Seven tips for depression and anxiety.
Today I wanted to give you seven tips to help with depression and anxiety. Now here’s the thing. I am very mindful of the fact that if somebody is suffering severe depression, it is all very well me telling them to go out for a run, or a swim, or for a walk, or to socialise with a friend.
The bottom line is that when you are in a very dark place, you don’t want to do anything and I get that.
You are overwhelmed by these feelings of depression or anxiety, or both, and the last thing that you want to do, is to go out of your way to improve your mood and help yourself.
Not because you are lazy, but because depression and anxiety are so exhausting to deal with(mentally and physically), everything just seems like a monumental effort.
How long does this go on?
That being said, however dark you’re feeling right now, however much you’re suffering, I just want you to know that I totally get where your head is at, but you have suffered long enough and you deserve better. Let me say that again. You have suffered long enough and you deserve better.
The chances are, you’ve been in a bad place for so long and I know that if you really dig deep and create some new habits, your life will change. The suffering, the depression, the anxiety will become manageable. So let’s get into it.
Tip number one: Meditation
I cannot stress enough what a life changer this is. The biggest problem that people have is that “they can’t meditate”, “they can’t stop their thoughts”, “they can’t sit still”.
Well firstly, that is all completely normal and very common, but I would say one of the biggest contributive factors that make meditation so effective as a strategy, is the relaxing and calming aspect of it.
So if you’re struggling to meditate, go through the usual pre- rituals, such as turning the lights off or down, putting your phone on silent, sitting or lying down comfortably and then at the very least, just close your eyes and either listen to a guided meditation or some relaxing music. I often like to listen to different sounds, like rain or water or nature sounds.
Guided meditations or different calming sounds will divert the the negative chatter in your head to a calmer more peaceful place.
2- Move your body!
Exercise boosts dopamine and serotonin levels, which are feel-good chemicals. Not only is exercise great for your body, it is a massive stress-buster, You could go for a walk, or a run, or a swim, you could dance round the house to your favourite music.
Whatever you do, get moving! There’s a great line from Tony Robbins. “Motion creates emotion”. The quickest and most effective way to change your mood is to move!
Furthermore, sitting is terrible for your health, especially our backs. We weren’t designed to sit for the amount of hours that we do. If you have to sit for long periods of time, just make sure you take regular 30-45 minute breaks. Stretching and yoga is great and also calms the sympathetic nervous system.
3- Get out the house.
I would say that changing your environment is absolutely key for mental health. If you are depressed or anxious and you’re physically stuck in the same place, you’re not giving yourself any room to breathe.
You’re not creating any space for yourself, physically or emotionally. You MUST change your environment. Getting out in nature has the most powerful calming affect on your brain.
When you are amongst trees, mountains, a lake or a river, you can truly lose yourself in its beauty. Connecting with nature creates such an effective diversion from your thoughts and you are breathing clean air which is great for your health.
If you can’t get out in nature, go for a walk, or sit and have a coffee, go to the library, find a nice book to read, go visit a friend. Just get out your house. I realise this won’t be possible for everybody, but if you can, you’ll be glad you did.
I have a bit of a different take on this, which I hope will be useful to you. So we often hear how important gratitude is and I couldn’t agree more, but the main issue is that it can be monotonous having to constantly be thankful for the same things.
For example: our health, our families, financial security, our friends,. Don’t get me wrong, feeling gratitude for these things is important, but what about the everyday stuff?
And when we go about our daily lives, what do we really notice, what are we mindful of? I’ll give you an example. If we go into a supermarket and buy a sandwich, are we mindful of what it took to get that sandwich on the shelves?
That sandwich had to be made. Chances are, there are people waking in the early hours to make that sandwich for you. There are lorry drivers who are driving long distances and working long hours to deliver that sandwich .
Then you’ve got to get the sandwich from the warehouse to the shelves and there is a process involved with that.
I found that if I really thought about what went into producing something as simple and basic as a sandwich, it made me look at everything with very different eyes.
The next time you buy a sandwich, think about how hard everyone had to work to get you that sandwich and feel gratitude for it.
And you know we can apply this principle to anything. How we get heat in our homes, water in our taps, the ability to travel from a to b, the technology that enables us to communicate in seconds.
Appreciating the routine, supposedly mundane aspects of our day, can give us such a different perspective on life.
So the next time you take a train ride to somewhere, maybe feel some gratitude towards the driver who got you there. Being appreciative of the simple things takes the focus off you.
They say that laughter is the best medicine and they weren’t wrong. Laughing can dramatically shift your state of mind and potentially very quickly. Watch a funny Youtube clip, sitcom or film.
If you can’t think of what to watch, just type into Youtube or Google “top10 stand-up comedians“ and I can assure you, that someone will make you laugh.
What is fascinating here, is that we could be at our lowest possible point, but if we saw or heard something funny, we would still laugh.
I have seen this firsthand. In other words, I could be having a really bad day, and then hear something funny on the radio, or TV and still laugh out loud.
Two minute deep breathing exercise
Studies have proven, that a two minute deep breathing exercise can shift your state of mind, in some cases dramatically.
Simply take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this five times. This is especially good for anxiety, so the next time you feel anxious, try this simple exercise.
Final tip! 7- choose what you focus on
You’ve heard of the expression glass half full, glass half empty. So let me ask you a question? Do you focus on what others have, or do you focus on what you have? That’s a thought-provoking question right, so I’ll let that sink in.
If we are really honest with ourselves, how would we answer that? I mean really answer that?
Here’s something else to contemplate. Let’s take a typical day in your life and lets say that some good stuff happened on this particular day and some not so good. Will you focus on the good stuff, or the not so good?
The message is this. It is your choice what you focus on. Focus on what you have. Focus on the good things that happen to you. Focus on your achievements, not the things that haven’t worked out. Everything is choice.
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There are 25 strategies that I teach to help alleviate depression and anxiety. For one on one private counselling and coaching with me, please contact me for a free 15 minute free telephone/video call.
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