Once you are ready to begin seeking therapy, find a therapist that specializes in the area you want help addressing. To get the most from anxiety counseling, it’s also important to find a counselor you feel comfortable with. In the meantime, there are techniques to help lighten the burden of living with feelings of anxiety and depression. If you regularly worry, panic, or get anxious throughout the day, try implementing some of these common mental health tips into your daily routine (continued from Part I).
Experiment self-expression through a creative outlet.
Patients dealing with frequent anxiety can become fixed into a pattern of entertaining negative thoughts, often resulting in unhealthy behaviors. Creative expression helps to channel the distressing emotions associated with these thoughts in a healthy way.
Try experimenting with art, music, poetry, or any other form of self-expression that you find enjoyable. This works especially well as a substitute for unhealthy behaviors (such as drinking alcohol, smoking, or stress eating).
Set short-term and long-term goals.
Anxiety often prevents people from pursuing their personal ambitions and dreams. Setting personal goals helps to give people purpose and direction, especially when overwhelmed by emotion.
Write down a list of long-term goals to achieve in 1 year, in 5 years, and in 10 years or more. Think as big as you want. Remember, long-term goals are accomplished one step at a time.
Once you set your long-term goals, break them down into smaller steps that help to make the bigger overall goal more manageable and less overwhelming. Completing short-term goals gives us a sense of accomplishment and control; all while making progress on the larger ambitions that require more time to complete.
Make daily lists gratitudes.
Sometimes anxiety can make the world feel like a cold, hard place. As a result, feeling relaxed might seem impossible. As we fill our minds with negative thoughts, we tend to stay in that dark space. Negative self-talk can devastate us. Taking a few minutes each day to focus on a few of the things we are grateful for (like family, friends, a job, etc.) bring us into a totally different space and permit us to remember that life isn’t nearly as bleak as anxiety or depression would have us believe.
Once a day, write down a list of three to five things you are grateful for, no matter how small these things might be. Keep them together (or in a journal) and refer back to them later if you are feeling sad or anxious.
Schedule personal time to focus on yourself.
Anxious thoughts generally revolve around things outside of our own control. Questions like “What if..?” can quickly lead to a false mental reality filled with scenarios created out of anxiety. Often these scenarios are improbable and don’t actually exist.
One thing we all do have some control over is managing our daily schedule. Since our mind never stops working, one way to escape anxious thoughts is to redirect the mind’s focus.
Schedule a short period (10-30 minutes) every day to spend your mental energy only on yourself. Mindful meditation, journaling, exercising, or even taking a short nap are all useful techniques to arrest anxious thoughts regarding things outside of your control.
If you are struggling with feelings of anxiety or depression, professional therapy can provide lasting relief. To find a therapist in Boca Raton, contact Morgan Center for Counseling & Wellbeing or request an appointment online.