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Anxiety and depression are topics that are thankfully talked about more today, but nobody will truly understand how it feels until they experience it themselves. When you are feeling so down, it is the biggest struggle ever to try and pick yourself back up again with that depressed mindset. People tell you “don’t worry, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” but to someone with anxiety and/or depression, that seems so beyond far out of reach. How will you ever feel happy again?
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I definitely have been there before myself. It seems like you are stuck in a deep hole and will never find your way out. It’s a constant cycle and loop, constantly feeling the same anxiety and feeding into it more and more so you keep going downhill. It’s as if you’ll never be able to grasp for air again. I get it, trust me. There are steps I had to take during that time of my life such as starting an antidepressant, because I had never taught my mind how to not be anxious without some kind of medication to help. While I will always be thankful for anti-anxiety medications because they definitely have saved me before (please listen to your doctor and follow their instructions with any medications they have you on!), I personally feel like a brand new person being off of them and taking care of myself in a natural way.
I am happy again. I am excited for life again. I also still struggle everyday with anxiety, and I’m not going to sit here and tell you it ever completely goes away, because that’s not true. But I am not afraid of it anymore. I don’t allow it to run my life. I’ve gained control over my mind and my life. And I want you to do the same!
Here are the steps I took to be happy again:
1 – Learn to meditate and be mindful
Meditation has definitely been a game changer for me. I was skeptical before of it, thinking how could this possibly help me. As mentioned earlier, I was always someone who needed medication for my anxiety, so doing something that seemed so silly to me such as meditating just seemed like a complete waste of my time. But I was so wrong! Meditating is the #1 way I learned how to control my mind and thoughts. Focusing on one thing, one moment, is lifechanging. Meditation is the tool that teaches you how to be mindful and present, to stop your racing thoughts. Definitely take the time to learn to meditate!
2 – Change who you follow on social media
Part of taking back your mental health and happiness is by changing your surroundings. This includes who you see on social media. Honestly, it’s probably best to either eliminate social media entirely, or limit it to certain days and times a week. That is definitely a tactic you can use up front. Over time, you will probably find yourself ending up back online, and you need to make sure you are following positive people. Don’t follow someone just because they are “cool” or because it’s what everyone else is into. You need to focus on your mental health, and part of doing that is watching what you allow yourself to look at everyday. I unfollowed so many people that did not benefit me whatsoever. I only follow people that make a positive impact on me, and I am happier this way!
3 – Get outside for some sunshine
This seems like another simple, silly task, but it helps so much! Get outside for just 20 minutes everyday. Take a walk, or even just tan! The point is to get out of your funk and change your environment. Try practicing gratitude and think of a few things you are grateful for in that moment.
4 – Have a healthy self care bedtime routine
For me personally, my anxiety spirals most at night time when I am left alone with my racing thoughts and mind, so having a bedtime routine to wind down every night really helps me. I look forward to having some “me” time before bed. Maybe your anxiety or depression spikes at the beginning of the day, so putting a healthy morning routine into place can help too.
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5 – Look at the people you have in your life
This topic again goes back to looking at your surroundings, which includes who you allow in your life. If you have people who bring you down or are not a good influence, you need to get rid of those people immediately! I am a huge believer in your surroundings and environment making you who you are, so make sure you are in safe place at all times with people you can trust and rely on.
6 – Journal
Journaling helps me so much when I have too much on my mind. Part of my problem is that I bottle up my emotions and push my anxious thoughts to the back of my mind to avoid them. This results in everything suddenly coming at me at once and feeling overwhelmed and panicked. I do this without even realizing it, so it’s hard to fix! Journaling is an effective way I have found to release these thoughts. It’s not fun to address your thoughts all the time, but it’s better to get it out and over with than letting it grow inside of you. You will be happier in the end!
7 – Tell yourself positive affirmations
You are not only your surroundings, but what you tell yourself you are. If you constantly tell yourself negative things about yourself, you will believe it. I used to always tell myself I was weak, and that I was a lost cause. That is simply not true. Instead of telling myself “I am weak” I say “I am beyond strong to go through what I go through on a daily basis. I am a warrior!” Telling yourself positive affirmations has a huge impact on your mental health. It isn’t something that will change how you perceive yourself overnight, but if you continue to do this daily, you will start to believe these new thoughts.
8 – Eat healthy
I am not going to sit here and say I eat healthy 24/7 because that would be a lie! However, I definitely notice how much better I feel physically when I eat healthy. You are what you eat! When you are depressed or anxious, you are thinking more about your health mentally instead of physically. In reality though, it is all intertwined! If you feel good physically, it can greatly help you mentally.
9 – Exercise
To piggy back off of taking care of your health physically, exercise is one of the best ways to release stress. You can find a form of exercise that works best for you, whether if it’s lifting weights, running, swimming, or even dancing. Exercise releases serotonin and is an amazing tool to add to your daily routine to relieve stress.
10 – See a therapist
Seeing a therapist is not a cop out! Knowing that all of the above will help you is one thing, but actually implementing it is a whole separate topic and journey. Getting professional help can teach you how to apply healthy habits. Using a specific form of therapy – cognitive behavioral therapy – is something to consider to take control of your anxiety. Click here to be connected with an online therapist now.
It is completely possible to take control of your life again when you suffer from anxiety and/or depression. These are some of the tools that helped me, but I know there are so many more! What are some tips you can share for someone going through a hard time?