You are what you think. Battling mild depression and anxiety can be draining. Allowing negativity to dominate your thoughts can rob you of energy, motivation and interfere with your quality of life. There's never a second while you're awake that you are not thinking about something. If you are plagued by self-doubt and fear of failure or contemplating impending doom, there are ways to turn your thoughts to work for you instead of against you.
You can't control what other people do; you don't have the power to govern external circumstances; but you do have control over what you think and what you do. With a little effort you can choose explicit actions that can improve your mood. Try these strategies and improve your mental health.
- Take care of our physical body. First of all, get regular check ups with your primary care doctor for a baseline of your general physical condition. Barring any medical reasons for your anxiety or low mood, you can take responsibility for your own well being.
- Eat smart - plenty of protein, greens, fruits -and cut down on sugar. Get the amount of sleep your body needs.
- Learn the techniques for deep breathing to reduce stress. Even when you are highly stressed, your nervous system will respond to slow breathing to produce a calming effect. Smile even when you feel lousy; just the physical act of turning your mouth up at the corners can elevate your mood.
- Hydrate - Every one of your cells needs water to function; and you lose about two to three liters just naturally every day, not counting some foods such as caffeine and physical exertion that use up your stores of water. Dehydration contributes to a whole host of maladies, not the least of which is depression. Keeping yourself hydrated is a simple way to maintain your health, both physical and mental.
- Move more. You were designed to be in motion. Use that to your advantage. Find a physical activity you enjoy and give yourself permission to do it.
- Look at your stress and observe what your body does in reaction to it. Now consciously consider how to alter your reactions. You have the power to change your thoughts; they're your thoughts; control them, don't allow them to control you. Think happy when negativity threatens. Yes, it's easy for me to say, but it does work over time.
- Cultivate habits that benefit you. Arrange your physical environment in a way that keeps you balanced. Not everyone is a neatnick; but if you can never find your car keys or sunglasses, you're smart enough to develop a system to make your personal spaces more convenient to the way your operate. It only takes 21 days to establish a habit, so establish the ones that work for you. It works in reverse too. Limit or eliminate the things you know aren't good for you. You know what they are. From alcohol and tobacco to binge watching old episodes of Friends to obsessively using digital devices, you do have the power NOT to do something as much as you have the power to do it.
- Have fun. Take a vacation from stress; give yourself a designated amount of time to be worried, then put it off for another time, and occupy your mind with something pleasant. You're a pretty cool person. Use that brain to create cool stuff from art to music to growing things to painting antiques. Doing what you're good at makes you happy.
- We are social animals and we need each other to be healthy. Allow the people who care about you to help. Express your affection for family and friends. Practice random acts of generosity toward strangers. Your emotional health is greatly enhanced when you share yourself with others. You have a lot to offer and the more you give the more you get back. Of course there are people who take advantage of that, but the best way to address that is to extract those selfish folks out of your life.
- You deserve to be happy and employing these tips and techniques may aid you on the journey to that destination. Of course you may need help in achieving these goals and luckily there are an abundance of resources out there to assist you in relieving anxiety, stress and depression.
Mental health professionals are needed in many agencies, practices and clinics. Contact us to find out what may be available for you. And if interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Mental Health and Self-Improvement sections of our blog.
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