Depression and anxiety are little-understood illnesses that affect millions of people. They often accompany one another, and they can be quite debilitating. Many folks who suffer from depression or anxiety turn to prescription drugs as a solution. They often lead relatively normal lives, but the drugs mask the underlying problems and sometimes create dependencies or carry side effects that lead to additional health issues.
Of course, the first step in combating these illnesses is to see a physician and follow the advice in order to stabilize the situation. After that, one can do many things to return to a quality life.
Here are fifteen suggestions for coping with depression and anxiety:
#1. Spend Time With People.
Plan to be with people on a social basis for part of every day. Your job doesn’t count. I distinctly remember working in several busy offices during my career and feeling remarkably lonely. Arrange to have social contact every evening and on weekends. If you are unable to see friends in person, a telephone call can fill the void.
2. At Dusk, Find Something Interesting To Do Or Someone Engaging To Talk To.
Dusk is a difficult time for many people who suffer from depression or anxiety. Oddly, nighttime is often not so challenging as the hour or so before darkness sets in. If you are in the throes of depression, arrange during that time to do something fun or to be with someone who provides distracting conversation. If you live alone and can’t find a companion, call a friend at the twilight hour and lose yourself in the dialogue.
3. Take Up A Hobby That Is Complicated And Forces You To Think.
Engaging in a hobby or other activity that is relatively complex will help relieve your anxiety. Activities like quilting, learning to play a musical instrument, working on a classic car, playing Sudoku, building a model airplane, cooking, and remodeling your home can calm you and take you out of the difficult moments. Niche groups exist for many hobby interests, and once you join one, the new friends you make will provide you with additional social contact and a helpful distraction.
4. Walk, Walk, Walk.
Regular exercise, a lot of it, does more than perhaps anything else to relieve depression and anxiety. Getting physically tired helps you relax in the evening and sleep through the night. Walking and running are particularly desirable modes of exercise because they are rhythmic, and rhythm heals in a multitude of ways. Aerobic dancing combines the rhythm of music with body movement and is wonderfully therapeutic.
5. Drink Plenty Of Water.
Water is a symbol of the unconscious mind and is magically healthful. It nourishes you far more completely than simply supplying liquid to your cells, which are 55% to 78% water. You should drink approximately two liters of pure water daily.
6. Consume Foods That Are High In B Vitamins.
High-stress situations cause your body to consume elevated amounts of B vitamins, and a deficiency in this important vitamin group can contribute to your depressed or anxious state. Consider taking a B-Complex supplement, and include in your diet the regular consumption of whole-grain breads, lecithin, whole-grain cereals, Brewer’s yeast, wheat germ, liver, turkey, tuna fish, potatoes, bananas, lentils, chili peppers, beans, nuts, molasses, green-leafy vegetables, and dairy products.
7. Avoid Caffeine.
Caffeine is a stimulant, and the price of ingesting too much of it is high. An increased awareness of caffeine intake should include monitoring consumption of coffee, chocolate, tea, colas, and caffeine-spiked alcoholic beverages.
8. Say No To Sugar.
Sugar causes the body to consume nutrients without adding anything positive to the health equation. An increased consciousness of sugar intake should include monitoring consumption of honey, fructose, dextrose, lactose, sucrose, white breads, and pastries.
9. Reduce Stress.
If you suffer from depression or anxiety, adjusting your lifestyle to reduce stress should be a high priority. Should you be unable to take out the stress, doing the other things on this list will help you mitigate it. Remember, though, the other points listed here are salves and bandages that heal the wound, and stress is a knife that constantly reopens it. No serious plan for recovery can exclude confronting the principal demon in the pack.
10. Educate Yourself About Depression And Anxiety.
Educate yourself to better understand the nature of the enemy you face. Knowing your opponent is of primary importance, and once you make progress on that front, you can focus on solutions. This is easier said than done. When you are in the heat of battle, moving forward with your life may seem impossible. As you work to implement the suggestions on this list, you will find yourself gradually regaining a quality life.
11. Help Others.
Volunteer work is fulfilling and increases your sense of self worth. Assisting other people can provide an important distraction from your malady. Don’t forget, though, that you can’t give what you don’t have. Fill your own cup first, and then you can help others.
12. Engage In Spiritual Development.
If you are religious by nature, you may choose to develop your spiritual side through devotion or prayer. Meditation, yoga, and alternative approaches are fine options, as well. The important thing is to develop a spiritual philosophy that will serve as fertile ground for hope to grow in your life. Without hope, functioning in the real world is nearly impossible.
13. Keep A Journal.
Putting your observations, ideas, fears, and dreams in writing is a powerful tool for confronting your demons. Try to journal every day, but if that’s not possible, you can benefit from writing once or twice a week.
14. Use The Internet.
The Internet is an invaluable tool for finding healthful foods, creative remedies, and other information that will help you combat your depression or anxiety. You can also join an on-line support group or create one yourself and invite others to participate.
15. Don’t Expect Too Much Too Fast.
If you take small steps along the way, you’ll find it easier to follow the suggestions on this list. You may not be able to digest all of them at once. Fighting depression is a minute-by-minute war that you win a little bit at a time.
At your darkest hour, you may feel the imminence of some frightening end. At that point, when your unconscious mind has your full attention, you will take action. Do the things on this list that you are able to do, and leave the others for later. You need not do all of them right away, although with time, you will probably end up doing most of them.
The abyss of depression may seem impossibly deep, but a way out does exist. You should see a physician initially and submit to treatment for a time in order to stabilize your body and attitude. Then, if you believe, as I do, that a drug-free life is the only quality life, you can take the measures outlined here to make that happen.