Are you feeling stressed out or depressed? Do you have anxiety? You’ve heard it before; we’re social creatures of habit. We’re also people who think, and it’s common enough to believe that we reason but we’re also emotional. The inescapable blending of thinking and feeling can lead us toward greatness and happiness. But it can just as simply leave us feeling frazzled, confused, anxious, or down, hopeless and depressed.
How You Can Bring Yourself Out of Anxiety, Stress, and Dark Thoughts
by Sophie Letts, September 20, 2022
We all feel down and out sometimes. However, your mental and physical health can take a turn when you continually feel like you can no longer cope with things like rejection, unemployment, and grief. It is common to suffer from depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts at dark times. However, there is hope and many ways to bring light into your life.
Anton Leadership Psychology takes a quick look at a few lifestyle changes you can make that will help keep you uplifted when you’re feeling down.
Create a Safety Plan
If you have felt suicidal in the past, you can give yourself a safety net by creating a safety plan. This should include information on deciding if you might be getting close to a crisis and a list of mental health professionals in your area. Although a safety plan is often written by a concerned friend or family member, you may feel better knowing you have it in place.
Focus on Personal and Professional Growth
For many of us, finances are a huge source of stress. But, we often get scared of moving forward because we fear failure. Don’t let your reservations stop you. If your job doesn’t meet your needs, it might be time to consider a career change. You can even go to school online and avoid the crowds to earn a degree in a field you’re passionate about. Working toward personal improvement in a comfortable environment can help you achieve your goals without undue duress.
If you can’t find a new job at this time, it’s crucial that you take steps to avoid burnout at work. Manage your time more effectively, establish boundaries with coworkers, prioritize opportunities to relax, and laugh whenever you can.
Foster Close Friendships
Social isolation is often a trigger of loneliness, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. But even if you feel completely alone, you likely have a larger network than you give yourself credit for. Don’t be shy about nurturing friendships with both old and new people in your life. Friends can help you deal with traumatic events and may even improve your physical and mental health.
If you live in an area with a high walk score – meaning you can walk to various shops, restaurants, and businesses – try taking walks to meet up with friends. Stop into a few shops along the way and make it a point to chat with one person there. Even small social interactions can help lift your mood, and you never know who you might meet along the way.
Pay Attention to Anxiety Triggers
Many people with anxiety disorders tend to also experience suicide ideation. This can get even stronger if you often experience panic attacks or overwhelming anxiety. Although you may not be able to prevent every instance of a panic attack, if you are cognizant of your triggers, you may be able to control your response to some degree. Anxiety triggers might be something as mundane as daily traffic on a certain route to work or could stem from an unhealthy and toxic relationship. Look under all of the proverbial rocks, and make changes to your life and home that minimize exposure to stress and unpleasant situations. Even simple changes like decluttering and adding some indoor plants to your home can help reduce stress.
Focus on Your Physical Health
Diet and exercise are your two greatest weapons when it comes time to battle depression. While you cannot eat and exercise your way to a perfect life, keeping your body healthy with things like fish, green vegetables, and nuts, gives you the fuel you need to be your very best. Exercise also goes a long way here, and the healthier your body, the less likely you are to live with chronic pain, which can be a huge contributor to depression.
You can also choose to make small changes in your daily activities that can lead to a healthier lifestyle. It’s not about completely changing your life overnight. It’s about making small steps that lead you towards feeling healthier mentally and physically. For example, try walking to appointments or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. And swap out some of your go-to unhealthy snacks in your kitchen for a healthier option.
Your life is made up of the decisions you make each day. Make choices that put you in control, and you may be better able to cope with issues that bring you down. Remember, small changes can add up to big results when it comes to your mental and physical health. And if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek help immediately by dialing 988 or visiting Talk Suicide. There is only one you, and the world would not be the same without you.
Anton Leadership Psychology encourages you to seek professional help if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts. When you regain your footing and are ready to push yourself into positive discipline and leadership growth, we are here to help.
Pills or skills? For decades research has suggested that the efficacy of therapy and taking medication is similar. I suppose that remembering to take a pill can be considered a skill, but that’s a stretch. Learn a skill and skip the pill.
Understanding is straightforward. I have found that the easiest and most helpful way to understand “Anxiety and Depression” is to imagine them on opposite ends of a continuum. Title the continuum “energy states.” If our particular energy state gets too low, we move toward feelings related to depression. Alternatively, as our energy state gets too high, we move closer and closer toward anxiety states. The most practical therapeutic response is to take matters into your own hands.
Practice Your Skills
Consider these facts. Consider that, for right now, your problem is this uncomfortable “energy state” of anxious or depressive feelings. For the immediate moment, forget about the situation that caused you to feel this way. Situations are often beyond our control. Focus on where you have control, on this continuum of feelings.
Relax without judging your feelings. Do not judge or analyze them in any way. Although this may sound very similar to “meditation” or “mindfulness,” it is, in fact, a psychological practice that will assist you into “the zone” or “the flow.” The more you practice getting into the flow, the more you may notice how life seems to flow smoothly, and effortlessly. Try it.
Right now, let’s say you’re in an over-excited state of anxiety. What should you do? One option that is always open to you is closing your eyes and practicing responsible “deep breathing.” Practice meditation if you know how to do so. Aim to reduce stimulation in your mind and body. Sit very still, and quiet your mind as well. Doing this is likely to make your state move in the direction of thinking and feeling calm. Make sense?
When you find yourself on the other end of this continuum, practice an activity that will move your energy in the preferred direction, say, going for a walk or a run. Psychologically, this is referred to as “self-regulation.” The practice of self-regulation is a skill that we’d all be wise to integrate into our lives.