Sunday, November 17, 2013
My Tools for Healing: Simple Tools to Help Overcome Anxiety and Depression
My Tools for Healing:
Simple Tools to Help Overcome Anxiety and Depression
Over the past few years, I’ve been using a few simple self-help tools to help me deal with feelings of anxiety depression. These tools may be free, but they have been priceless for me on my journey to health and happiness. I’ve listed them below with how I use them and why they are so invaluable.
- Journal/ Blogging: Both of these tools help me to process my thoughts and how I feel about different things. While I do both, the blogging isn’t essential. I simply like to do it because I believe part of my purpose is to help others learn and overcome obstacles. Also, please note that I did not say “diary”. This tool isn’t about recording the day’s events. The idea is to write about your thoughts and feelings, which may or may not pertain to that day.
Here is a specific example on how I’ve used journaling to help overcome anxiety:
The first time I used this tool I was actually in Africa volunteering with an organization called Cross Cultural Solutions. One evening after dinner during our down time, feelings of anxiety began to creep up. Instead of letting those feelings overwhelm me while in such a beautiful place in the middle of my adventure, I decided to pull out my journal and write down where I thought my anxiety was coming from. For the most part, it mainly had to do with what I was going to do with my life when I got home. Just looking at what I wrote, I realized how ridiculous this was. I WAS THOUSANDS OF MILES FROM HOME! Plus, I knew I still had a bed to sleep in and a little money still in my savings account. Worrying about a job and life back home would do me absolutely no good overseas.
[This is a great exercise for anyone like me who suffers from what I call “Irrational Negative Thinking” Disorder. It helps me call out that negative voice in my head, realize it makes little to no sense, and laugh at it. This reduced the power it has over me.]
- Reading: I love books. They’re great for a number of reasons, like taking me to another place when I need to get away or helping me learn from others and their experiences. In conjunction, books can comfort me by helping me realize that I am not alone, something I think is huge when dealing with feelings of sadness or depression. Additionally, I’m in the process of cleaning out my library’s self-help section (although they have a ton!). Over the past two years, I’ve read more books on happiness, purpose, and meditation that I care to count, but I do know have helped me adopt new practices and ways of thinking.
- Outdoors/Running: To put it simply- I need a space outside to think and expand. Also, it (specifically trail running) helps me find strength and beauty in my own body.
-Volunteering: I believe everyone is on this earth for a purpose, and while certain aspects of that purpose may be different for everyone, I think it mainly revolves around spreading love. With that, I feel we each have a duty to help others. Volunteering has not only helped take me outside of myself, but increased by capacity to love others.
-Meditation: This is the newest addition to my healing repertoire, and a practice I will never again overlook. Yes, I am still working at it-it's still hard for me to quiet the constant chatter in my head and sit still for 10 minutes-but when I do it gives me a sense of peace and clarity that I can take with me for the rest of the day.