There’s no question there are societal pressures on women. The images in the media are a constant reminder to look younger, slimmer, and sexier. This often creates questions about a woman’s beauty, worth, and place in society.
For some, these images reinforce the feeling that they don’t fit into society’s view of what a “woman” is. This can lead to feelings of isolation, depression, low self-esteem, and even more health problems that can be very dangerous.
A new study has shown that depression is a big risk factor for heart disease in women 55 years and younger. In fact, this group is twice as likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease than men or women who are over the age of 55.
I think these results indicate how societal pressures on young women create depression.
Researchers looked at 3,267 patients whom were either thought to have, or had, heart disease. They answered nine questions on the same day as a medical procedure to assess their mood.
Women who were under 55 and indicated they were moderately or severely depressed were twice as likely to have a heart attack in the next few years, have heart disease, or die from any other cause than women who were not depressed.
Depression is dangerous, because it is cyclical and hard to diagnose. People who are depressed tend not to take care of themselves, thus making them more susceptible to health trouble. But it’s also true that when people get sick, they become depressed and stop taking care of themselves. So it often results in a dilemma akin to the classic case of what came first: the chicken or the egg?
Furthermore, if a person is aware of a problem, like high blood pressure or obesity, they can go to a medical professional for treatment. A lot of people might not even be aware they are depressed, so they don’t seek treatment; and if they are aware, they might be scared to get treatment. If you’re feeling depressed and hopeless, seeking little enjoyment from life, it is best to seek the professional help, whether it is in the form of counseling or medication.
Having said that, there are some natural remedies you can incorporate into your daily routine to help boost your mood.
Exercise is proven to benefit mood and contribute to a healthy heart, so getting active is highly recommended. Trying to include some exercise four to five times a week can pay some real dividends. It has the potential to make you feel more confident, while improving the condition of your body and mind.
But it’s also important to appreciate yourself and feel confident from within. It’s important to remember that the images on television, in the movies, and in advertisements are not always a reflection of reality. These images try to show people what they need to be happy, often with little resemblance to the daily life you lead. What makes you who you are is far more than the clothes you wear or the birthdate on your driver’s license. Embrace who you are, love yourself, and treat your body well, and a healthy, confident lifestyle will follow!
However, if you’ve been feeling depressed for an extended period of time, I’d recommend seeking professional help. Your life might depend on it.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Zurbriggen, E., et al., “Sexualization of girls is linked to common mental health problems in girls and women—eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depression; and APA task force reports,” American Psychological Association web site, February 19, 2007; http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2007/02/sexualization.aspx, last accessed October 22, 2014.
Shah, A., “Sex and age differences in the association of depression with obstructive coronary artery disease and adverse cardiovascular events” Journal of the American Heart Association web site, June 18, 2014; http://jaha.ahajournals.org/content/3/3/e000741.full, last accessed October 22, 2014.