Depression and anxiety have been part of my life for as long as I can remember. I was probably perfectly happy as a young child, but things changed once I hit adolescence. You know the time I’m talking about. Your body is changing; there’s more pressure at school; your interest in members of the opposite sex starts to cause problems; you learn how awful the world can be; yadda, yadda.
When I started taking an antidepressant (around the year 2000) I learned that I didn’t have to worry all the time. For me, anxiety seems to drive the depression. Anxiety can make life unbearable. My perpetually nervous stomach disappeared!
If you have been struggling with depression for weeks or months or years, the tips I’m sharing in this post are not the answer for you. Please talk to a professional counselor as soon as possible. This resource page from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) can direct you to services in your community. If you’re having thoughts of self-harm, and you’re in the United States, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you’re outside of the US, here is a Wikipedia article that lists suicide crisis lines throughout the world.
These tips are designed to get pick you up when you’re having a down day. Sometimes you just have to take life one moment at a time.
1. Take a break from the internet.
The internet can be toxic. I stay away from Twitter because it’s easy to get pulled in to reading the opinions of angry, hateful, irrational people. No good can come of this practice. As for Instagram, it can be intimidating and foster self-loathing. I can try to be Kim Kardashian, but I’ll never get there.
Don’t get me started on the news. I check CNN and the Washington Post every morning hoping that something good happened
So, take an internet break. Just one day off might make a difference for you.
2. If you can’t break your internet addiction, find content that lifts you up
3. Forget your screens and go out into the world
There are studies indicating that getting out and experiencing nature is effective for easing depression and anxiety. Even if you’re not the outdoorsy type just going to a city park and watching the birds and squirrels can make it easier to stop focusing on the thoughts that are usually churning in your mind. Enjoying the natural world helps you to connect with yourself and find some perspective. Read this PsychCentral article to learn more of the ways being in nature can improve your overall health.
4. Explore the arts
People have been using art to express their emotions for centuries, but Art Therapy as a discipline came into existence in the 1940s. Visit this site to locate an art therapist in your area, or use art to improve your mood without the help of a professional. You could:
Those are just a few of the things you can do to get yourself out of a funk—a non-clinical funk. What are some of your strategies for overcoming a blue mood?