“If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane”
Having anxiety can be pretty depressing.
I think you’d agree when I say…..
It’s not easy feeling happy and upbeat when you are struggling with your mental health.
When you’re constantly feeling anxious or on the verge of another panic attack, it’s going to have a big effect on your general mood and outlook on life.
Yet as you journey along your path to recovery it can be done without feeling perpetual doom and gloom.
During the years I have lived with anxiety and panic, I found 5 key ways to stop depression caused by anxiety.
In today’s post I am going to be sharing these with you and explaining how and why they help.
1) Have a mission
When you have a mission in life then it’s very hard to feel sad and blue.
We all need a purpose, a reason for waking in the morning and the steel and determination inside to get on with what is important in our lives.
Those with anxiety and panic often stop doing a lot of things in life to try and cope.
Often the first thing to go is your mission, it seems easier and better for your anxiety to only do what you need to get by.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you have a mission it becomes more important than the way you feel. This is what enables you to move past the anxiety and feelings of depression and become completely absorbed into whatever you have set out to do.
Perhaps you’ve never found your mission, your calling in life.
If so, this can contribute to the way you feel. Your mind knows deep down you are not being the person it knows that you can or want to be.
It makes you feel lost and adrift in the world, which contributes to those feelings of being unable to cope.
Now, I can’t tell you what your mission should be, you and only you alone can figure that out.
What I can tell you is this…..
Your mission cannot be to beat anxiety.
Your mission is much more important than this, because when you are following it, it will enable you to feel fulfilled.
Whatever your age, wherever you live and wherever you are at in life, you can find a mission which is right for you.
Find that one thing which makes you tick, that gets you excited about being alive. Then get out there and just do it.
How do you know when you’ve found it?
It’s when you wake up in the morning and don’t care how you feel, because you’ve got more important things to do.
2) Get regular sleep, but not too much
We all know sleep is good for us, and the best quality of sleep comes from having a regular sleeping pattern.
When you get regular sleep your internal body clock maintains better timing which allows you to fall asleep and wake up more easily each day.
I’ve also found I sleep more deeply and feel more rested when I sleep during the same hours each day, and it is during this deeper sleep that the mind unwinds and you wake up feeling calm and refreshed.
I try to be in bed every night by 10pm, read for up to 30 minutes, turn off the lights before 10.30pm and wake up around 7am.
Once awake I then follow a morning routine to get my body and mind ready for the day ahead.
When your sleeping patterns are all over the place you feel tired and sluggish, devoid of energy to do anything and this is a sure-fire way for depression to set in.
It may take your body and brain a few days or even a week to adjust to it. During this time you may even feel a little worse, but trust me, it doesn’t take long to start to feel the benefits.
When you’re feeling down you’ll also find a tendency to oversleep.
Depression causes you to feel slow and lethargic, so you believe you need to sleep more to rest and feel better.
Sleeping more than the regular 7 to 9 hours a night can also cause depression, this makes you feel even more tired and so the cycle continues.
When you wake up early in the morning, see the sun rise and are raring to go for the day it is hard to feel blue.
This is why you also need a mission, to get you going and to stop you just turning over and closing your eyes again.
Set your alarm nice and early, get up and out of bed.
Just because it feels good at that moment in time to fall back asleep again doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
3) Move your body
People who feel depressed due to their anxiety are often very sedentary.
We all know that when you own a dog you must exercise it, otherwise it becomes sad and even destructive.
Yet for some reason we don’t apply this simple rule to ourselves.
The human body was designed to be active and therefore the mind has evolved to enjoy this too.
It doesn’t matter what you do, you must move your body everyday.
You can walk, run, climb, lift weights, play sports, join a dance club, do martial arts, or even just do the house work and gardening.
When you do this you release endorphins which make you feel good.
There’s a reason why the standard stock photos of someone looking depressed are of someone slouched over inside a dark and dingy room, whereas images depicting happiness and elation are of people outside in the sunshine being active.
You should be getting a minimum of 30 minutes exercise a day, an hour or more is best. Joining a gym is great, but it is even better if you can get your exercise outdoors.
Exercising whilst being amongst nature is one of the most stimulating and uplifting things you can do.
If you are worried about exercise induced panic attacks then read my article about this HERE.
4) Don’t be alone
There is nothing more depressing then spending hours shut away on your own with only your anxious thoughts to keep you company.
When you feel this way you may well feel like you’re better off being alone, but isolating yourself from others is never a good thing.
Now, being fine in your own company is one thing, but social interactions are so important in the way you feel.
To begin with it may feel like a chore to spend more time with others, but when you continue to make yourself do it, it doesn’t take long for that feeling to pass .
If you feel anxious, spaced out and not able to really focus on the conversation that is fine.
Don’t fight it and try and make yourself feel normal, just allow your current state to be. It takes a little patience, but you’ll soon begin to enjoy the interactions you have with others and feel more and more involved in the conversations you are having.
Don’t worry about being shy either, a lot of people are.
If you really struggle being around people, try and do it in a setting where your reason for being there isn’t just to have a conversation.
Get involved with sport clubs, group hobbies and get-togethers with family and friends. Whatever you enjoy doing, you’ll find others who enjoy it too.
All it takes is a few calls, a quick search online or speaking to close family and friends.
Loneliness is a major factor in feeling disconnected from reality and this only makes you more depressed.
5) Stop taking life, yourself and the way you feel too seriously
Anxiety and depression can be a huge drain on your mind.
Eventually it gets to the point where it seems like there’s very little fun left in life.
Everything becomes too serious, too important for you to be able to just kick back, relax and enjoy the world.
The truth is, life can be shit and no matter what you do there’ll always be times when you mess up and make a fool of yourself.
It’s the same for everyone, no matter how wealthy, successful, charming or charismatic they are.
And if that is the case, then why not have a little fun with it?
Learn to laugh at yourself, your anxiety and the crap going on in the world around you.
Stop taking everything too seriously, because nothing matters as much as you make it feel.
Being able to laugh at your foibles, especially in front of others, allows you to relax and just feel better inside.
Yes, you have anxiety, and so do millions of others. Let it go and take that pressure off yourself.
When you stop taking yourself too seriously you stop being so hard on yourself.
This allows you to enjoy life a hell of a lot more, and when you’re having fun it is hard to feel depressed.
Together these 5 changes can make a huge difference if you are suffering from depression caused by anxiety.
The difficulty is that anxiety and depression both rid you of that motivation to do what is right, especially when it feels so wrong at the time.
It takes a commitment which you can only get through a want and desire that you’ll do what it takes to feel better than you currently do.
They also take time to take effect and it is likely your thoughts and feelings will be telling you it’s just not worth the effort.
But it is.
You have to let go of those thoughts and realise it is just the anxious chatter of your mind.
Your anxiety will try and stop you doing what you need to do.
Repeat after me…..
I will not let it!
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