More than 40 million adults in the U.S. suffer from depression and anxiety disorders, with a recent uptick in those numbers post pandemic. Not only that, but the two typically activate each other making it even harder to get out of those cycles. Learning long term strategies to help cope with anxiety and depression takes time but getting control of your body is the first step.
Depression and anxiety are equal parts physical and emotional, so it’s important to work with both inorder to break the negative cycle. Talking with a Phoenix anxiety therapist can be very helpful, especially with the mental and emotional aspects. They can help you map and understand your tiggers and ways of overcoming them so you can shift your life from barely surviving to thriving.
How Mindful Breathing Quickly Reduces Anxiety
One of the first symptoms of anxiety is a racing or pounding heart, followed by out of control thoughts. Sometimes these kick in before you even realize you’re experiencing anxiety. Focusing on these two things will help reduce the severity of an anxiety attack.
Start with mindful breathing. The heart and lungs are directly related, so slowing one down will have the same effect on the other. Taking long, slow breaths will bring the heart rate down and reduce that tense, anxious feeling in your body. Focusing on your breath will also distract the mind and bring your thoughts back to the present.
You can also incorporate aromatherapy into this practice for an even greater effect. Lavender for example, contains special properties that when inhaled, activate brain receptors that promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
Physical Contact Eases Depression
When you start to feel really low, and depression has a strong grip on your heart and mind, self care is unreachable. Not only that, but when you feel that bad you don’t even want (or are too exhausted) to take care of yourself. The feelings depression brings out vary person to person but feeling safe and loved help combat some of them.
It might sound cheesy, but getting a hug (or any positive physical touch) makes you feel better and eases some of the symptoms of depression and there’s a science to explain why. After 20 seconds of positive physical contact, your brain releases feel better hormones such as serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine. Also, if you’re feeling alone or unloved, having someone’s arms around you can create a safe place and make you feel more seen and valued. While it doesn’t solve any problems (such as the root of your depression or anxiety) It’s an easy way to shift your brain chemistry and rebalance some of your thoughts and emotions.
Long Term Approaches to Breaking the Cycle of Depression and Anxiety
If you have depression and anxiety, it can greatly impact your daily functioning. That’s why learning strategies to manage intense episodes is helpful and will lead you to ways of dealing with depression and anxiety long term.
It’s possible that depression and anxiety have created emotional ruts or chemical imbalances in your brain. There are a lot of natural ways to help with either case such as specific terpenes found in some CBD. Terpenes are a chemical compound that are more recently being studied for their effects on the nervous system and feel good brain receptors. Ingesting certain terpenes can have long term effects on regulating your nervous system and reducing the chemical imbalances that promote depression and anxiety.
Talking with someone you trust, such a friend or trained counselor, can also provide long term relief for anxiety and depression. A therapist, especially, can help you understand your thoughts and triggers and help you learn ways to live a more happy and stable life.
Infographic provided by Vanguard Behavioral Health, a leading rehab in Albuquerque NM