If you’re living with anxiety or depression, you’re not alone. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, affecting 40 million adults in the United States aged 18 and older.”
Depression is also widespread; the World Health Organization reports that more than 300 million people globally suffer from it.
While medication and therapy are both vital parts of treatment, lifestyle changes can also make a significant impact on your day-to-day life. Here are some tips that may help ease your anxiety or depression.
- Eliminate Caffeine And Sugar From Your Diet
These chemicals can increase anxiety and stress, so it’s best to cut them out of your diet if you suffer from either. Be cautious with caffeine withdrawal, though – you may experience headaches or fatigue when getting rid of it. Gradually weaning yourself off caffeine is the best way to ensure a smooth transition. Sugar also has a substantial impact on mood, so trying to eliminate it as much as possible will help calm your nerves and improve your emotional state. If you’re used to having coffee or eating sweet snacks every day, then try replacing those habits with healthier options such as fruit for breakfast and plain yogurt with nuts for snacks. You don’t have to cut these things out forever; just figure out how much is right for you and what works best in your lifestyle.
Exercise is another great way to improve mood and combat anxiety or depression. It can be tough to get started when you’re feeling down, but even just a few minutes of exercise can make a difference. And if you can find something you enjoy, such as hiking or biking, the benefits will be even greater. Again, you don’t have to go crazy; start with 10-15 minutes per day and work your way up from there.
Exercise also increases serotonin production in the brain—serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps boost mood. Exercising on a regular basis is essential for getting rid of anxious or depressed feelings because it helps manage stress better. It serves as one of the most effective strategies for dealing with anxiety.
Exercise releases endorphins, which are “the body’s natural painkillers,” and has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants in some cases. Try to get moving for at least 30 minutes each day, whether that means going for a walk, swimming, biking, or doing another form of cardio.
- Get An Emotional Support Animal (ESA) To Keep You Company
Are emotional support animals service animals? No, they are not.
Emotional Support Animals have proven to provide relief to individuals with “psychiatric disability.” To get a pet to support you emotionally, you first have to obtain a certified mental health professional prescription. Take note that only a dog or a cat can become an emotional support animal.
To obtain an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) from any shelter or breeder, you first must procure a certificate of mental disability from a registered mental health professional.
- Get Enough Sleep
Finally, it’s important to get enough sleep. Most people need around 8 hours per night, though some may need more or less depending on their individual situation. If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, chances are you’re not getting enough rest. While sleep may not fully resolve these conditions, it can certainly help.
If you’re having trouble sleeping at night due to anxiety or depression, try taking some relaxing flowers such as lavender before bed instead of using medication for insomnia.
Furthermore, to get optimum sleep quality, make it a habit to stay away from phone and laptop screens at least an hour before bed so that the blue light from these devices doesn’t interfere with your sleep quality.
- Practice Mindfulness Exercises To Stay In The Present Moment And Not Worry About What’s Going To Happen Next
This is a commonly-recommended technique for anxiety and depression, and studies have shown that it can be beneficial. You can practice mindfulness by meditating for even 5 minutes per day or incorporating mindful activities such as yoga into your daily routine.
Various types of meditation can be learned through mindfulness apps such as Calm, Headspace, The Mindfulness App, and Mindfulness Coach!
- Connect With Friends And Family Members.
Spending time with loved ones can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness, which are common among people with anxiety and depression. The more connected you are with the people around you, the less lonely and isolated you’ll feel.
This can provide a sense of support and community, essential for combating anxiety and depression.
Talking to someone who understands what you’re going through can be really helpful in terms of reducing stress and feeling understood.
- Journaling Can Be An Effective Way To Get Out All Of Your Thoughts And Frustrations That May Be Weighing You Down
Journaling can help you keep track of your feelings and work through difficult situations. Writing down your feelings can also be therapeutic, as it allows you to vent about the things that are bothering you without burdening others with those thoughts.
While journaling, you can make it a habit to how you feel currently or the emotions you have been feeling consistently throughout the day or week in one column, and then write how you would like to feel instead in another.
In the third column, write all the activities you can perform to feel the way you aim to.
- Make A List Of Your Accomplishments, Both Big And Small
This can be a great way to boost your self-esteem and remind yourself that you are capable of achieving great things.
When you’re feeling down, it can be helpful to read over your accomplishments and remember all the good things you’ve done.
- Prioritize Self Care
Receiving massages is often recommended by therapists as a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and encourage better sleep and self-care. If you can’t afford regular massages, give yourself a mini-massage at home by using your hands or a foam roller.
Different types of oils such as Eucalyptus, Frankincense, French Basil, and Ginger Root have been found to have a calming effect and can instantly elevate your mood. All the points mentioned above are just to show you the way to healthy and happy living. Feel free to carve a path of your own by customizing, modifying, or even combining one or more of the above processes. If you are short on time on weekdays, make sure that you take the weekend just for self-care, rest, and rejuvenation.