Activities To Help Depression And Anxiety
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Health and Wellness

10 Activities That Have Helped Get Me Through Periods Of Extreme Depression And Anxiety

Hopefully they can help some of you, too.

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Woman
Cole Stolte

If you've read any of my content before, it's no secret at all by this point that I've gone through some pretty tough battles over the course of this life long war I find myself waging against my own mental illness. During times when I've found myself in dark places and things have looked rather bleak, there are a few activities that have helped pull me back into the light and, in many cases, even helped prevent me from self-harming. I hope that by sharing this list, maybe it can find someone who needs it, and some of these activities can help them in the future.

1. Listening to music

I usually listen to what others would consider to be "emo" music. The lyrics tend to be very relatable and help me fell less alone and like others understand what I'm going through. They also tend to offer me hope and reaffirm to me that I can get through it. The band My Chemical Romance in particular has literally saved my life more than once before with their music.

2. Writing

Surprise surprise, the guy writing these articles likes to write. Well, I find writing to be extremely therapeutic for me, which is part of the reason I love it so much. Writing poetry particularly helps me get all my bad feelings out and thrust them onto the page where I'm better able to explore them and either come to terms with them, or finally expel them from my head for good.

3. Playing video games

​This can be an extremely great form of escapism for me. I can immerse myself in the stories and lives of others, while actually interacting with the environment and contributing to helping reach a positive resolution, giving me not only the joy from watching a great story unfold that you may also get from watching a movie, but also the sense of accomplishment for having gotten to that point.

4. Sitting outside and just getting some air

I used to just go sit outside either on my deck or up against the door to my shed. Sometimes just some fresh air and open space to think can help me put things into perspective and calm down a bit.

5. Playing with pets

My doggos and kitties never cease to cheer me up both with their funny antics and their unconditional love.

6. Napping

This may not be as advisable for dealing with depression, as depression will leave you with the feeling of never wanting to get out of bed, or never wanting to be awake for that matter, which you must actively try to fight against. For anxiety however, I've found that a small cat nap can help clear my mind and leave me feeling a bit less emotionally exhausted, allowing me to better process my anxious feelings.

7. Allowing myself to cry

if you subscribe to the idea that crying makes you weak, or less manly, or childish, or anything like that, then you are doing yourself an injustice. Society conditions us to think this way, and sometimes we get so caught up in things that we forget that crying is only natural. We have a built in system for cathartic relief, and there is nothing wrong with using it. If you feel like crying, it's okay to let yourself cry. You'll be surprised by how much better you feel afterwards.

8. Focusing on deep breathing

Sometimes, especially during panic attacks, it is good to practice some deep breathing exercises. I just put everything else out of my head and just think "breath in... breath out" and keep repeating it over and over, thinking only about my breathing until I have calmed myself down.

9. Singing a song to myself

Similarly to the breathing exercises, this allows me to put everything else out of my head and simply focus on the lyrics I'm singing. Sometimes its an uplifting song, sometimes its a song I find relatable. Either way, it gives me something to focus on other than whatever is troubling me and allows me to calm down.

10. Cooking or baking

Cooking and baking are personal loves of mine in general, and something that everyone in my family enjoys doing. I have found over the years that it can therapeutic as well. Having a physical task to focus on helps keep my thoughts from wondering to unsavory topics, while the creating something with my bare hands that others can enjoy always helps to cheer me up.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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