We all have these big plans for life but it really never turns out the way we expect it to be, does it? Mine was such a case where my career did not take off as I envisioned it, I lost my beloved dogs, my in-laws were harassing me and a whole lot of other things that simply were going wrong.
The older I got, the more I saw my dreams slipping away from my hand and each bad episode hit the nail harder into my coffin of depression and anxiety. But the beauty of this whole thing was how I discovered tools to overcome all of this and live a content life. We all have the power within us to be the lotus that rises from all the muck into this beautiful flower.
Here is what I learnt.
Yes, you read that right, my experience has taught me that online counselling is one of the most effective ways to overcome depression. Look at it is this way, if you have a high fever that simply does not go away, wouldn’t you go and visit the doctor?
Unfortunately, when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being, we tend to give it less importance.
To be honest, it wasn’t easy for me to accept this either. My well-wishers, on seeing how I had become, did urge me to visit a counsellor but that it did not sit well with me.
It was only when I realised that I was not able to tend to my daughter that I sought to therapy. But there was simply no time, as my days were busy with work and domestic duties.
That is when my friend suggested online counselling. The therapist was kind enough to have the session at 9.00 pm when my child was asleep.
She taught me tools on dealing with panic attacks, handling depression and how to take care of anxiety. It took me time to get there, but it worked like a charm.
Listening to soothing music
Now, this is one of the self-remedies for anxiety that I found really effective for temporary relief. There are moments when you need a quick shift in the state of mind, say when you have to give a presentation or when guests are about to come home and you cannot stop bawling like a baby.
As a matter of fact, a 2013 study in the Journal of Positive Psychology discovered that those who heard upbeat music could enhance their mood and increase their happiness in two weeks!
Here is my prescription (you can obviously go with what works for you the best) – Buddhist music for anxiety attacks, dance music for depressed moments and hard rock for low energy.
Getting a feel of nature
There is something about being outdoors amongst nature that helps in combating depression. Backing this theory, professors of psychology at the University of Chicago found out that nature offered a stronger restorative effect on those who suffered from depression.
But as much as I wish I could go to the park every day, it closes at 6.30 pm which makes it difficult for me to get there. So I make sure that I sit on the balcony for half an hour with a steaming cup of coffee.
The fresh air and cool breeze instantly lift up my mood. It does not matter what I am doing at that moment, I may be reading a storybook to my daughter, cutting vegetables or just noticing the activity outside (such as elderly woman laughing over a piece of gossip, little children learning to ride their tricycle, dogs barking in the corner, etc).
Just taking a step back from one’s hectic schedule and observing life is very relaxing.
And during the weekends when I do have the time on my hand, I take my daughter to the close by the park that encircles a little lake. We both enjoy watching the little ducks, staring into the serene water and ambling through the pathways decked with welcoming trees.
We are fortunate that we come from a land of yoga which is not only a form of exercise but a way of living. I found that practising yoga on a regular basis made me a calmer person.
There is some truth to this, researchers of Georgia State University who did a study on three subjects suffering from anxiety disorder found that yoga helped in reducing worry, one of the main symptoms of anxiety.
Plus, it was effective in toning my body which obviously made me happier. Do it for 20 minutes a day and observe the wonderful changes that it brings about.
Just a note of caution though, in case you suffer from any kind of health element, it is best to practise yoga under an expert as not all poses of are suitable for everybody.
There is a reason why so many successful people swear by meditation. Studies also prove that regular practice can actually change the wiring of the brain for the better. It can help in decreasing anxiety, depression as well as increase one’s productivity.
As per a research conducted at Yale University, mindfulness meditation reduced activity in the default mode network (DMN), the part accountable for aimless wandering of the mind.
This automatically assisted in overcoming stress and anxiety. Thus meditation can be considered as one of the effective ways to come out of depression.
I just make sure that I take out 15 minutes every day to close my eyes and concentrate within. There are times when I do guided meditation as well.
Just type ‘guided meditation on Youtube and you will have endless options to choose from.
Aromatherapy can help in controlling stress and anxiety, especially when combined with other methods. Essential oils like lavender are known to bring about a sense of calm and put one in a restorative state of mind. Even the aroma of lemongrass instantly puts me in a good mood.
Here is what I do, I take drops of some essential oils in my bath water or just message them on my wrists or under my ears before going to sleep. It gives me a good night’s rest as well.
If you noticed, I have used the present tense in mentioning my prescription for depression. That is because I still continue to do most of the things that helped me come out of my damaging state of mind in the first place.
Remember, while it is always important to take the time out each day to nurture yourself, there is a way that you can work around it in your hectic schedule as well.