Anxious, depressed? These self-care tips can help

Many people are dealing with anxiety, depression, or just general unhappiness.

Worry, sadness, restlessness, irritability and trouble sleeping are just a few symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to the US National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Therapy and medications can help. But some simple self-care ideas can improve a person’s mood and add a sense of peace and joy to everyday life.

“Fortunately, there are things that people can do on their own, whether in place of a mental health professional or while waiting in line to see someone virtually or in person,” said James Maddux, professor emeritus in the Department of Psychology and senior scholar at the Center of the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

All of these techniques can help people deal with life’s stresses and emotional traumas and be happier, Maddux said.

Relax with Meditation

Doing this silent activity for just 10 to 20 minutes helps a person slow down and pay attention to what’s going on inside, Maddux said.

“And research shows that these brief periods can carry over into the rest of the day,” added Maddux.

Becoming more aware of what you’re thinking and feeling is a big step toward learning how to better manage your thoughts and feelings, he said.

“Mindfulness activities can be helpful in dealing with anxiety,” said psychologist Richelle Concepcion of Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu in a recent American Psychological Association history on clinical self-care. “Meditation, yoga, and even mindful breathing are ways to slow things down,” she advised.

Move yourself

Research points to exercise as a way to help manage anxiety and depression, Maddux said.

“It’s probably one of the best anti-anxiety activities you can do, one of the best anti-depressant activities anyone can do,” said Maddux.

Evidence suggests that exercise leads to physiological changes in the body and brain that help address these issues, he said. It also requires focus, which can help distract you from the problems of the day.

Just 30 minutes of daily walking helps improve mood and health, says the NIMH. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t do those 30 consecutive minutes, the NIMH said. They add up.

“I think a lot of people seem to think that you need to exercise an hour, two hours a day, five days a week to get the benefit. And research shows that actually, a few minutes here and there of exercise, whether it’s walking or climbing the stairs in your home or office, it has a cumulative effect,” said Maddux.

A review recently published in the journal JAMA psychiatry found that brisk walking for just 2.5 hours a week reduced the risk of depression.

Spend time in nature

Take this hike outdoors for extra benefits.

Being in nature is associated with better mindfulness, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and increased empathy, according to an APA history.

“You can improve your mood just by walking in nature, even urban wilderness. And the sense of connection you get to the natural world seems to contribute to happiness even when you’re not physically immersed in nature,” Lisa Nisbet, psychologist at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, said in the story.

healthy diet helps

The NIMH suggests that a balanced diet with plenty of water can improve energy and focus.

Harvard Health says that foods high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants protect the brain from oxidative stress, while those high in refined sugar impair brain function.

About 95% of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that helps mediate mood and more, is produced in the GI tract, according to Harvard Health, which suggests two weeks of a clean diet followed by adding foods and seeing how you do. feel.

This story also notes that studies on traditional diets, including Mediterranean and Japanese, have found a 25% to 35% lower risk of depression than those on a typical Western diet. These diets are rich in fruits, vegetables, unprocessed grains and fish, with small amounts of lean meat and dairy.

Are you getting enough sleep?

When people are very tired, they are more vulnerable to extreme emotions, Maddux said.

“Disrupted sleep makes people vulnerable to all kinds of psychological and emotional issues, whether it’s anxiety, depression, anger,” said Maddux. “The brain needs rest and the brain needs sleep. And when the brain doesn’t get enough rest, the brain won’t function properly.”

The stage of sleep known as rapid eye movement (REM) is when the brain processes emotional information, according to the Sleep Foundation.

Lack of sleep can interfere with the brain’s consolidation of positive emotional content, influencing mood and emotional reactivity, according to the foundation.

Schedule activities and set goals

While people tend to block out time for work and appointments, it’s also important to plan time for fun.

“People often get so busy that they don’t stop to do the things they used to do that they used to find rewarding and satisfying before they get too busy, before they get too anxious or depressed,” Maddux said.

Think about what you enjoyed doing and schedule it, even if it’s just for 10 to 15 minutes, suggests Maddux. It could be getting together with other people or just watching something you find fun on Netflix.

Writing down goals is a part of that. Not only does it help to limit stress by breaking projects down into small chunks, but people like the feeling of checking off a list.

“Most people get satisfaction from achieving goals that are important to them,” said Maddux.

Get away from social media

Sometimes it’s what you don’t do that matters. Not only does social media eat up time that could be spent on more fruitful self-care, it can also take a toll on a person’s self-esteem.

“Social media encourages people to engage in what psychologists call social comparison, literally comparing our lives to other people’s lives,” said Maddux. “And of course, everyone on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, whatever, is mostly sharing the best parts of their lives.”

Copyright © 2023 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Quote: Anxious, depressed? These Self-Care Tips Can Help (2023 Feb 27) Accessed March 17, 2023 at

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from all fair dealing for purposes of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. Content is provided for informational purposes only.

Anxious, depressed? These self-care tips can help

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top