Managing anxiety and depression

When things go wrong, our emotions can cloud our judgement. Naturally, we want as few problems as possible and so if we are faced with something that makes us anxious, we actually have two concerns; the problem itself, and our reaction to it. And so in lies the key; changing our perception.

It’s easy to over analyse and let negative thoughts grow, so it’s important to challenge thought patterns. If we want things to change, we need to look at the specific ways we can make change happen. Combating anxiety is just as much about channelling and focusing, as relaxing and unwinding. Allowing fear to control you is destructive, but by breaking things down and focusing on ways to get back on track, you can regain some control over your life.

Here are ways to help manage anxiety and depression:

  • Talking with a trusted friend of family member can help put things into perspective. Whether it’s working towards a solution, or just getting something off your chest.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to talk to someone anonymous. Online communities, phone services, and support groups are all there to help. It can be comforting to know that there are people in the same position.
  • Make lists and prioritise things to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
  • If you’re having financial worries, write a budget and try to pin point any problems areas. Look into any financial assistance that may be available to you.
  • Don’t over analyse situations or give yourself time to worry. Challenge yourself if you start to think negatively. If something is out of your control, let it go and focus on the things that you are able to change.
  • Do the very next thing you need to do to get to where you want to be. Every journey starts with a first step, but it can be easy to procrastinate and worry rather than take that first step.
  • Don’t compare yourself unfavourably to others. It can be easy to overlook your achievements and focus on your flaws, whilst concentrating on other people’s positive traits and being blind to their shortcomings.
  • Make the best out of your situation. Work out what you need, and what will make you happy.
  • Don’t lose sight of your goals, but set realistic, achievable targets.
  • Remember that other people do not have the upper hand. Try not to let criticism provoke anger, and avoid focusing on minor irritations.
  • You have choices. It’s okay to say no to some things. Other people’s reactions should not dictate your decisions.
  • Focus on what is important to you. If you have obligations, think about how you can fulfil these on your terms, and allow yourself space to relax and recharge.
  • Techniques that combine muscle relaxation and deep breathing can help to release body tension. Find a quiet place and focus on your breathing.
  • Your GP will be able to give you more advice on therapies and counselling. If needs be, they can prescribe suitable medication. Don’t be afraid to visit your doctor, they are there to help.
  • There are a number of charities and online groups that offer support and guidance.
  • Self-help books are available online or from your local library.
  • Avoid alcohol, smoking and caffeine as coping mechanisms.
  • Exercise improves blood flow, releases those all important feel good endorphins, and can aid restful sleep.
  • Fast food, sugars and processed foods can cause fluctuations in mood. Bananas, porridge, and oily fish are all good stress busting foods.
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