There have been moments and even years of my life where I unknowingly suffered from depression and anxiety. Depression is when you genuinely do not care about anything, while fear is when you care too much about everything.
We live in a world where if you break a body part, everyone will come running to save you, but when you say you are depressed, everyone runs away. It’s something we fear.
That negative stigma is not helping anyone, though. I naturally love helping people, so I want to teach you a few tips to help you overcome feelings of depression, sadness, or anxiety.
Humans should strive to be more confident, mentally stable, and positive. Mental wellness is one of the most undervalued current issues, and I firmly believe everyone should take care of it over anything else.
Here are 10 things to do when you’re ready to overcome depression and anxiety.
1. Journal or keep a personal private diary.
Society teaches us that expressing any sense of vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I beg to differ, though. Expressing vulnerability shows a sign of strength.
If you aren’t happy with your life, you must be doing something wrong. Wrong. Not a single person wakes up daily feeling like a bundle of sunshine.
Writing is the therapy I give to myself each day. It isn’t easy to open yourself up and talk about your feelings. People are incredibly judgmental. If you want to improve your mental health, then you should take 15 minutes out of your day to write it down.
Write in any format, whether a stream of consciousness or a few words. Write in moments of sadness, anxiousness, and happiness. Write down five things you love about yourself, five things you want to improve on, and what you will do to create change in your life.
2. Realize that you are never alone.
Whether you realize it or not, every human is going through something. We all have insecurities and problems. Remember, you are never alone.
I’m sure at least 10 of your problems are made-up scenarios you created for no logical reason. Learn to control your thoughts and do not allow them to control you.
Life is tough. Self-doubt will eat away at your soul. But you never will if you can’t learn to enjoy life when you have problems. Because, I promise you, you will always have at least one problem in your life.
Never doubt who you are as a person. You are capable of more than you could have ever imagined. Remember, you weren’t given anything you can’t handle in this life.
3. Step out into the sunlight.
Did you know that sunlight triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins that lead to a happier mood? It keeps your bones healthy by producing vitamin D and absorbing calcium. It has positive benefits for your mental and physical health, so you’re on your way to a beach in Mexico now!
Of course, I’m kidding; that isn’t feasible for everyone. Sometimes, you need to step outside, breathe, and remember you can get through anything.
Inhale confidence and exhale doubt. Go for a walk during your lunch break. Go for a run by yourself or venture on a hike with your friends. Join a club sport. You can always purchase a light therapy box if you live in a place with little sunshine.
4. Speak well of yourself.
You never truly realize how negatively you speak to yourself. We all have moments when we do not feel like our most attractive selves. It’s called being a human being.
There is a difference between saying, “I’m an idiot,” and saying, “I’m being an idiot right now.” Speak to yourself more kindly. When you look in the mirror, you should tell yourself, “Damn, I look good today, and there’s no one in the world like me, so I must be something special.”
When you wake up, remember to start every day with a smile. If you have to fake it, then that’s okay too. Regardless, you will always feel a little better about yourself when you do. If you need inspiration for a smile, think of someone or something that makes you happy.
5. Reward yourself and learn to love life.
None of us are leaving this life alive, so learn to love your life because you only get one. Make yourself a priority now and then.
Reward yourself! Eat that delicious food because you deserve it. Take a walk on the wild side. Jump into the ocean. Be fun. Be silly. Be different. Do what makes your heart light up.
If you are not threatening, ruining, or hurting anyone, I see no problem with doing what sets your heart on fire. Find your passion. Do something because you love it, and it makes you feel alive. More importantly, avoid people who lower your self-esteem and make you feel bad about yourself.
6. Listen to podcasts.
Whenever I feel sad, unhappy, or uneasy, I listen to podcasts or watch Ted Talks. I love learning from others, especially when I can’t handle my problems.
Never stop learning because life truly never stops teaching you lessons. You can overcome your problems, fears, and emotions by learning from other people’s experiences.
7. Talk to someone.
Sometimes, it is difficult to speak to the people closest to you about your problems. Sometimes, writing down your feelings is not enough. When you feel lost or alone, you have no one to turn to, but I promise there is always someone willing to listen to you.
If you do not want to see a therapist, try a free crisis hotline. Don’t fear judgment or be ashamed to ask for help. Take care of yourself because your life matters whether you realize it or not. You matter!
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357)
- Boys Town National Hotline: 1-800-448-3000
- Teen Line: 1-310-855-HOPE (4673) or 1-800-TLC-TEEN (852-8336)
8. Take care of your body.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins that trigger that feeling of positivity. Exercising is a form of therapy. It’s the celebration of your body. Find continuous and rhythmic exercises like weight training, swimming, or Zumba — these help with depression. Eat like you love yourself and your body.
Stop worrying about what everyone else thinks of you. Most people don’t notice the little things you dislike about yourself. There will never be a time when you 100% love everything about your body, so learn to love it now. A negative mind will ruin your focus.
Remember, progress is still progress, no matter how small. So create small goals for yourself first.
Timeless and Calm are two of my favorite free meditation applications daily. Meditation helps you clear your mind, increases your productivity and helps you detach from the little things.
It reduces your stress levels, relieves anxiety, and creates a better sense of self-understanding. Did you know that it reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and even death?
A negative mind will prevent you from living a positive life. So start meditating for eight minutes every morning and end every night doing the same. It will do wonders for your soul.
10. Be your superhero.
People say, “I am always here for you if you need anything.” Sadly, that is not necessarily true. Every person is busy figuring out what they are doing with their lives. So if someone is unavailable, promise me you will not take it personally.
Sadly, the fact of the matter is no one will always be there for you. Whether you talk to a therapist or a friend, you are the only person who can save yourself from depression, anxiety, or suicide. Strength grows when you think you cannot go on, but you do.
Remember, you must fight through the worst days of your life to earn the best ones. Everything you need is already within you; you need to search for it. Find your strength, compassion, and courage. You will glow differently when you feel better about yourself, so what do you have to lose?
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Sarish Siddiqui is a 25-year-old Pakistani American writer. She writes about love, life, and self-improvement.
This article was originally published at Thought Catalog. Reprinted with permission from the author.