Feeling anxious? Feeling a bit blue? Nearly everyone deals with feelings of anxiety and depression from time to time. In some cases, those feelings can be so overwhelming that the best answer is sitting down with a professional counselor to get down to the cause and identify strategies for getting better.
But whether you’re seeing a counselor or simply dealing with those feelings now and again, there are some simple steps you can take to feel better quickly. We call them anxiety-busters (and they can help with depression, too).
There are many anxiety-busters, but these are examples that work well for most women:
Breathe. When you feel overwhelming stress, stop for a moment and concentrate on your breathing. Breath deeply and slowly, and hold your breath for a few seconds before exhaling. Some women like to use an 4 square breathing exercise, in which they slowly count to 4 as they inhale, hold their breath for a count of 4, and then count to 4 again as they exhale slowly, and then hold empty for another 4 seconds. If you repeat this process a four few times, you’ll begin to feel calmer and your heart rate will slow down.
H.A.L.T. One handy technique is to use the word “halt” to check your well-being. When you feel stressed, ask yourself Am I Hungry? Am I Angry? Am I Lonely? Am I Tired? Often, we feel stressed when we need to eat or rest, and doing those things makes us feel better. If we’re angry or lonely, we can try to understand why.
Friends. When we’re anxious and alone, the symptoms can feel worse. Sometimes we want to isolate ourselves, but really, it only makes us feel more alone in our struggle. That’s why reaching out to friends or family members can help you feel better. Call or visit people you enjoy and who bring life to you, especially if you laugh with them. Laughter is a great medicine.
Exercise. Taking a walk or a jog, swimming, or going to the gym not only gets you breathing and slows down your body’s production of stress hormones … it also provides a much-needed boost of endorphins, which we call the happy hormone. Not mention, exercising can be a great change of scenery. Even just a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood can do a lot to elevate your mood.
Distractions. Enjoy reading? Crossword puzzles? Crocheting? Cleaning? Take a break and do one of the things you enjoy. We humans like to make productive use of every minute, but sometimes we need to kick back and do something we really enjoy.
Pray. Taking a few moments to pray can make you feel better. Ask God to help you overcome your anxiety or depression and be sure to take time to listen. Prayer is a two-way conversation, and you may hear the guidance you need to move forward. No need to find the right words. Just let God know how you’re feeling.
Brittany Gipson helps children, adolescents, and adults cope with and overcome mental health and addiction-related illnesses.