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6 Steps to Treating Anxiety and Depression

This article describes 6 key techniques to simultaneously treat anxiety and depression.

Can depression and anxiety occur at the same time? The short answer is yes, and it is probably more common than once thought. In a study done by Robert Hirschfeld, it was found that 50% of people suffering from either anxiety or depression suffer from the other condition as well.

Anxiety and depression are two entirely different conditions, however, symptoms and treatments for the two have significant overlap. Symptoms of both depression and anxiety may include muscle tension, withdrawal from loved ones, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, extreme worry, irritability, changes in sleep and appetite, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Anxiety and depression can be treated simultaneously using the same treatment options, many of which involve simple lifestyle changes. However, professional intervention may be necessary in some cases, though all instances of anxiety and depression are different. Management strategies that work for some may not work for others.

1. SetTing a SlEep Schedule

Setting a sleep schedule and sticking to it can do wonders for the body and mind. Seven to nine hours of sleep per night is the ideal number. It is also important to go to bed and wake up at approximately the same time each day.

2. Practicing Relaxation and Self Care

Arranging time for relaxation and self-care practices can help reduce anxiety and depression symptoms. Relaxation practices may include meditation, breathing exercises, yoga, tai chi, or prayer. There are hundreds of online videos that can help guide you through these practices.

Self-care means different things to different people. However, the term “self-care” encompasses all activities that involve being good to oneself. Whether it is taking a hot bath, cooking your favourite meal, getting a massage, going for a scenic drive, reading a new book, or anything in between, self-care is vital when treating anxiety and depression. Find out what self-care means to you and implement it in your life.

3. Getting the Body Moving

Exercise and mental health go hand-in-hand. Exercise can help alleviate various symptoms of anxiety and depression such as irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, and intense worry. Additionally, exercise encourages more positive emotions by decreasing stress hormones, promoting confidence, distracting from negative thoughts and emotions, and providing social interaction and support.

Exercise does not always have to be extreme, like going for a 10-mile run every morning. It can be whatever you want: yoga, weight-lifting, hiking, swimming – whatever form of exercise that you enjoy.

4. Creating a Journal

Creating a journal where you write your thoughts, feelings, and emotions can help you become more aware of your mental health and aid in taking control of it. Awareness through journaling can help with the management of anxiety and depression symptoms.

5. Spending Time in Nature

In a study done at Harvard Medical School, it was found that spending time in nature may lead to reduced feelings of depression and anxiety and stress. Research focused on seasonal depression has also found that exposure to sunlight leads to improved mental health.

This research has proved the powerful positive effect that being in nature has on mental health. By doing things like taking nature walks or sitting in the sun, depression and anxiety symptoms can be reduced. In a growing scientific field called ecotherapy, outdoor excursions consistently deliver a positive mental effect. Activities as simple as nature walks or sitting in the sun can reduce symptoms and generate positive feelings.

6. Tackling Limiting Beliefs

Unconscious beliefs may be dictating your life. For most people, these beliefs were formed in childhood during traumatic events. These beliefs recur as if playing a soundtrack over and over, reminding you that you’re not good enough, you’re not loveable, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. One can replace those damaging beliefs with the truth. We are all loveable and a child should never feel ashamed of themselves, no matter the minor trespass. Vulnerable connection and positive affirmations can re-write those unconscious beliefs that are no longer working for you. Showing up fully and authentically can bring relief and healing.

Registered Therapeutic Counsellor and Comedy Therapist, Lizzie Allan, founder of Hilarapy™ Healing with Humor, observes, “Being vulnerable has power; it has impact and value. When we create comedy from a place of acceptance and connection, we can appreciate the absurdities inherent in every thread of this rich tapestry we call life, and we can then find acceptance and celebrate the big juicy fullness of being human.”

She recently took her own shame and vulnerability to the largest stage in the entire world. Lizzie Allan’s TED Talk, Transforming Your Shame into Comedy, shares her Cinderella story and reveals the transformative origin story of Hilarapy – a revolutionary new modality to help those dealing with the absurdity of the human condition.

Hilarapy offers a Free 60-minute Comedy Therapy Class – Using the Power of Therapeutic Comedy to Change Your World. Profound life-changing experiences occur when combining comedy and group therapy. With the Hilarapy Online Comedy Therapy Program, participants acquire and learn to use potent new tools and develop active listening and powerful sharing skills to help them build confidence, increase self-acceptance and self-worth, and overcome life’s anxieties.

All of these treatment options are things that can be done at home. However, for some, it may not be enough. Therapy and medication may need to be implemented in addition to lifestyle changes. It is entirely dependent on the person being treated.

References

Hirschfeld, Robert M. A. “The Comorbidity of Major Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Recognition and Management in Primary Care.” Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Physicians Postgraduate Press, Inc., Dec. 2001, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC181193/

Holland, Kimberly. “Depression and Anxiety: Symptoms, Self-Help Test, Treatment, And.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 20 June 2018, www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/depression-and-anxiety

Katharina Star, PhD. “Why You Should Exercise to Relieve Symptoms of Mental Illness.” Verywell Mind, 10 Aug. 2019, www.verywellmind.com/physical-exercise-for-panic-disorder-and-anxiety-2584094

“Sour Mood Getting You down? Get Back to Nature.” Harvard Health, 30 Mar. 2021, www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/sour-mood-getting-you-down-get-back-to-nature#:~:text=Research

Wack, Margaret. “15 Symptoms of Depression And Anxiety.” Betterhelp, BetterHelp, 29 June 2019, www.betterhelp.com/advice/depression/15-symptoms-of-depression-and-anxiety

By Hilarapy Editorial Staff. Hilarapy is a leading comedy therapy organization. For more information on how comedy therapy can help you or someone you know, go to hilarapy.com

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