Anxiety is as common as the cold in the modern world, and depression is not that far from the annual flu. Although we can’t say these disorders are more common today than they used to be, we know that diagnostic techniques have been improved and that today we have better ways to spot and treat them. Albeit being quite common, neither depression nor anxiety should be treated as unimportant. The main difference between the two is that anxiety follows depression and can occur isolated, but there is almost no depression without anxiety.
In a state of heavy clinical depression, people undergo self-harming, they have suicidal thoughts, and some succeed in conducting suicide. In order to help prevent these unfortunate feelings and events, you need to think about your mental health and invest in it on your own. If you’re wondering how to do so, here we offer some scientifically proven ways for relieving anxiety.
EVERYDAY MINDFULNESS ROUTINES
Relieving anxiety isn’t an easy job, which is why special techniques have been developed for such purposes, and have gone viral over time. The most popular among them are the mindfulness techniques that come from yoga. These techniques are mainly focused on breathing and thinking, so basically everyone can practice them. All you have to do is find a quiet place where you can be alone with your thoughts and get started.
There are many different mindfulness exercises that you can practice, but the most basic one to start with combines thoughtful breathing with the art of focusing yourself on the present moment. The idea is to pay attention only to your body and way it’s positioned while minding to take deep breaths along the way. This may seem difficult at the beginning, and you will experience all sorts of thoughts popping up in your head, but the idea is that with more practice, you will be able to control which thoughts you want to appear and suppress all others. Practice is the key to success, so don’t be tempted to give up.
This technique originates from the ’50s and its creator is a psychiatrist called Joseph Wolpe. Unlike the previously popular flooding technique which basically consists of exposing a person directly to their source of anxiety, systematic desensitization uses a much less intrusive approach. During the first step, you learn muscle relaxation and breathing techniques. Then, you construct a list with problems that cause you anxiety, but hierarchically organized so that the biggest anxiety trigger comes last.
The next few steps imply trying to overcome your fears by going through the anxiety hierarchy, and you don’t go further until all of the anxiety on the current step has disappeared. This way, you will systematically reduce anxiety, but it will take time and patience to do so.
PRACTICE SCUBA DIVING
It’s not that uncommon for anxiety symptoms to appear in relation to the fear of depths. As we grow older and our prefrontal cortex starts flourishing with synapses, we tend to avoid risks more often and our brain tends to develop an irrational fear of depths. Even approaching the water can cause symptoms of anxiety in some people, so practicing relaxing scuba diving can help you relieve anxiety symptoms.
How does this work? First of all, you need to keep in mind that you won’t be able to overcome your fears in just one diving session. You need to take smaller steps so that this technique doesn’t backfire and make you even more afraid. Start diving in the shallow, and gradually move towards deeper water. Diving in the pool can be the first step, and after you’ve mastered this part, try diving in the open waters. Avoid rocky coasts with a lot of sea life in the beginning, but start introducing more wildernesses into your diving routine step by step. Eventually, you will grow fond of diving and the anxiety symptoms will hopefully ease.
Keep in mind that these are only some of the popular techniques widely used by amateurs, but if you experience severe anxiety issues which disrupt your everyday activities, make sure to contact a professional. Anxiety is not to be toyed with because it can easily develop into depression and cause you a lot more problems. Mental health is an important part of our lives, thus it should not be forsaken.
Author Bio – Diana Smith is a full-time mom of two beautiful girls interested in topics related to health and alternative medicine. In her free time, she enjoys exercising and preparing healthy meals for her family.