6 Tips to Overcome Depression and Anxiety
At times, both depression and anxiety can feel like an immovable object. Feelings of restlessness, being easily fatigued, or not finding enjoyment in the activities you used to enjoy can be symptoms of a larger problem with depression and anxiety. In fact, according to the CDC in 2021, more than 40% of adults report symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Fortunately, there are many ways to overcome these challenges and regain control over your life, even if it may seem impossible at first. Here are some strategies and lifestyle choices you can implement today to help yourself overcome your depression or anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation is a technique that involves focusing your attention on the present moment, without judgment. Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and emotions, and help you manage them in a healthier way. Mindfulness-based therapies, such as Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT), have been shown to be effective in treating depression and anxiety.
Here are a few ways you can start practicing mindfulness:
- Find a quiet and comfortable place: Choose a location where you won’t be distracted by external stimuli.
- Focus on your breath: Close your eyes and start to focus on your breath. Take deep breaths and feel your body relax with each inhale and exhale. Notice the sensation of your breath as it moves in and out of your body.
- Notice your thoughts: As you focus on your breath, thoughts may arise. Don’t judge or suppress them, simply acknowledge them, and let them pass. Bring your attention back to your breath.
- Observe your surroundings: Expand your awareness to your surroundings. Notice any sounds, smells, or sensations around you. Take note of what you see, hear, and feel, without judgement.
Challenge Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts can contribute to depression and anxiety, so it’s essential to challenge them. When you have negative thoughts, try to identify evidence that contradicts them. For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m a failure,” remind yourself of past successes you’ve had. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help you identify and challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ones. The purpose of this exercise is to teach yourself how to identify distortions in your thinking and how to take a step back from a situation to consider different viewpoints, ultimately leading to a healthier and more productive mindset.
Take Care of Yourself
Practicing self-care can help improve your overall well-being and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. This can include getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that you enjoy and find fulfilling. Next time you get the chance, try reading a book in the sunlight, listen to your favourite song, or reconnect with nature. Set small, achievable goals for yourself each day to help build momentum and feel a sense of accomplishment. If you want more concrete steps, be sure to check out our article on tips for caring for yourself as a caregiver.
Regular physical exercise, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or yoga, can help improve mood and overall health. Aerobic exercises have been proven to reduce anxiety and depression by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. Exercise releases endorphins, which are feel-good chemicals that can boost your mood and help you feel more relaxed. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per day, or as recommended by your doctor.
Tell Your Story
Social support can be an important factor in overcoming depression and anxiety. Connect with supportive friends and family members, or consider joining a support group where you can share your experiences with others who may be going through similar struggles. Joining online forums and communities dedicated to mental health can also provide a safe space to express yourself and get advice from others. You can even submit an article to us to tell your story on the Talkative platform. We are always happy to talk and support you.
Seek Professional Help
If you are struggling with chronic or severe depression and anxiety, it is essential to seek professional help. Consult a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist, who can provide a diagnosis and suggest the appropriate treatment plan. This may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Remember, there is no shame in seeking help, and it’s a sign of strength to take the first step towards healing.
Here are some Waterloo-region resources for you to explore if you are in need of extra support:
- Kids Help Phone: 24/7 virtual support service offering professional counselling, information and referrals as well as volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French at 1-800-668-6868.
- Here 24/7: mental health crisis support offered by KW Counselling by phone at 1-844-437-3247 or online.
- Good2Talk: a free, confidential mental health support service providing professional counselling and information and referrals for mental health, addictions and well-being to postsecondary students in Ontario, 24/7/365.
- LGBT Youthline: If you’re a LGBTQ2+ youth and want to talk with another youth who might get what you are going through you can reach out to YouthLine. Call 1-800-268-9688 or text 647-694-4275.
- Big White Wall: An online support environment for people looking for help with depression and anxiety. Free to all Ontarians.
Overcoming depression and anxiety requires patience, perseverance, and a willingness to seek help. By adopting these strategies and lifestyle choices, you can take control of your mental health and lead a happier, healthier life. Remember, healing is a journey, and progress may not always be linear. Celebrate small victories, and be kind to yourself along the way.
Do you have a story you would like to share on Talkative? Send us a submission! And if you haven’t already, make sure you signup for a free TAMVOES account so you can get started on tracking all of your vitals to stay up to date with your health as it changes. Learn more on the TAMVOES platform.