When was the last time you had a free moment to breathe simply? If it’s been a long time and you’re riddled with worry and racing thoughts, then you might be experiencing some anxiety. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 18 million Americans experience stress in any given year. The good news is that there are some positive actions that you can take to relieve the intensity of the constant worry.
Practice Meditation or Deep Breathing
Some of the more popular methods for treating anxiety are categorized as mindfulness. It is any relaxation technique designed to bring you back to the present moment and become aware of what you’re thinking and feeling. It can be monumental for anxiety in particular, as most of your worries are probably centered around the future.
Many people who practice mindfulness do so via meditation or deep breathing sessions. By focusing on counting your breaths and listening to the voice on the meditation track, you can bring yourself back to the here and now and minimize the anxiety you’re currently feeling. In just a few short minutes, you’ll feel more focused and ready to take on the next task.
Figure Out a Healthy “Escape”
Anxiety on its own can be debilitating and ruin your quality of life. Unfortunately, anxiety might feel even worse if you don’t have a physical location to deal with it best. After all, you might not feel comfortable doing your yoga stretches or screaming into a pillow while you’re at your work desk.
If you have severe constant worry, you want to designate a location that you can cope best. Nature lovers might prefer to walk a particular trail at the local park. Fitness gurus might instead go to the gym and sweat out their anxiety in a metaphorical sense. Or maybe you want to dedicate a specific room in your house with a comfortable chair and no distracting stimuli.
Create a Gratitude Journal
When worry and anxiety are overwhelming, it’s challenging to focus on anything else in life. Your mind immediately goes toward what’s wrong or what will go wrong instead of what’s going right in your life. You know how aggravating it can be for somebody to tell you that it “could be worse” when you’re struggling more than usual.
What you can do is create a gratitude journal. It can be written on a loose-leaf sheet of paper or even on a Word document on your computer. The goal of this is to create a list of the things you’re thankful for in life. So instead of focusing on how you didn’t get that job, you can write about how grateful you are for your sizeable caring family or your physical health.
A Few Extra Tips
There are more than enough positive actions you can take for your worry to go around. If you’d instead do something different, here’s a more comprehensive list of what your options are.
Figure out what works best for you, and stick to it!
If you live with constant worry, you probably know that you wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy. Luckily, there are many things that you can do to relieve this worry and improve your quality of life. If you notice that your constant concern is making it hard to do regular tasks and routines, you might want to pursue professional intervention instead.
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We all face seasons of life filled with uncertainty. It’s a feeling of being unsure or having doubt regarding a specific situation or set of circumstances. While not inherently wrong, when times of uncertainty are prolonged and go unmanaged, they can send us into a downward spiral very quickly. Thus, it is essential to find ways to manage uncertainty, and a great way to go about that process is by making a conscious choice to stay in the present.
One thing uncertainty does is cause us to focus on the unknown. We begin to develop fears, and it can even lead to paranoia if we allow it to go on for a prolonged period. One benefit of staying in the present is enhanced awareness.
This awareness can be critical in quickly identifying the root of any uncertainty you might be feeling so you can address it promptly before it mounts into anything more substantial. When you can figure out what situations or circumstances might lead you down a path of uncertainty and fear, you are better equipped to handle them as they arise (Raptitude, 2014).
We are remaining in the present stops overthinking in its tracks. When faced with uncertainty, we often spend a lot of time figuring out what comes next. In trying to figure out how to solve the issue or come out with more answers, we spend a significant amount of time thinking, sometimes to the point of obsessing. Being present is an excellent release from this pattern. Being in the present can allow you to stop worrying about what may happen and just take some time to enjoy what is happening (Edberg, 2020).
A focus on the present is a powerful way to combat uncertainty because it acts as an anchor. They live in the present means staying in a place of focus on what is within one’s immediate realm of control and influence. It establishes or re-establishes an element of power that can help people feel grounded and calm, even in scenarios where there is uncertainty. This state of being grounded ensures stability and evenness that helps people make level-headed decisions even when things are going on that they don’t understand (Raptitude, 2014).
Living in the present also provides a sense of inner calm and centeredness. Focus, all the stress of what might or could happen begins to fade on what is happening right now away. This, in turn, reduces any pressure one might be feeling. It then becomes a cycle of wellness, as the reduced stress then helps one cope with uncertainty more calmly and reasonably (Edberg, 2020).
A focus on the present can also enhance feelings of thankfulness. Uncertainty can often make you think about so many things of the future that are far out of reach. Focus on the present reminds you of those things that exist in the here and now.
That focus can help you reflect on the many blessings and positives that presently exist, rather than focusing on the uncertainty of the future. You begin to notice more of the world’s beauty and goodness, enhancing your feelings of thankfulness. Thus, gratitude is elevated and indirectly due to the reduced gratitude stress levels (Edberg, 2020).
Ultimately, choosing to live in the present can be a huge benefit when dealing with uncertainty. It helps bring us to a calm place by increasing our awareness, reducing our stress, decreasing our tendency to overthink while also enhancing our gratitude.
Edberg. (2020, May 19). Seven great reasons to be present and how to do it. The Positivity Blog. https://www.positivityblog.com/7-awesome-reasons-to-be-present-and-how-to-do-it/
Raptitude. (2014, June 23). Fifteen unexpected side-benefits to living in the present moment. Raptitude.com. https://www.raptitude.com/2014/03/present-moment-benefits/
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"It's so difficult to describe [depression] to someone who's never been there because it's not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it's that cold absence of feeling—that hollowed-out feeling.” - J.K. Rowling.
Have you ever felt that way? Under normal circumstances, those who are struggling with depression might face this frustrating reality every day for long periods.
But our current circumstances are anything but ordinary.
Is there any hope of managing or preventing depression while facing a global pandemic, the resulting economic challenges, and political unrest? The short answer is YES. There are many tools to help you manage your depression. We've included a few strategies that you can do on your own.
Quick Tip: Finding the right tools for you might involve trial and error, so don't forget to be patient with yourself.
Depression - What is it?
When fighting a relentless enemy like depression, it’s essential to know what it looks like. Though each person is different, some common signs of depression might help you recognize it when it’s happening to you or a loved one.
How do we fight an invisible enemy? The best thing we can do is a plan. You probably have a first aid kit in your home or car to deal with possible physical injuries. For those suffering from depression, strategies to help you cope with unexpected mental health emergencies should be on hand at all times.
According to the CDC, 1 out of every six adults will experience depression at some point in their lives. It means that you probably know several other people who are experiencing depression. So, you are not alone!
Even though many are facing this challenge, depression is a unique experience for each person. You should customize your mental health strategies to your needs and what works for you.
Here are some ideas of what you might include:
"I like to use gratitude journals and affirmation journals with my clients. It's like retraining your brain." - Charlynn Ruan, Ph.D., Licensed Clinical Therapist.
For many fighting depression, there are particular situations, people, or places that act as triggers. If you know what triggers your depression, WebMD recommends you ask your physician or therapist to help you brainstorm effective strategies that will specifically address those triggers.
For those with moderate to severe depression, following the treatment plan provided by your physician is vital.
But what happens when the game changes and we’re suddenly faced with a whole new set of anxieties?
Depression During High-Stress Times
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we face even more stressors than before. Some have gotten sick, lost their jobs, or simply dealt with the stress of living in a more isolated world.
What can help us manage our depression in these circumstances?
When Depression Knocks on Your Door
If we take the time to prepare now, we’ll be ready when depression knocks on our door. Though there’s no magical cure, we’re well equipped with strategies to weaken its hold on our lives. And we have the support of our loved ones, doctors, and other medical professionals. We are not alone.
Depression can be a tough thing to deal with.
It’s important that we take the time to prepare for when it
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We need to make sure that we have all of the tools and knowledge necessary so that when depression does knock, we are ready for it. You will be able to learn how to cope
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