strategy seeks to assess the genetic information and the unique variations occurring in each person’s metabolism. That includes their special need for nutrients.
The basic nutritional supplementation for people suffering from mood disorders are:
- multiple Vitamin with B6 and minerals
- Omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA totaling 1000-3000 mg every day
- Probiotics with two or more live cultures
- and Vitamin D-3 (Dosage correlates on the vitamin D blood level and season of the year)
Take note, however, that nutrition-dense organic foods still provide the best source of nutrients for the body-mind. Keep in mind though, that while standard nutritional supplementation is helpful, avoid some supplements while taking some prescribed pills and other medications.
Essential oils prove useful in dealing with anxiety and depression because of their aromatherapy. Of course, there are individual preferences of scent or self-care. Among the conventional essential oils with calming effects are lavender, basil, chamomile, and Frankincense. Bergamot and peppermint oil also yield stimulating results and can help those coping with depression.
Merely being with nature can have an instant relief to the body. Imagine taking a walk in a forested park. You’ll notice that you immediately gain pleasant feelings, and your mood suddenly changes for the better.
Watching natural scenery such as mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and rainbows manifest feelings of calmness, beauty, happiness, hopefulness, and rejuvenation. You’ll feel alive with nature! Of course, it not only helps you cope emotionally but also helps decrease blood pressure, muscle tension, production of stress hormones, and heart rate.
Animal-assisted and Pet Therapies
Got a cat or a dog? For sure, you feel happy with their company. Studies show that pets offer therapeutic interventions for people with depression and anxiety. So, if you feel struggling, run along with your dog. Tickle your cats. Or watch your pets play around. You’ll have this positive mood boost.
Both empirical and scientific evidence shows that music therapy comes with healing effects. Actively listening to or performing music can promote a healthy emotional state. There is a need, however, to further validate its results but given its low cost and risks, you can do this anytime. Feeling sad? You may tune in to Christian songs or other hymns you find inspirational.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese are known for their numerous traditional healing methods. However, did you know that they also have alternative approaches to treating anxiety and depression? Among these is the use of herbs, acupuncture, movement practices like tai chi, traditional massage, amongst others.
This technique involves proper diet, regular exercise, natural botanicals and supplements, mind/body practice, hydrotherapy, and other methods.
Let Weighted Blanket Help You Deal with Anxiety and Depression
Aside from herbs or supplements, there are other items you can take home, which may be vital to healing anxiety and depression. It’s not something you might find high-end or sophisticated. It’s called weighted blankets. For sure, you must have heard about some of the best weighted blankets or cooling weighted blankets. These are now fashionable stuff in the marketplace, both in shopping malls and online.
Check out some reviews, and you’ll notice that weighted blankets rake positive comments. They even generated strong recommendations. Most of these are associated with the comfort and the calming and relaxing effect they give. But there is more to that.
How Does Weighted Blankets Work?
Today, researchers and scientists are showing correlated studies on the role of weighted blankets to help with anxiety and depression. Let’s get to know more about this.
Weighted pressure is the primary feature of a weighted blanket that links to its healing property. Studies show that such attributes can help both children and adults deal with attention deficit disorders, distress, anxiety, insomnia, and sensory over-over-responsivity.
Sometimes called gravity blankets, weighted blankets boost serotonin and melatonin while reducing cortisol, which is a stress hormone. As a result, weighted blankets produce peaceful and calming effects. They also improve cognitive functioning among people of all ages.
More importantly, these properties make weighted blankets helpful in reducing anxiety and depression alike. The good thing about it? They are typically safe to use and helps people achieve a more relaxing state and therefore, better sleep quality.
Typically, weighted blankets push your body downwards, thereby helping ground it. That process is called “earthing” or “grounding.”
Grounding the human body while sleeping synchronizes cortisol secretion with its 24-hours and normal circadian rhythms as hinted in the previous paragraph. That applies primarily among women. The finding relates to a report in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine Trusted Source.
Another study indicated that 30-Ib weighted blankets effectively and safely reduces anxiety among adults. Out of the 32 adults who participated in the survey, a whopping 63% experienced lower anxiety levels.
How Heavy Should a Weighted Blanket Be?
Experts suggest that your weight should help you identify the proper weight of your blanket. Specifically, if you buy one, make sure its 5% to 10% of your body weight if you are an adult. For children, buy them one that is 10% of their body weight with an additional 1 to 2 pounds. If you are not sure, better consult a doctor or an occupational therapist to help you determine which is most comfortable and efficient for you.
It’s also an excellent choice to pick a blanket made from a natural fiber such as cotton. That helps you breathe easier and sleep more comfortably and lightly. Synthetic fabrics such as polyester are typically much hotter and may disrupt your sleep.
Take note, however, that before buying or using a weighted blanket, consult a doctor if you:
- Struggle with a chronic health condition
- Experiencing menopause
- Have circulation and respiration issues
- Have temperature regulation issues
Tips for Weighted Blankets
Here is some vital information you should know before purchasing a weighted blanket:
- Weighted Blankets can Cost More. Because of its customizable features and specific manufacturing requests, weighted blankets can fetch double or even triple price compared to regular blankets. Some can cost as high as over 110.00 dollars.
- Fabric Matters. A lot of manufacturers and small enterprise owners offer you choices of what your blanket can be made of. Standard options are cotton, flannel, fleece, and polyester. Some bizarre forms such as soft, and fluffy Minky fabrics are also available. If you want an anxiety weighted blanket, better select the type with a natural fiber like cotton.
- General Rule of Thumb. This applies when personalizing or customizing a weighted blanket. It simply refers to taking 10 percent of your weight for the blanket’s filler. So, if you plan to buy one for a child weighing 15 lbs., a blanket of 5lbs would do just fine. But if it’s for an adult, the excellent starting point is 10 lbs. Experts would recommend, however, that you can still select less or more, depending on the comfort it gives.
- Blankets come in Various Fillers. Weighted blankets such as anxiety blanket diy are filled with many different things. Among these are polypropylene pellets, river stones, rice, glass, beans, and sand. Each filler has its advantages and disadvantages. Whichever you choose, make sure you can conveniently wash or arrange your weighted blanket.
Of course, you need to consider the effects these have on your sleep. Good thing, some weighted blankets contain an additional inner layer of quilting batting for a putty-soft feel.
- Fit your Body, Not the Bed. When choosing the weighted blanket, make sure it fits your body and not the bed. In that way, you could comfortably position yourself in the healthiest possible way. Of course, you can have the liberated feel of sleeping peacefully on your fluffy bed.