Lately I’ve been going through intense bouts of anxiety/depression that make it very difficult to concentrate on my regular life (work, social life, etc..). I don’t react very well to as-needed anti-anxiety pills (allergic reactions, decreased reaction times, difficulty functioning in every day tasks and very foggy the following day), and I don’t always want to go to or rely on medication anyways, so I have been trying different things that I read or hear about, and I seem to have come up with methods that work really well for me. Everybody is different, but I thought I would share in case any of them can help anyone else out as well!
- Eat (especially something crunchy). I try to avoid sugary or processed foods when I’m eating to improve my mood, as they seem to have more of a negative affect. I know it’s funny, but from my own experience, I don’t handle things very well when I’m hungry (even slightly). I have noticed that if I put a pause on whatever thoughts are making me anxious in order to eat, I am able to see the problem in a different light after I have finished eating.
- Drink green tea. I have come across so much research indicating that green tea is a mood booster and helps with anxiety and depression, but I can’t stand the taste of green tea, so I could never even make it through a glass. One day, when I was doing groceries I came across Lipton Mandarin Orange Green Tea and decided to give it a go. I was amazed at how much the orange flavour overpowered the green tea flavour, and even more amazed at how much calmer I felt after drinking a glass. I don’t know if it’s just a placebo effect, or if it is actually something in the green tea, but especially at work where I can’t do a lot about an anxiety attack or depression, having a glass of green tea helps me feel better with surprising effectiveness.
- Eat dark chocolate. Another thing that I have never enjoyed the taste of is dark chocolate, but I couldn’t ignore the research, again, that dark chocolate is good for your mental health. An added bonus of eating dark chocolate is that it actually satisfies the sweet craving I get every day at work after lunch. I just eat a piece of dark chocolate and I no longer feel like I have to have a dessert, and like I said, when I eat something too sugary, it actually seems to make me feel worse.
- Do a yoga sequence for stress. If I have the luxury of having a panic attack in the comfort of my own home, doing any yoga really, but especially a yoga sequence designed for stress or anxiety really helps calm me down. My body actually physically feels more relaxed and calm afterwards, and it lasts throughout the day. Here is a yoga sequence I really like for stress: Yoga Sequence for Stress
Then, when those steps have helped me calm down, and I am able to focus on something other than the problem, I can complete a Sudoku puzzle, or read a positive article, or watch a funny video, or do a crossword puzzle to further calm me down so that I can actually focus on my daily life. Hopefully some of these are able to help other people, and I am always open to ideas or ways that other people use to fight off anxiety!