If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, the first thing that you need to know is that you are not alone. Millions of Americans are just like you and experience problems dealing with sadness and loss or feelings of anxiousness and worry. Life coach Janelle Tamm Magnuson says that many struggle deeply in their 30s with guilt issues relating to parenting and marriage, job burn outs, lack of life purpose, and loneliness. Depression and anxiety are just ways that your mind is telling you to make some changes. Here are a few things you can try at home.
Don’t Buy into Myths
The most common myth is this one: if you were stronger, you could just get over it. Mental health professionals already know this is not true. Lots of people get depressed and anxious, it’s something that happens in life. Don’t add to the problem by comparing yourself to other people: that will just make you sadder and more anxious. Instead, marshal your energy and try to shift your situation. Stay focused on what you can do, because that will help you make positive change.
Eat Right and Exercise
This may sound very basic, but it’s also the most important thing that you can do to improve your mood. When you eat good food and exercise appropriately, your body releases endorphins, the bodies natural pain killers. Not only will you feel better physically, but you will be more relaxed, happier and less stressed.
Watch Your Self-Talk
Everyone has a tiny narrator in their head that talks and talks all day long. If you’re feeling bad or anxious, that voice is probably going to be hypercritical and negative. It will tell you that you are doing things wrong, that you are not good enough or maybe that something bad will happen. Your job is to recognize that the voice is not helping and counteract it with positive ‘self-talk.’
You might want to come up with some real life affirmations to stop that negative chatter. If your critical self is always telling you that you are no good and can never change, for instance, sit down and write out an answer. One example might be to say, “If I believe in change and start working at it, then it can happen.” Every time you hear your negative voice, just stop it in its tracks and counteract it with positive self-talk. It really works.
You’ve probably heard of athletes imagining the race before they begin. They see each step, imagine their perfect ‘jump shot’ and how they will achieve their goals. If you have problems with depression and anxiety, you might also have problems with self-esteem or problems managing everyday situations. If that’s true for you, take a few minutes every day to imagine yourself overcoming a situation that you find difficult. For instance, if you don’t like to confront people, close your eyes and talk to someone who is dismissive of you. What will you say? The key is practice. When you’re ready, try out your new skills in real life situations. If it works for professional athletes, it can certainly help you.
Finally, try meditation. Some Meditation trains your body to relax. As you breathe, you learn to let go of your thinking and focus on the moment. It teaches deep relaxation and acceptance. Both of these have been proven to be effective tools in managing anxiety and depression. More importantly, a regular meditation practice insures that stress doesn’t build up and become unmanageable. If you have anxiety, meditation will teach you the very specific breathing strategies that you need to learn to cope with an anxiety attack. So this is a very important skill to learn!
Remember, if the problem is severe or you are having trouble coping, there is no reason to try to do this by yourself. There are many professionals who are skilled in these areas. You just need to reach out: help really is just a phone call away.