The number of cases of individuals who suffer from mental health conditions has increased dramatically over the last year. More than 80 million people in the United States alone suffer from depression, anxiety, or both. Either of these can be an extremely debilitating conditions, especially if it’s new and seems out of the norm for someone who is usually rather calm or has a positive outlook on life.
If you’re looking to regain control over your life, here are ten helpful tips to allow you to start managing and coping with your mental health.
Please note that these coping mechanisms are not meant to replace professional medical advice.
- Seek Help From a Professional
The number one most important thing you can do when managing any mental health condition is to seek help. You never have to go through any difficult time alone, nor is it a good idea to try and figure it out on your own. Seeking help from a professional therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist is always recommended.
- Group Therapy
Sometimes we have circumstances in our lives when paying for therapy isn’t always an option. Thankfully, there are several free resources available through group therapy. There are thousands of support groups that range from all different types of mental health conditions. The best part is that most of them are now virtual so you can access support right from your home.
Anxiety and panic attacks can be incredibly difficult to manage. When we focus on our breathing, it allows us to bring our focus and attention back to our bodies to slow our breath down. There are several free apps available right on your phone that can help guide you through different meditation practices, especially if you’ve never tried meditating before.
- Learn a New Skill
Learning a new skill can show drastic positive changes towards your overall mental health. Taking a new online course or taking your career to the next level boosts your confidence and gives you a sense of purpose. Having a purpose is what can fuel us when we are feeling low about our current life situations.
- Feel Your Feelings
When we suppress our feelings, we aren’t allowing ourselves to work through the problems. We simply ignore them. Whatever you are feeling in the moment, allow that to pass through you. Crying releases endorphins that can calm you down and bring both your mind and body back to a level state. It may feel exhausting afterward, but by relieving your feelings, you are making room within yourself for the good.
- Get Your Body Moving
Whether you are at the gym or going for a walk around the block, try to get your body moving. Physical activity releases more of those feel-good hormones that can bring your state of mind back from high anxiety or a rather low point. Yoga is always a great means of movement because it also adds an element of meditation by focusing on your breath.
- Do Something That Fills Your Cup
When you’re in a state of depression or anxiety, it’s hard to get yourself motivated to do anything. A great way to avoid this is by making a list of all the things that make you happy. That way, when you’re in this state, you won’t have to think about what to do next. You can refer back to your list of the activities that fill your cup. Read a chapter from a good book or listen to your favorite playlist. It doesn’t have to be life-changing or groundbreaking. Even something small can make all the difference in your day.
- Call on a Friend
Sometimes we simply need to talk it out. Support doesn’t always look like someone trying to fix our problems. Support can also mean someone answering the phone and listening. If a friend lives nearby, ask for them to come over for a short visit. We’re human beings who thrive on social connections.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that helps someone challenge their negative thought patterns through various techniques, usually guided by a therapist.
There are several different ways to achieve this type of reflection and meditation. One way is to plant your feet on the ground and your hands on your lap. Say out loud the sensations you are feeling, whether that be the cold tile beneath your feet or the suede on the armrests. It’s meant to bring you back into the present moment. There are free apps on your mobile device available for this type of therapy as well.
- When In Doubt, Write It Out
If you aren’t sure what you are feeling, try writing it out in a journal. Writing is incredibly therapeutic as it allows you to take time to reflect on your emotions. As you write, try to ask yourself questions such as:
- What were you physically doing when the emotion first took place?
- What time of day was it?
- Who was around you when it transpired?
- Are there any ways you can disrupt the pattern in future situations?
Coping with depression and anxiety isn’t always easy, but it’s also not impossible. The most important thing to remember is that no matter what, you never have to go through it alone. You have a support system from your family, friends, support groups, and professional doctors or therapists who all want to help.