The mental health conditions that are anxiety and depression don’t just ‘happen’. While there might be adversities, setbacks, traumas, problems, or people that trigger the feelings and thoughts that lead to these conditions, they don’t exist as a natural part of being.
For people to acquire these conditions, it’s been many months or years in the making through detrimental thoughts, behaviors, and choices. For this reason, it is impossible to simply eradicate these conditions overnight. However what I can promise is that you can begin the healing process immediately.
While some established authorities might tell you that different treatments or approaches to these conditions work for different people, it’s actually quite the contrary: we are all human, and we have a very predictable way of responding to and dealing with challenges, adversities, setbacks and people throughout life, regardless of who we are.
This is why, in our modern world, when things don’t go to plan and we feel emotionally challenged or wounded, we find it difficult to know how to control our dominating or overwhelming thoughts and emotions.
Something else that most people have in common – especially those who are inexperienced in things going wrong – is that they have a tendency to feel sorry for themselves and their predicament rather than taking accountability for how they are feeling and tackling the issues that have got them here. If your anxiety is proving difficult to manage or you want more support and guidance, you might seek my powerful self-help and expert insights.
In the meantime, here are 8 strategies to try:
1. Slow Breathing. When you’re anxious, your breathing becomes faster and shallower. Try deliberately slowing down your breathing. Count to three as you breathe in slowly – then count to three as you breathe out slowly. This should apply especially at night to encourage a good night’s sleep.
2. Keep it in Perspective. Anxiety can make you feel like the world is caving in on you and there is no way out. You think the worst, like your anxiety will be a permanent fixture in your life, or that something bad will happen to you. As much as you believe it, the truth is that this thinking is ridiculously far-fetched and out of touch with reality. In these moments, try to bring yourself back to where you are. Remind yourself that how you’re feeling is not representative of reality. Always know that emotion is interference – it misrepresents your reality – and that your emotions are currently amplified due to your emotional battles and conditions.
3. Healthy Lifestyle. Keeping active, eating well, going out into nature, social connection, reducing stress and doing the activities you enjoy are all effective in reducing anxiety and improving your wellbeing. Chances are that you have been depriving yourself of some or all of these things for some time, and this has led you to your current predicament. It’s time to get back to these core lifestyle needs so that you can start to acquire better brain health again.
4. Take Small Acts of Courage. Avoiding what makes you anxious provides some relief in the short term but can make you more anxious in the long term. If your anxiety is bad enough, yes avoidance is good… but when you start to feel stronger and can handle stress better, try approaching something that makes you anxious or fearful – even in a small way. The way through anxiety and fear is by learning that what you fear isn’t likely to happen. It’s also from knowing that if it does happen, you will be able to handle it. That’s resilience.
5. Challenge Your Self-talk. How you think affects how you feel. Anxiety can make you vastly exaggerate the danger in a situation and severely underestimate your ability to handle it. Try to think of different interpretations to a situation that’s making you anxious, rather than jumping to the worst-case scenario. Look at the facts for and against your thought being true rather than automatically believing the limiting or undermining voice in your mind.
6. Get to Know your Anxiety. Keep a mental diary of when it’s at it’s best – and worst. Find the patterns and then you will not be shocked or bewildered when you’re feeling anxious or depressed. You’ll be ready for it, and therefore you will be able to deal with it better.
7. Learn from Others. Find someone who has been through massive personal challenges and is willing to share their own personal story of struggle and survival to inspire and help you, so you have powerful guidance and feel less alone. Get exclusive access to my anxiety stifling and depression ditching book, Overcome Anything!
8. Be Kind to Yourself. Remember that you are not your anxiety. You are not weak. You are not inferior. You are in fact, human. Just know that a massive proportion of the world’s population experiences anxiety or depression in their lifetime. It's very common. People battle these conditions behind closed doors, so you wouldn’t even know that it exists amongst others! My point is that you are not alone.