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How do I overcome feelings of extreme overwhelm and hopelessness that feel suffocating and make it difficult to function in everyday life?

**The brain's emotional response to threat is hardwired**: When we feel overwhelmed, our brain's amygdala triggers a fight-or-flight response, releasing stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, making it difficult to think clearly.

(Source: Harvard Health Publishing)

**Ruminating on negative thoughts can worsen hopelessness**: Rumination, a pattern of negative thinking, can strengthen the neural pathways associated with hopelessness, making it harder to overcome.

(Source: Psychology Today)

**Social connection can reduce feelings of loneliness**: People who feel socially isolated are more likely to experience hopelessness.

Building social connections can help reduce feelings of loneliness.

(Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

**Mindfulness practices can reduce symptoms of depression**: Mindfulness-based therapies, such as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT), have been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and hopelessness.

(Source: American Psychological Association)

**The concept of "semisuicidal" thinking exists**: Semisuicidal thinking refers to experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, but not necessarily wanting to die.

This concept acknowledges the complexity of suicidal ideation.

(Source: Mayo Clinic Connect)

**The "broken Glass" theory of depression**: Research suggests that depression can be thought of as a "broken glass" – once broken, it can never be perfectly restored, but it can be ground into smaller, more manageable pieces, illustrating the importance of coping mechanisms.

(Source: Scientific American)

**Exercise can be a natural mood booster**: Regular exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by promoting the release of endorphins, also known as "feel-good" hormones.

(Source: Mayo Clinic)

**Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for hopelessness**: CBT helps individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns, replacing them with more balanced and constructive ones.

(Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

**The role of sleep in emotional regulation**: Lack of sleep can exacerbate feelings of hopelessness, while regular sleep patterns can help regulate emotions and reduce symptoms of depression.

(Source: Psychology Today)

**The importance of meaning-making in coping with adversity**: Finding meaning in difficult experiences can help individuals develop a sense of purpose and reduce feelings of hopelessness.

(Source: Journal of Positive Psychology)

**Neuroplasticity and the brain's ability to change**: Research has shown that the brain's neural connections can change and adapt, offering hope for individuals struggling with feelings of hopelessness.

(Source: Harvard Health Publishing)

**The role of gut bacteria in mental health**: Research suggests that the gut microbiome plays a crucial role in mental health, with alterations in gut bacteria linked to increased symptoms of depression and anxiety.

(Source: Nature Microbiology)

**The concept of "post-traumatic growth"**: Experiencing adversity can lead to personal growth and increased resilience, illustrating the idea that individuals can emerge stronger and more resilient after facing challenges.

(Source: Journal of Trauma & Stress)

**The importance of seeking professional help**: If feelings of hopelessness persist, seeking professional help from a mental health expert can provide individuals with the tools and support needed to overcome their struggles.

(Source: American Psychological Association)

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