5 Tips for Coping with Anxiety and Depression

Author: Virginia James, M.A., LPC, LMHC, Strategic Life Coach

Oftentimes, when struggling with depression or anxiety, if can seem overwhelming. However, the answers are typically in the small things you can do for yourself and by making a daily practice out of them. Part of what I do each day counseling others, is incorporate mindfulness into my approach. Put simply, mindfulness is being in the moment and having an awareness of what you are experiencing in that moment. Here are 5 tips for coping with anxiety and depression.

5 Tips for Coping with Anxiety and Depression

TIP 1: When we live with mindfulness we are more aware of what we are putting in our bodies, what we are thinking, and what we are interpreting from the outside world. 

For example, if you are eating a peppermint candy, are you paying attention to its texture, sweetness, shape, transition? Are you aware of how it disintegrates in your mouth? If you are, you are probably enjoying it a lot more. If you are not, you might be missing out on what it truly tastes like, savoring that moment. Do you pay attention to these questions when you are eating food or do you scarf it down and move on to the next task?

TIP 2: Try this candy mindfulness exercise.

There may be a lot of truly great things we are missing out on. What about watching a sunset or sunrise? Do you attend to a bird soaring up above or close your eyes to listen at a symphony? What are you attending to when outside on a warm, sunny day?  There is never nothing going on. These are opportunities to simply feel and be mindful about what life really has to offer. We can call it simplicity. Simplicity that allows us to slow down.

TIP 3: Practice simplicity by attending to 3 events happening in nature today.

You have the power to be (super)human and play mind-tricks! I say that because you are using your mind in a different way. Although this takes effort, our faculties are taken for granted by most. Tune into your five senses.  When we don’t experience something right in front of us, it is probably because we are stuck in the past or thinking about the future.

TIP 4: Exercise each of your five senses today, one at a time: including sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. 

Whether you’re living in the past or living in the future (or both), it can cause serious problems. That is how hopelessness, sadness, nervousness and compulsion become a part of our everyday lives. These feelings may end of up affecting you on a daily basis and that’s why living in the moment is a healthier way to live. By living in the moment you are mindfully being present.

TIP 5: Challenge yourself to stay in the moment and try to catch yourself or say “I am here, right now” when you find yourself dwelling or worrying.

BONUS: Post a sticker on a desk or your phone at work and when you see it, close your eyes, inhale and exhale deeply three times-each time reminding yourself where your feet are planted, feeling the texture of your chair or clothes.

By practicing these techniques, you will make the most out of each moment, day and ultimately, your life. By learning and implementing mindfulness, you take new skills with you throughout your life to slow down and enjoy experiences in a way that money can’t buy. Mindfulness meditation is not only a way to proactively manage your anxiety but also to gain more pleasure from the simple things in life.

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