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When it comes to mental health, it’s important to take it seriously.
I always find the stigma around mental health a challenge, for myself and others. It’s not the easiest thing to explain to someone who just doesn’t get it.
Too many times I’ve gotten the advice of “it’s all in your head” or “just go out and get some exercise and you’ll feel better.”
But, as you may know already, when you have anxiety it just doesn’t work that way.
You can’t just tell yourself to get over it and move on. Burying those thoughts and those feelings only allows them to refloat to the surface later on.
Until eventually you have to face what’s going on before you break.
I went about 2 years feeling pretty miserable. And I would follow all the rules like exercising daily and making sure I checked off the rest of the boxes that should have helped with my mental health.
I tried so hard to fight the feelings and troubling thoughts I kept having.
During this time, I didn’t really believe it could get much better. I thought my life was destined to be this way forever.
And thinking about such a grim future just made my depression worse. It was a bad cycle to be in.
I finally broke down and started to talk to people about what was going on. I cried to my sister, who told me she knew exactly what I was going through.
She has struggled with both before as well, and so I believed her when she told me it would get better.
At first, she suggested to try to change my thought process. Things like cognitive behavior therapy, where you work on challenging your thoughts.
That worked for a little bit, but I think part of it was because I just felt better talking to her about it. Once that feeling wore off, I fell back into the depression.
It reached a point where none of it was working anymore. That’s when I finally decided to go on anti-depressants. I’ve been on them in the past but didn’t fully see the importance of them until now.
Once I went back on antidepressants things started to shift.
How to Start Taking Your Life Back When You Have Anxiety
Consider Trying Anti-Depressants
I think that if you are finding that nothing seems to be working and you feel anxious all of the time, medication can help.
There’s a lot of speculation around anti-depressants, which can make it hard to know if it’s right for you.
For a long time, I was a skeptic myself. But, once I reached a point where nothing else worked anymore I was open to giving it a shot.
I’m very happy I did, because I am able to manage my thoughts and focus on what is most important in my life.
My mood has stabilized, and I don’t fall into the deep trap of depression. My anxiety has lowered as well.
I’m suggesting this only because I know it has a chance of helping. It helped when nothing else worked and I’m grateful for that.
But, if you don’t feel comfortable going on medication (or it hasn’t worked for you), you can learn natural ways to overcome anxiety here.
Try Therapy or CBT
I always suggest anti-depressants first, if you know you can’t possibly manage all of the anxious thoughts in your head.
Medication assists you in getting back to a normal frame of mind. Some people need this before they can move onto the next step.
With mental health, there isn’t one answer. I think you need to do a few things every day to work on it.
Therapy has helped me in so many ways. I use BetterHelp, which is an online counseling platform that connects you to a therapist today.
I have access to a therapist frequently, during the moments when I really need to talk to someone.
What I also like to recommend to people is trying CBT. CBT is cognitive behavior therapy which helps you challenge your thinking.
I’ve personally done this on my own time by reading books and working on workbooks.
This helps because you can focus on changing the automatic negative thoughts coming into your head.
Here are some books you can try to help get you started:
Write Down What Your Ideal Life Looks Like
Once you are at a point where you feel like you have enough control over your thoughts, you can then begin to work on everything else.
Remember, with mental health it first starts with just getting to a state of mind where you feel ok again.
That was my ultimate goal for the longest time. I just wanted to feel like my chest wasn’t going to explode all the time.
If you find that you aren’t ready for this step, please continue to work on steps 1 & 2. Unfortunately, with anxiety and depression, it’s not always possible to do normal daily functions.
And it starts by taking one step at a time. So, once you do feel that you are in a good state of mind, grab a notebook and pen and start coming up with things that you want your life to consist of.
What is it that you want your days to be full of, that your anxiety was preventing you from doing?
Is that working out? Getting a new job? Meeting new friends?
This list your creating has no limits. Think about all of the things that truly make you happy.
Again, if you are struggling with depression this part won’t be easy. This is only for when you are truly starting to feel hope again.
Just making writing these things down can help set off a spark inside you.
As you begin to see these things, you can work on figuring out how to add them into your life.
It’s just crazy how our minds can prevent us from doing or even wanting the things we want. We can convince ourselves that these things aren’t important.
And your anxiety can tell you these things are too scary to ever try.
But, you deserve every single thing on that list. And as your mind starts to come to a place of feeling better and like you can focus on living your life, you will begin to believe this, too.
Slowly Start Adding New Things Into Your Daily Routine
From personal experience and from research, I’ve found that trying to jump all in on trying a bunch of new things when you are overcoming anxiety can backfire.
Either from not being ready enough to try all of these new things, and your anxiety coming back. Or by feeling so overwhelmed by everything that it prevents you from doing anything.
As you are taking back control over your life, it’s best to take it slowly. You’re making lifestyle changes that can help you for the rest of your life.
Quick fixes won’t work when it comes to improving your mental health.
If you want to start working out, take some time to find some exercises that you appeal to you. Then, try to do it 3 times a week. For the first week, try for 10 minutes, then increase to 20 then so on.
This way, you are working to build up a new habit. Jumping into a full hour intense workout may make you hate it and not want to try it ever again.
As you are adding things into your daily routine, focus on enjoying the process. If you aren’t enjoying it anymore, then it’s ok to let it go.
Sometimes we feel the pressure to work out because we think we have to. But if you hate it then try to find something you do enjoy doing.
Get your FREE Mental Wellness Workbook
This workbook includes 7 printables to help put you on the path towards better mental wellness!