Those who have been following me for a while will know that I’m pretty open about things personally. I’ve always had the attitude that if I have gone through something and sharing might help at least one other person then it’s worth it. Depression and anxiety is something I dealt with as a teenager but thankfully I didn’t experience it again for many years. Since the trauma of my marriage breaking down over the last few years it returned to the same extent and this was really hard to cope with, especially as I felt my life was falling apart and I had to be quite practical with getting my career on track, looking after my dog, paying my bills etc. Also, I was working in health and wellness where it was expected for me to be #motivational and #happy (and usually that is me 100%). I found that medication didn’t help me personally, so I had to find natural ways to cope through the trauma and disorder and these are some of the things I did (even when I felt like giving up):
1. Digital Detox: Unplugging from technology can have tremendous benefits for the body and mind. You could do this every evening, once a week for a whole 24 hours or even once a month. I found allowing myself the ‘time out’ was extremely beneficial.
2. Hugging. Hugging releases oxytocin in the brain, which is the hormone also known as “the bonding molecule” given that it can elevate feelings of intimacy and helps stimulate social bonding between two people. In addition to oxytocin, research shows that hugging someone releases dopamine in the brain, which is known as the pleasure hormone given that is often associated with prompting feelings of happiness. Hence relieving the feelings of depression and anxiety. If anyone wants a hug let me know
3. Meditation. Meditation, Mindfulness and breathing have helped my depression and anxiety enormously. SO much so that I became a meditation teacher myself! Through meditation — and understanding the trickster nature of anxiety and what it does to the mind — you learn to recognise triggering thoughts that bring about anxiety. From there, you can work to find different ways around these mental patterns and avoid falling into the anxious trap again.
4. Vitamin D. There are various studies that confirm this link between low vitamin D and mood disorders. These studies provide evidence that optimizing vitamin D levels may improve positive psychological well-being. Alarmingly, an estimated one billion people worldwide are said to be Vitamin D deficient so go and get some sunshine, take some tablets or see your GP for Vitamin D supplements or injections.
5. One of the most useful things you can do to combat stress and anxiety is to keep a running record of your thoughts on paper. There’s simply no better way to learn about your thought processes than to write them down.
Use any type of notebook you like and make these headings at the top: 1) Situation; 2) Thoughts/What am I telling myself? 3) How anxious do I feel? Leave space to jot down a few words about the situation and perhaps the date so you can easily monitor your progress. Most importantly, write down any thought you’re having either in anticipation of or during a situation that causes anxiety. In other words, what are you telling yourself? What do you think will happen? How do you feel about it? You can use a number in the third column to represent how you feel (using a 1 – 10 scale) or write a few words as a description.
This will show yourself your thought patterns and help combat them when the anxious patterns re-appear.
6. Eat the Rainbow. Research shows that some foods act as natural remedies for anxiety and it is becoming more common for Doctors, dieticians and nutritionists to understand more with regards to the foods we eat and how that affects the brain. I will be doing a more detailed post on this in the coming weeks 🙂
7. Moving Daily. Many propositions have been put forward to explain the anxiety-reducing benefits of regular exercise. Psychological theories include distraction, enhanced self-efficacy, mastery, and psychological benefits of regular social interaction. Physiological mechanisms include beneficial effects of regular exercise on the levels of several neurotransmitters that affect anxiety including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine, and the endorphins. Whilst all of this is GREAT and we all know we should exercise regularly when you have chronic depression or anxiety the feelings of hopelessness might restrict this from happening. If an intense sweat sesh is all too much for you I would take it one step at a time and venture outdoors for a walk. Sounds simple but just getting that body moving in the fresh air will make you feel great.
I hope this article helps some of you feel like you can move forward in living a more positive life. Depression and Anxiety is not something that goes away overnight but it is a condition that can be managed.
Please consult your GP if your feelings of depression and anxiety are unbearable or reach out to lifeline here.
Sending lots of love and positivity to you all x x