Having a healthy mind is an important part of being healthy, but many times we have unanswered questions about how to make sure we are thinking positively and about how to recognize depression or anxiety. Below are some things to think about!

How do I know if I am sad versus depressed?
Sadness is a common emotion that most teens experience. It can be a reaction to something bad or unexpected, like getting a bad grade or getting into an argument with a friend. Most people are sad for a while and then are able to be happy again.

Depression is more severe than sadness. When someone is depressed they could feel low mood for weeks. Depression can also impact the way a person thinks and acts or the way they feel. People who are depressed can experience several different feelings:

  • Sad
  • Anxious
  • Empty
  • Hopeless
  • Worthless
  • Guilty
  • Irritable
  • Restless
  • Helpless

Someone who is depressed could lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, like hanging out with friends, or may not feel like eating or may eat more than is normal for them. Other problems can include not being able to focus in class or during homework time. Some people become so depressed that they may even think about suicide. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing several symptoms of depression, especially thinking about suicide, get help immediately. Tell a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher, or go to your doctor. There are also hotlines that you can call to speak with someone immediately – like 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can also chat with someone online.

What is anxiety?
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling, often followed by nervous behavior, like pacing back and forth, sweating, or shaking. Anxiety also affects the body in different ways; some teens experience muscle tension, headaches and stomachaches, or difficulty breathing. The signs of anxiety can last for a few moments or longer.
Most teens experience anxiety, like right before or during a very difficult test, or when faced with a new experience, like going on a first date or trying out for a sports team. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real threat, like finding a dangerous animal, such as a rattlesnake, in a garage. Anxiety can be a big problem if it is intense and lasts for too long. An anxiety disorder, similar to depression, is a condition that affects the way people think, act, and feel. Teens who are severely anxious may experience these symptoms:

  • Restlessness
  • Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty with sleep

There are several types of anxiety disorders, and if left untreated, they can get in the way of doing well in school and can make it difficult to enjoy things. If you think you or someone you know is experiencing several symptoms of anxiety, get help. Tell a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher, or go to your doctor.

Watch this YouTube video to learn more about having a healthy mind even when you are feeling stressed!