When life starts to turn sour, we often experience depression and anxiety. These negative emotions easily cripple our ability to live life if they are not managed in time, which can lead to thoughts of self-hate and pity, eventually pushing us to suicidal tendencies. So, is there a way to combat this problem and emerge as winners? You would breathe a sigh of relief, as this article aims to share self-help methods that will help you deal effectively with emotional pain.
How to combat Depression and Anxiety?
Tip# 1: Build Self-Acceptance
Often, we strive for perfection and thus establish high, impractical goals for ourselves. However, when our expectations are not met with success, we lose our confidence, criticize ourselves, and develop low self-esteem, leading to a sense of failure. This depressive cycle continues because we lock ourselves in negative and stressful patterns. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, we should learn to break the pattern, and reach back for our resilient and positive selves again.
First, focus on people that you admire and consider that they make mistakes like anyone else. Does your admiration reduce when they err, or do you continue to admire them?
Now, apply this same technique to yourself and understand that “to err is human” – this truth will set you free from being a perfectionist, which causes depression.
Tip# 2: Eat a Wholesome Diet
Depressed people often eat poorly. They focus on junk food that contains high fat, salt, and sugar. Such foods offer temporary comfort but easily cause weight gain, blood sugar problems, and low/bad temper.
To prevent further damage to your mental and physical health, you should immediately focus on eating wholesome foods, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, nuts, oily fish (salmon and cod), rice, and whole-grain bread. Avoid allergy-causing foods.
Tip# 3: Identify Achievable Goals
Often, people set unrealistic goals, and upon their failure, they tend to harbor feelings of guilt, sadness, depression, anxiety, and self-hate.
To enjoy the sense of accomplishment, your goal should be:
Thus, your personal and professional goals should be controlled by you and not overwhelm you. If you fail, adopt the attitude – “what can I learn from this?” instead of a critical attitude towards yourself. Further, never compare yourself with others, as we all are unique and created for different life purposes.
Tip# 4: Manage Negative Thoughts
Negative feelings are associated with depression. They instill fear, guilt, shame, hopelessness, and self-pity in us, and we beat ourselves down with these thoughts. Do you know – thoughts are opinions, ideas, or judgments that we create based on our current feelings that are short-lived? Would we feel the same about our goals or life when we are in a happy state of mind vs. in a depressed state? Of course not! So, why not take a leap of faith and embrace positivity while renouncing negative emotions, today?
For instance, if you feel like a failure, try remembering all the victorious moments, and watch yourself transform from a struggling self to a confident and powerful you!
Tip# 5: Adequate Sleep
Sleep is important for our holistic well-being as our body and brain repair and rejuvenate during our resting hours. However, depression and anxiety cause insomnia, as you are awake each night thinking about your failures and worries. Less sleep leads to severe health problems and lower energy levels that aggravate depression. So, for a restful sleep, practice these techniques:
- Hit the sack same time each night.
- Do not work on a laptop or watch TV in your bedroom.
- Eat early. The last meal of your day should be 3-4 hours prior to your goodnight’s sleep.
- Ensure your bedroom is quiet and dark as you prepare for a restful sleep.
- Check your thermostat for a comfortable room temperature.
- Avoid caffeinated beverages in the late evenings, and instead drink chamomile & lavender tea for a restful sleep.
Tip# 6: Plan Enjoyable Activities
Consciously plan and engage in pleasurable activities to uplift your mood. For instance, assign a 30-minute activity time for yourself each day. In these 30-minutes, you can do a task that brings you joy, such as a hobby, or yoga and meditation.
Practice gratitude. Maintain a journal in which you observe things that have gone well for you and you feel grateful for and things that could have been improved. With this mindset, you can quickly evade negative feelings and be on the road to healing and success.
Tip# 7: Visualization
Visualization is a process in which we imagine certain thoughts as photographs or scenes in our minds to help us relax. It distracts our minds from negative emotions and maintains a happy state of mind. Often, visualization helps us to accomplish our goals too.
You can visualize your life’s favorite moment, place, or desire. For most people, it’s their childhood memories or special holidays. Once, you have decided on your memory, close your eyes and deep breathily to calm your mind. Once, you are in a calmer state of mind now use all your senses to learn more about memory. Slowly, look and walk around (in your mind) and observe the surroundings, you will begin to notice the cheer, laughter, and joy. Now slowly open your eyes and retain the positive feelings, you will soon begin to experience the new happier you.
Tip# 8: Process Your Emotions
Often, when we ignore the negative emotions, they seed deep into our brains and cause fear, anxiety, and depression. Instead of avoiding the bad events of our life, such as the death of a loved one, loss of job or wealth, or losing a game, we should bravely face the emotional pain, ride the journey, and finish it with a lesson learned. Some techniques that you can use include:
Accepting Your Emotions
Allow yourself to accept the discomfort that emotional turmoil brings. Remember, we all feel sad but it’s not dangerous if we acknowledge it.
Identify and label your emotions, as it helps us to recognize them and detach from them. When you say for instance, “I am sad”, “I am angry” or “I am anxious,” it indicates that you are acknowledging your feelings and giving them a name to separate yourself from the emotion.
Emotions are Temporary
Emotions rise and fade with time, and are difficult to remember in intense situations. Hence, recognize that your current emotions are temporary. So, if you feel nervous or distressed, talk to yourself and remember it’s all temporary.
In tough times, you need to ask yourself if a compassionate response to your tumultuous emotions could bring peace and comfort to you. Instead of being self-critical, practice compassion, forgive yourself for your mistakes, learn from them, and start a new journey. Initially, it will be tough but soon you would love the idea of forgiving yourself and others, too.
Tip# 9: Don’t Be a Control freak
Don’t try to control your emotions. Instead, feel them and act them out without hurting others. Be mindful and compassionate for yourself instead of degrading your self-esteem.
Depression and anxiety are debilitating. They lead to family conflict, loss of productivity, and misery for people affected by it and those who are in contact. Professional help is required in severe conditions, but self-care can greatly reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression. When self-help methods paired with medication are taken, several patients have reported improvement in their general wellbeing.
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