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Five Things You Can Do to Feel Better When Depressed or Anxious by Vicki Tillman, M.A., L.P.C.

August 23, 2012

Sometimes life gets hard and it makes you feel depressed or anxious.

The tough part is: Some things in life take a long time to fix.

The good news is: You can start to feel better even though all of life isn’t better.

Here are 5 things you can do:

Breathe.

When you are stressed, you might tend to pant instead of breathe. Deep breathing can help. The increased oxygen you give yourself when you take deep breaths helps lower the stress hormones your body is carrying. Do an experiment: Take three nice, slow, deep breaths. Now repeat that frequently through the day. The result is that over time, you will probably feel a little bit better.

Eat healthy foods.

When you feel anxious or depressed, you might feel like self-medicating with carbohydrates, or sometimes you just don’t feel like eating. The cool thing is that you can start to feel better just by getting some real food into your system: fruits, veggies, protein. Real food carries the micro-nutrients that your body needs to make your neurotransmitters – those important little chemicals in your brain that control mood, metabolism, energy levels, etc. Do an experiment: Eat real foods every day, even if you don’t feel like it.  The likelihood is that you’ll feel a little bit better.

Move your body.

Did you know that every time you move a muscle, the nerve that is attached to it fires a little bit of dopamine? Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps you have a good mood. Awesome! Do an experiment: Make some sort of movement happen each day. (You don’t have to be the fitness king or queen to do this.) Lots of things count as movement. (You can sit in a chair and move your arms and legs, right?) I’ll bet you’ll feel a little bit better.

Get involved with something.

It is good for people to be around other people and to be involved in a cause. Helping a cause or being involved in an organization helps your brain take a rest from all the other stressors. AND even though you may not be talking at all about your stressors, being around other people is a form of support. Do an experiment: Have coffee with a friend, visit a church, volunteer at an animal rescue, or something… I bet you’ll feel a little bit better.

Talk to a counselor.

This is useful for several reasons: processing stressors with a counselor helps release some of the stress, helps retrain unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors into healthy thinking and choosing, and helps you understand yourself and your situation with fresh insight. Do an experiment: Call PCPC today and make an appointment. I’ll bet you’ll feel a lot better.

 

 

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