10 Self-Help Tips for Depression and Anxiety Disorders

Self-Help Tip #4: Find a Hobby or Re-start One That You Used to Engage In – This is some of the best advice I can give you that is both fun and easy to practice in between counseling sessions. If you don’t already have a hobby or a pastime that you enjoy, think of things that interest you and go from there. Have you ever looked at something and thought to yourself “I’ve always wanted to try that”? Why not go back to that place and learn more about whatever hobby it was that caught your eye? Take a trip to a local hobby or craft store – you may be surprised at the variety of fun and engaging activities you find there! If you used to participate in a hobby or sport, try to force yourself to re-start it! It may be difficult initially, but once you get back into the swing of things you will start feeling better about yourself and your mood and anxiety will naturally lift. As you become more passionate about your hobby, you may also notice that your energy levels are increasing and your mind is more occupied with the task at hand rather than the negative thought patterns. Some examples of hobbies you could engage in are: painting, scrapbooking, sewing, cross-stitching, woodworking, playing a musical instrument, playing a sport, exercising, or hiking.

Self-Help Tip #5: Create a “Mental Health Kit” – While this may sound silly at first, it has actually proven to be helpful to persons struggling with Depression and Anxiety Disorders. First, make a list of healthy activities you can engage in that typically enhance your mood. To help with constructing this list, try to think of activities you’ve engaged in before that have noticeably improved your mood. The items from this list will then become components of your “Mental Health Kit”. These “tools” in your kit serve as things to do when you become extremely depressed or anxious. For instance, your kit could include items like your favorite book, your journal, a few favorite movies, some favorite photos, crossword puzzles, word searches, bubble bath supplies, favorite CDs, old letters or cards from special people, etc. The point of the “Mental Health Kit” is to get your mind off your negative thoughts and get you into a better mood by doing something that makes you feel good about yourself.

Self-Help Tip #6: Get Some Sunlight– It’s a well-known fact that most of us do not get an adequate amount of sunlight exposure each day. Even if you live in the southern regions of the country, many of us spend our days cooped up indoors at the office, school, or recreational facility. Activities that once used to be “outdoor activities” are now primarily conducted indoors. As the amount of time we spend indoors increases, the amount of sunlight we are exposed to decreases. This is problematic, since the sun provides us with Vitamin D, a vitamin that has been shown to have mood-enhancing properties. So if you’re experiencing a bout of Depression or mood instability due to an Anxiety Disorder, try making a few simple changes to your daily life to increase the amount of sunlight you are exposed to. For example, you could eat your lunch outside, go for a late afternoon walk, or simply sit out in the backyard. Even as little as half an hour of sun exposure each day is enough to improve your mood. If you live in the northern part of the country, or have another reason that is preventing you from spending time outdoors, take a Vitamin D supplement daily. It is an inexpensive and easy way to give your body the nutrient it needs in order to help uplift your mood. Follow this link for the next page.

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