Understanding Depressive Symptoms-Agitation Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery Episode 19e

welcome to happiness isn’t brain surgery with Doc’s nights this podcast was created to provide you the information and tools doc Snipes gives her clients so that you two can start living happier our website doc Snipes calm has even more resources videos and handouts and even interactive sessions with Doc Snipes to help you apply what you learn go to doc Snipes calm to learn more welcome to happiness marine surgery with Doc’s knives practical tools to improve your mood and quality of life we’re going to continue with our segments on the causes of depression depressive symptoms and ways to address them in this segment we’re going to talk about the causes consequences and possible interventions for agitation and restlessness now a lot of times when you’re depressed you’re not thinking about agitation and restlessness but there are many many people who have these symptoms when they are depressed they can’t sit still they’re a jeté today they feel like they need to stay moving all the time they’re depressed they’re not getting pleasure from most things they’re having difficulty sleeping they meet other criteria for depression but they’ve also got this other symptom going on so we’re going to take a look at that agitation and restlessness is often but not always accompanied by worry sometimes people worry a lot when you worry and worry and worry eventually you just start running out of gas and you start feeling hopeless and helpless because you’re not able to make that worry go away which is when the depression starts kicking in but there’s also people who are depressed or even when they’re depressed that have agitation and restlessness and it’s not even associated with worry really they just can’t sit still and they don’t that they’re trying to find something to do that’s going to make them happy and nothing seems to work norepinephrine is your get-up-and-go neurotransmitter too much of it or too little serotonin can cause feelings of agitation so you know whether you don’t have enough serotonin or you’ve got too much norepinephrine you need to look at what’s going on either way you’re going to feel agitated when your body perceives stress for too long it’ll determine it may be an unwinnable and may reduce norepinephrine and dopamine turning down that threat response system that we’ve talked about leading to fatigue and apathy at a certain point your brain just goes you know what there’s nothing we can do about this I surrender I give up I’m going to save energy for when it’s really important for when I really need to fight or flee unfortunately when your body tries to save energy and it reduces you know its response you don’t feel pleasure either you need norepinephrine to feel pleasure in addition to feel stress it’s your get up and go whether it’s get up and go and woohoo or get up and go and fight or flee so agitation busters is what we’re going to call them in this segment exercise exercise helps release serotonin they’ve done many many studies they found that exercise can help with depressive symptoms that’s great it doesn’t mean you’ve got to get into the gym and get into target heart rate range and all this kind of other stuff especially if you haven’t been exercising or if you don’t even like exercising exercise means get your body moving get up off the couch and move ideally walking around the walking around the neighborhood playing with your dog doing something a little bit active but anything is better than nothing you don’t necessarily have to get what we typically think of as exercise put on your headphones and dance around your house like a maniac maybe even while cleaning it will help release serotonin it also uses if you want to use that term excess nervous energy I find when I’m really stressed out and I’m agitated especially if it’s maybe I’ve got a job interview coming up or some sort of other thing coming up that I’m a little nervous about I’m not you know persistently worried but I’m a little stressed I may have more nervous energy and if I get up and I put that energy to use for something that I’m not dwelling on whatever it is that I’m kind of worried about and I’m also getting the benefit of getting something positive done cut down is not out stimulants remember if you’ve been using caffeine for a long time and you just cut it out cold turkey you’re going to likely get headaches and stuff anytime you switch anything in your diet start an exercise program talk to your doctor but be aware that switching to decaf can help or hey even water water is even better but I’m being realistic here some things to be careful of and I’ve noticed even more since I’ve quit using caffeine after like 10:30 11 o’clock in the morning it’s a lot of fast-food restaurants that you go to don’t have an option for anything caffeine free that is also sugar-free so since I don’t drink sugar either I usually end up with water water is great for you don’t get me wrong that’s wonderful but do be aware that is not just coffee that has caffeine caffeine is found in root beer sprite ginger or I’m sorry caffeine is found in Coke Pepsi Dr Pepper Mountain Dew and other drinks like tea root beer sprite ginger ale 7up decaf sodas and Powerade type drinks generally don’t have caffeine in them I put the links down here for actually I didn’t for caffeine you can google what has caffeine in it just google things like soft drinks and caffeine amounts and there are lots of different websites that have charts that will show you how much caffeine is in various different things the other stimulant that a lot of people use is nicotine again in an ideal world we would cut it out if you’re not ready willing or able to do that you may want to consider cutting back on nicotine there are smokeless tobacco products as well as cigarettes that have much lower levels of nicotine than other brands so if you’re trying to gradually cut back down you can look at these different websites find something that has less nicotine than what you’re currently using again also you can talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy and things like that but there are options I guess is my point to you you’re not going to stick to something if you feel miserable so figuring out what’s realistic for you is going to be really important in busting that agitation because if when you get stressed out you tend to reach for a cigarette or you know some other sort of Nick eighteen product if you cut that out then we start getting stressed whether you reach for so there needs to be something in there to help you bridge that gap into until you develop new habits and you want to make sure that you’re not going to get so stressed out about quitting the nicotine that it makes your agitation even worse nutrition eat foods high in taurine mackerel eggs and brewers yeast you can do a internet search to find other things if none of those sound really good to you but taurine can help your brain produce gaba gaba is one of your calming neurotransmitters drink enough water and don’t let your blood sugar get too low when your body systems get out of whack you know think about your car and how you have to check all the fluids all the time and make sure that you’ve got the right kind of gas same thing for your body and most of us and I’m not saying everybody but most of us when our blood sugar gets too low we get hangry which is a cross between hungry and angry we want food and we want it now some people also get shaky which adds to their agitation and irritability get focused too many irons the fire could keep you on edge if you’ve got 14 different projects going and you feel like you’re being pulled in 14 different directions yeah you’re probably going to be agitated and stressed because you’re trying to juggle too many balls so see how many you can pare it down to and do it in a succession so maybe get three goals accomplished and then add three more and then work on it like that instead of trying to do 15 at once make sure when you’re getting focused and you’re prioritizing those goals you’re focusing on those goals that are going to help you move toward those people things and goals that are most important to you because that will increase your motivation and reduce your agitation because you’re going to feel good about what you’re doing stay busy if you’re agitating is just you know I’m trying to do something to feel better there’s sitting still I don’t feel good moving I don’t feel good it’s helpful just to stay busy pick up a hobby like crocheting or reading or doing crossword puzzles you can go down the Pinterest rabbit hole I know my daughter does that and reaches there basis will be sitting there in the evening and all of a sudden I won’t hear anything from her for like an hour and she’s just down that Pinterest rabbit hole but it is occupied her for that hour you can clean if worse comes to worse clean that’s when I was in college that what used to be my go-to people could always tell when I was a little bit stressed or agitated because I would be cleaning the baseboards that was my thing I’ve always been a freak about floors and baseboards mindfulness identify your vulnerabilities and I have other presentations other podcasts that I’ve already done on understanding vulnerabilities being mindful of what you need in order to be less vulnerable to getting upset so think about it if you wake up and you’re feeling rested you’re well nourished you’re hydrated it’s a sunny day outside you know you’ve got good friends you feel loved you know you are really buffered against stress as opposed to the days that you wake up and you’re not feeling well you’re running late for work you didn’t get enough sleep yadda yadda yadda and you kind of wake up and you’re in a bad state those days you probably react more strongly to anything negative that comes your way then the days you get up and you know you’ve got that good buffer going so identify your vulnerabilities and work with them you know ideally you want to prevent as many as possible and try to work on making sure that you’re taking care of yourself but sometimes like last night we had thunderstorms all night long and y’all know I let my dogs sleep in the bedroom and one of my dogs is terrified of thunder so every couple of hours when a thunderstorm would come through he would get up jump off the bed and start pacing around like an expectant little father just waiting for the thunderstorm to go away so I didn’t sleep well last night knowing that coming into work today I knew I was going to be less productive and I just accepted that accepted the fact that I’m going to be not on my a-game instead of beating myself up and trying to do everything that I had anticipated getting done so identify your vulnerabilities prevent as many as possible but when there are some you know you wake up and you’re sick or something give yourself some compassion and go you know what I just got to kind of roll with a hand that I got dealt this morning identify your strengths figure out what you’re good at that will help you know delay some agitation because you’ve got good qualities you’ve got something to bring to every situation and identify thoughts you’re having which are triggering your agitation if you’re having some distress intolerant thoughts like I can’t stand this or I have to get this why do you have to get it is the world going to end you want to look for cognitive distortions and unhelpful thoughts that are triggering anxiety and triggering your inability to feel grounded and content meditation or yoga can help you focus on your breath and if you’re focusing on your breath you’re not focusing on everything out here you’re really focusing on paying attention to inhale and exhale maybe listening to your heartbeat whatever it is that you do in your practice get a physical if your hormones your thyroid hormones your sex hormones are out of whack you may feel more agitated or on the other side you may feel lack of motivation and apathetic so it’s important to rule that it will not any of the easy things as we age all of that stuff gets a little bit wonky so it’s important to work with your doctor and it may not be taking pharmaceuticals it may be a matter of getting more exercise or taking additional vitamin supplements to help you maintain the energy levels and stuff that you had when you were 20 oxytocin is a great agitation Buster that is our bonding chemical we find that a hug that lasts about 20 seconds or more can help release oxytocin and help people feel calmer and less agitated now we can’t necessarily when we’re at work walk up to somebody go I need a hug and you may not have an animal at your office place either if you can’t get a hug petting an animal it has also been shown to do similar things so if you can get an animal that is conducive to that my my cat mojo love the little guy but he is the greatest therapy cat and I know you think cats aren’t therapy animals but he is he can tell when I’m stressed and he whenever I am he gets on my stomach and will pat on my chest for a little while and then he’ll just lay down and get all comfy and he knows that I’m not going to move as long as he’s comfortable so we both end up kind of calming down or he calms me down whatever you want to say but when I’m not stressed he would rather not be in my lap so it’s definitely a direct correlation between my agitation levels and you know he helps me feel calmer and more grounded so animals are great examine your environment if you are an extrovert and you’re not getting enough stimulation you could be getting restless which could cause agitation you’re pacing around kind of like a caged animal going I got to talk to somebody I got to be around somebody because I feel like I’m just rattling around in this in-between these walls knowing that you can take steps find meetups online sometimes online chat rooms are helpful but for a lot of extroverts you really actually need the human face-to-face interaction perceivers on the other hand with too much structure may feel like a caged animal so perceivers are the ones that tend to like spontaneity they don’t like too much structure and if you’re doing the same thing day after day after day you wake up you eat breakfast you go to work you come home you eat dinner you go to sleep get up go to bed get up and repeat perceivers are going to get very agitated and very restless with that kind of structure so it’s important that they figure out ways to integrate spontaneity and some fun into their lives so they don’t get resentful and agitated agitation and restlessness are caused by neurotransmitter and/or hormone imbalances which can be caused by worrying about things you know it’s kind of the obvious one physical causes and it can be just aging it doesn’t have to be anything you know life-threatening or overwhelming it can be just you’re getting older or environmental causes so paying attention to what lifestyle factors may be contributing to your agitation and inability to sit still if agitation is due to anxiety then it’s important to address whatever threats are causing you to feel like you need to fight or flee so you know you can work on that with a therapist you can make a list of the things that you’re thinking about and identify which of them are worth your time to address and which of them you just kind of need to let go and then figure out how to do that if agitation is due to something else then minimizing vulnerabilities getting enough sleep eating well having good social support and aiding your body and rebalancing will be imperative so sometimes agitation is caused by like I said aging so you want to do your best to give your body as much energy as it needs to rebalance so you can feel really good and that will help you feel better and probably reduce some of your agitation if you like this podcast you can subscribe on your favorite podcast dot join 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