Certain emotions and feelings may leave you feeling irritable, and give you tension headaches and sleepless nights. Whether you’re feeling anxious or depressed, the symptoms of these two conditions may overlap and mimic one another.

Let’s dive deeper, and try to figure out which of the two you may be experiencing, or could you have both? According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by a massive 25% in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, know that you’re not alone.

Depression Characteristics:

  • Loss in interest or pleasure in activities
  • Excessive worry
  • Nervousness
  • Fear
  • A loss of sexual desire
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain
  • Agitation, restlessness, and pacing
  • Slowed movement and speech
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, suicide ideations

Anxiety characteristics:

  • Cold or sweaty hands
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea
  • Numbness or tingling in hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Muscle tension
  • Nightmares
  • Feeling panic, fear, and uneasiness
  • Repeated thoughts or flashbacks of traumatic experiences
  • Inability to be still and calm
  • Uncontrollable, obsessive thoughts
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Obsessive behaviours, like washing hands repeatedly

As these conditions manifest differently in different people, you may not always know what your symptoms mean, so it’s best to get professional help and a proper diagnosis.

What does help look like?

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that teaches people how to challenge their negative thoughts and reduce stress with coping skills and relaxation techniques. CBT is the most-researched psychotherapy for treating pain, as well as an established treatment for anxiety and depression.

Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) focuses on the link between the onset of symptoms and current interpersonal problems, like unresolved grief, relationship conflicts, and social isolation or withdrawal.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are antidepressants that are frequently used with CBT and other forms of psychotherapy for more severe anxiety and depression. Other options include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs).

Exercise can ease symptoms of depression and anxiety by releasing feel-good chemicals in the brain that boost your sense of wellbeing. Being active is also a great way to divert your attention away from your daily stressors.

Relaxation Techniques and Mindfulness Meditation are excellent ways to train your mind to slow down racing thoughts and calm your mind and body by sitting quietly and focusing on your breathing. These can help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve quality of life.

Good to know 

Aside from getting some fresh air to clear your mind, consider immersing yourself in a book; it's a great way to relax. There’s even evidence that reading books on spirituality or psychology can improve your mood.


This article is for informational purposes only. Always check with your doctor or medical practitioner about any health concerns, before embarking on any fitness or nutrition programme, and usage of any medication.