Can Hopelessness Make You Ill?
This question of hopelessness and illness is a tricky one because there is an underlying denominator in both. That is depression. Can hopelessness make you ill?
It’s a medical certainty that depression leads to hopelessness and that depression also causes physical symptoms. However, the question must also be what causes depression?
While it is a clinical illness, it could also be linked to situational events like a death, a divorce, or a job loss. Does hopelessness cause depression or is it the other way around?
Looking at Hopelessness
Hopelessness can be a trigger for either temporary or chronic clinical depression. Hope is the idea that things will get better and so hopelessness is the idea that you are stuck where you are with no way to get out of a situation.
Believing that there is no way out would certainly cause depression. Studies show that ongoing depression breeds more depression. There is also proof that clinical depression does cause a sense of hopelessness, even when there are no obvious circumstances for it.
Either way, it’s a cycle that must be broken to achieve positive results and improve physical health.
Can hopelessness make you ill? There are physical manifestations of hopelessness in the symptoms of depression. This includes fatigue, upset stomach, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), aches and pains, and chronic headaches.
A hopeless person may lose interest in life and may sleep a lot. They may seek escape in unhealthy ways like chronic television watching, unsafe sex, and substance abuse with alcohol or drugs. In short, they no longer care about the quality of their life because they don’t think it will get better.
Depression has been linked to many types of issues. A study in 2018 with more than 19,000 people should that higher rates of depression and anxiety existed among people with gastroesophageal reflux disease.
This disease causes stomach acids to bubble back into the esophagus, causing heartburn.
A study on IBS shows that 50 to 60 percent of those seeking medical treatment were also diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
A Course of Action
The cycle of hopelessness and depression must be broken. There are ways to do that both medically and on your own, depending on your situation.
One of the first things to do is find out if you have clinical depression. That is a chemical imbalance that can be treated with a prescription.
Some people go on these prescriptions as an emergency course and later come off them as they find new ways of coping with anxiety and challenges.
Changing Your Mood
A natural way to lift someone out of hopelessness exists but it takes some determination. You much change your behavior first to change your mood.
Studies suggest that mood can be manipulated by behavior and experiences. Those who change their behavior and experiences can then improve their mood. The idea is that we can’t control our feelings or our mood. We can control our behavior so changing our behavior will then force our mood to change.
This idea was promoted when IGEA Brain and Spine neurologist Dr. Isha Gupta promoted smile therapy. Gupta said smiling creates a chemical reaction that releases happiness hormones including dopamine and serotonin. This reduces stress and increases happiness.
In other words, smiling even when you are hopeless will soon make you feel happier and more hopeful.
Other studies suggest that exercise can help those with chronic depression by boosting moods. It also improves alertness and concentration as well as overall health. Exercise is also a key factor in releasing hormones that affect feelings.
Summary on Can Hopelessness Make You Ill
Reducing hopelessness and depression and improving your happiness will improve your physical well-being. Here are some tips to get started.
Decide you will put away self-pity. You may feel like dwelling in misery and that’s okay for a while but set a time limit. Decide that at a specific time you will get up, get moving and do something to break the mood.
Eat better. People who are depressed can easily dig into a half-gallon of Rocky Road ice cream or not eat at all for a day or two. This should be temporary. Start preparing healthier meals for three days.
Get moving. You have to do something physical to feel better. It can be a walk or cleaning your kitchen. A body in motion stays in motion.
Smile and connect. You may not feel like smiling but do it anyway. Decide to reach out to one person during your say.
Clean your surroundings. It’s amazing how a messy house can make you more depressed. Start cleaning it.
Can hopelessness make you ill? It can but you have control. You will find that your mood is improved soon after implementing new coping strategies. You are no longer hopeless because you can see that you have control over some things in your life and can change things.
More physical activity and better nutrition will improve your health. You’ve started a new healthy, positive cycle that will build on itself.