Anxiety and Depression, an epidemic
Working as a doctor near the CBD of one of Australia’s largest cities I see a lot of young professionals as patients. One of the disturbing things that I have noticed over the last few years is that we are currently experiencing an epidemic of anxiety and depression. This observation has been backed up by a recent survey completed by Australian GPs indicating this is a universal trend across Australia.
What is the cause?
In a world where social media and reality TV dominates our day-to-day lives, we are starting to lose perspective on our own lives and those around us. The photoshopped and edited profiles of glamorous and wealthy people make our own lives seem insignificant in comparison. This leads to feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness that we will never achieve what other people appear to have.
We need to take a step back from the “unreality” of these remote influencers and focus on ourselves and those people who are immediately around us.
What should we focus on?
Forget about money, beauty and power. These are four of the most important factors that I believe we need to lead happy and fulfilling lives:
- Perspective – try to realise that none of us are perfect… even the people on facebook and instagram with the mansion, luxury car and amazing good looks. Try to be humble and admit your own faults and insecurities to others. This will often allow people to relate and feel more connected to you which will improve relationships online and offline.
- Kindness – be kind to yourself and others. There is not enough kindness in the world today. We are all competing with each other and ourselves everyday. This leads to a form of ruthlessness and an uncompassionate view of others and ourselves. Forgive yourself and others on a daily basis and keep reminding yourself to be kind.
- Love – it is important for every human being to love and be loved. Firstly you need to learn to love yourself. Almost all of us struggle with this and it affects our relationships as a result. If we can learn to love ourselves we are far more likely to find others who will also love us, and in turn, for us to reciprocate our love to them.
- Focus – try to focus on yourself and your relationships. We are bombarded with information from electronic devices these days. Learn to switch all of these off. Try spending at least 5 minutes per day sitting with your own thoughts without any distractions (mindfulness). Also pay more specific attention to those people around you including your family, friends and work colleagues. Offline relationships are increasingly suffering as a result of the time that we spend online.
We are all aware of love, kindness and acceptance as important factors for happiness. Yet they are not advertised to anywhere near the same level as money, power and beauty on social or mainstream media. This is leading to a “disconnect” in many people’s lives and is one of the most significant causes for the increasing levels of anxiety and depression in today’s western societies.
Dr Conor Calder-Potts
General Practitioner at Shaw Road Medical Centre