Anxiety and Depression are serious conditions that affect people differently. We all experience times of great stress or experience feelings of depression. Unfortunately, for those who suffer from ongoing anxiety and depression, these symptoms present in a much more severe way. Often sufferers may battle their anxiety and depression for months or even years on end.
Marina Abrams over at Organic Lifestyle Magazine offers those who suffer from these conditions a great reminder of how to stay afloat during the dark times:
Create Routines and Goals
When you’re depressed, everything feels like a struggle. It is for precisely this reason that structured routines and clearly-defined goals can help you wade through the muck. In addition, structure gives you something to fall back on when motivation lags. Finally, setting goals can help you keep your eye on something you look forward to in the future, something to work toward. Anticipation promotes optimism.
While rigorous exercise produces endorphins, even something as simple as a short walk can calm your mood and provide a heart-healthy boost. The body craves movement, so everything from dance to weight training to yoga increases your health and well-being. Depressed individuals are less likely to feel motivated to exercise, and this is precisely why they should. Getting out and moving can often help shake off a dark mood, and the satisfaction of accomplishing something mentally and physically challenging can be a boost unto itself. Getting out and moving in nature is even better! Nature has been proven to alleviate depression simply by being in the midst of it.
Reboot Your Diet
We are what we eat, and for those with chronic depression, food becomes particularly important. Depression and anxiety can originate from poor nutrition, so making sure you are getting enough B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D are essential to balancing your mood and evening out your emotional responses. For individuals living in the Pacific Northwest, Vitamin D is particularly important, as we do not activate our natural stores as often due to reduced sun exposure during the long, rainy winter months. A naturopathic physician can help you develop self-care routines and examine your diet in more detail, aiding you in determining what best to eliminate from your diet and what to keep.
There’s a reason that cults use sleep deprivation to emotionally manipulate their members. Missed sleep can produce highly detrimental states of mind, particularly in those who are prone to depression. When you are exhausted, you’re much less likely to ignore the lure of negative thinking. In addition, you’ll have less energy to seek productive, mood-enhancing behaviors like exercise and natural healing. Aim for 8 hours per night for positive results.
Stay Involved in Your Life
Depressed individuals often fall off the wagon in terms of keeping up with friends, participating in activities they love, etc. However, these are the very uplifting exchanges that are vital for feeling supported and loved. Do your best to engage in conversation or activity with one person you care about every single day, and do your best to continue to attend to your job and your various responsibilities. The more you invest in your life, the more it will give back.
Eliminate Negative Thinking
Negative thoughts cause negative feelings. Vow to identify and reduce all negative thinking by keeping a thought journal. Each time you experience a negative feeling, identify the thought behind it. Then, create a positive, believable thought with which to replace it. By running through your mental patterns, you’ll be more likely to maintain a positive outlook and move forward with enthusiasm.