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Sadness, loneliness, and occasional depression are experienced by everyone at some point in their lives. Feeling sad or depressed can occur as a result of a break-up, work stress, financial problems, general struggles of life and is a normal reaction to grief and loss. These feelings come and go, and typically, there is a source or reason for the depression that we can identify. Conversely, when a low mood and certain accompanying symptoms become the norm, and last for more than two weeks, it may be indicative of clinical depression.
A diagnosis of depression requires that there be several persistent symptoms along with a low mood that are present for at least two weeks. Not everyone will experience every symptom; some may have a few, while others will have many. The symptoms can be severe or mild and can vary based on the stage of depression.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression include
Feeling sad, empty, or anxious
Ongoing aches and pains, digestive problems, and headaches that don’t ease with treatment and have no known cause
Appetite loss or eating too much, including a 5% bodyweight loss or gain over a month’s time
Suicide attempts or thoughts of suicide
Anger, irritability, short temperedness and everything and everyone getting on your nerves
Loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, even sex
Restlessness and irritability
Insomnia or excessive sleeping
Feelings of pessimism and hopelessness
Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, or guilt
Fatigue and significant loss of energy
Restlessness and restless behavior such as the inability to sit still
Problems concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details
If you suspect that you have depression, it is time to seek medical help. Depression is certainly treatable and doctors have various options at their disposal. If left untreated, depression may get worse, and can last for several months or years to cause major suffering, a reduced quality of life, and may even lead to suicide. More than 10% of people with depression commit suicide.
There are various mental health screenings to diagnose depression and the type of depression you may have. Typically, depression is treated with psychotherapy or antidepressant medications and often both avenues may need to be utilized for successful treatment outcomes.
Can Coffee Really Help You Stay Focused?
There have been many studies about the effects of coffee on productivity. Caffeine is the main source of effects experienced, as it is a stimulant—this means that it kicks our nervous system up a notch and is thus a good facilitator of focus. Two ways it does this by increasing your levels of alertness and mental performance.
Though its benefits are substantial, use caution to monitor your coffee intake. On the flip side, too much can be counterproductive towards your goals and inhibit cognitive abilities rather than improve on them.
Mental Performance and Alertness
Some tasks are just plain tedious; there’s no way around it. Going through this process can make you feel sluggish and decrease patience throughout the day, and sometimes a cup of coffee is just what you need to reorient yourself.
Studies assert that caffeine can improve concentration and attention. This is especially useful in times when you are:
Experiencing a midday lag
Experiencing lack of sleep
Performing extended repetitive tasks
Working at night
Because your attention span wanes throughout the day, sometimes a cognitive boost is needed to power through it. One or two (depending on your tolerance) cups of coffee can not only renew your focus, but also improve on mental acuity. This means that you can continue to be effective and thorough, even when a day drags on.
Be wary, though, as too much caffeine can cause jitteriness and actually impair your productivity. Moderating your coffee intake, such as limiting yourself to 2 or 3 cups daily, is an easy way to make sure you don’t overdo it and experience a crash later on.
As a stimulant, the caffeine in coffee actually blocks brain receptors related to fatigue. In reasonable amounts it can be a great way to increase cognitive abilities, including:
Self-control and willpower
Attention and concentration
When You’ve Had Too Much
Conversely, drinking excess amounts of coffee can be detrimental. Caffeine as a stimulant is good in small amounts, but too much has the opposite effect.
Sleep patterns, for example, are strongly impacted by caffeine intake. Too much coffee late in the day may make it harder to fall asleep. It can also cause a decline in sleep quality and quantity, which increases your need for caffeine during the day—this can become a vicious cycle.
The consequences of this cycle wreak havoc physiologically. Some of these impairments are:
Elevated blood pressure
Higher risk of “crashing”
This is when the caffeine in your brain wears off
You are often left with less energy than when you began
In moderation, coffee can be great for productivity. It increases cognitive functions and alertness to maximize your daily output. However, too much can cause significant problems. As long as you monitor consumption, caffeine can be a useful tool for success.
Two fabulous packages, available to help you improve your focus...