Self-help tips to reduce anxiety and cope with depression. Consult a mental health therapist.

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It has been a challenging year for many of us, with many unexpected situations we couldn’t have even possibly imagined. During these difficult times, you have probably heard about anxiety and depression more than usual.

We might have noticed some changes within ourselves or with family and friends in such difficult situations. Changes might be different for every individual. Some might feel sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, some do not like to do activities that used to be fun, and some will feel that their mental and physical energy has been drained out even after doing a trivial task.

We also experience worry for insignificant things, fear that something bad might happen to either us or someone we love, or just feel agitated for no reason. It’s pretty common to feel these physical and psychological difficulties.

In both, common concerns will be the features that interfere with our everyday activities like disturbed sleep, difficulty in concentrating on a simple task at hand, taking care of self, irritated or agitated easily, not being interested in doing things. Feelings of depression and anxiety are like both sides of the same coin. “Being anxious triggers depression thinking that we are not good enough to do anything, and being depressed often creates features of anxiety by making us feel pessimistic that something will go bad.” Do you often experience similar emotions? You are not the only one. There are so many simple ways to cope with depression and anxiousness. If it is either intensive or persistent for a couple of weeks, then it is required to consult a mental health professional or discuss with the mental health helpline.

When we feel depressed or anxious, the most common and frequent comment others will say is to “Snap out of it” or “It’s just in your mind” or “if you think, you will be able to come out of depression” and so on. Recovering from mental health difficulty is not easy or quick, but we do have more control than we realize. The important key is to take baby steps one step at a time, starting from everyday self-care activities. The things which help the most are the things that are linked with difficulty, hence small steps. Taking the first step will be harder than we think, but by taking small and doable steps we will be able to slowly lift the difficulty considerably increase our control and improve our overall sense of mental health well-being.

So below are a few strategies that will help you to cope with depression and reduce anxiety efficiently;

1. Initiating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be the best way to reduce anxiety and cope with depression through the physical mode which in turn enhances psychological well-being.

  • Eating a healthy diet

  • Getting enough sleep

  • Drinking required amount of water

  • Getting sufficient sunlight

  • Exercising at least 4 times a week (even if it a short walk or warm-up movement)

  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping pattern as much as possible

2. Practicing relaxation is also an effective and easy method to reduce anxiety and cope with depression.

  • Deep breathing: Inhale/ Breath In through your nose, as deep as possible & slowly, and Exhale/ Breath Out through your mouth as deep as possible & slowly and do it until relaxed.

  • Box breathing: Also known as four-square breathing. Slowly and deeply, exhale to a count of four, hold it empty for four counts, inhale for four counts and hold air for four counts and do it until relaxed.

  • Simple yoga postures for pranayama

3. Journaling: Writing everything down or positive journaling (mentioning only positives of the day) helps in reflection and a form of ventilation of difficult feelings.

4. Being active or practicing hobbies: Try to keep doing some enjoyable activity irrespective of how it is felt. Choose an activity that is likely to be completed, could be practicing self-care, taking responsibilities, or hobbies.

5. Reach out and stay connected: Stay connected with family and friends. Try to make new friends or build new relationships. Talk about your feelings and also find ways to support others.

6. Grounding is a set of simple approaches that can help us to detach from emotional pain, basically a way to distract by focusing on something externally rather than internal changes and experiences. It functions as an anchor and support to calm down eventually addressing the difficulty. It can be mental or physical exercise. (Many samples can be seen on Youtube). By focusing on our five senses: touch, taste, sight, sound, and smell, by heightening our awareness of our surroundings and increasing our body awareness we can focus on the present moment.

7. Set simple goals: Mental health difficulty makes us feel worse when we can’t complete or achieve anything. Hence, setting daily accomplishable goals can help us feel better. It can be as small as taking a bath or doing the dishes. When the mood improves, we can add more goals to the list.

If difficulties become unmanageable or symptoms have persisted, seek support from a mental health professional or mental health helpline. The professional will help to work through difficult emotions and improve coping mechanisms.

Also read,

How does self-insight help in improving mental health? Find the best psychiatrist near you.

Signs to see in a person who may be depressed. Find the best psychiatrist for depression in Kolkata