Are You Hiding Your Feelings Behind a Smile?

Playing Are You Hiding Your Depression with a Smile?

May brings National Women’s Health Week, and Women’s Health magazine editor-in-chief Amy Keller Laird joins The Doctors to talk about mental health.

“If you’re not mentally healthy, you can’t take care of the rest of your body,” Amy explains. “And it’s something you can’t see, so it’s something people don’t think about that much.” Amy herself has been diagnosed with OCD, and has spoken about it openly in the magazine.

Amy wants to address what she calls “Smiling depression.” In partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Women’s Health has done a survey that found that 89 percent of people who suffered from anxiety or depression hid their symptoms.

Watch: Smoking and Chronic Mental Health Illness

“It affects very high-functioning, very ambitious women,” she tells ER Physician Dr. Travis Stork, “because they want to put out this front that everything is fine.” But people who hide the problem aren’t getting help.

“One of the things we talk about on the show,” Dr. Stork responds, “Is that if you hide something, it becomes bigger and bigger.”

Amy has three easy tips to relieve stress and calm the mind:

• Ice-Pack Trick. Hold an ice pack under your eye for 30 seconds – this triggers a reflex to calm the breathing.

• Trash Trick. Write your negative thoughts on paper and then reread them –ask yourself, is this really true? Then toss that trash-talk in the trash can and let it go!

• Stair Trick. Close your eyes, clear your mind, and picture yourself walking down a spiral staircase. Feel the banister in your hand and the steps under your feet, and see the light falling on the stairs. This can break the cycle of negative thoughts and hit your mental reset button.

Watch: Self-Pleasuring to Help with Depression

Women’s Health is combating “smiling depression” on social media with the hashtag #howireallyfelt. “We’re asking women to go back to some of these pictures they’ve posted and wrote how they were really feeling,” Amy explains.

See more National Women’s Health Week web exclusive videos with Amy and Dr. Travis below:

Simple Nutrition Swaps
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Banish Unhealthy Behaviors
Get Active
Take Full Advantage of Doctor’s Visits