Anxiety and depression can ruin some of the best days of your life, or every day in general. When I reached out to social media, I got some of the best advice I've ever received. Maybe it's so great because it's not coming from a therapist, the internet, or a figure of authority that I may feel doesn't "understand" what people with mental health issues go through.
These responses were raw, real, and used on a daily basis by people ranging from 16-28 years of age. I took their answers and made them into more broad responses, and this is what they said.
1. Nature Walks
Sometimes all it takes is a walk through the woods to help you see life clearly. Anxiety and depression among many other mental illnesses are caused by things that happen in hectic everyday life situations. If you separate yourself from society, it can do wonders.
2. Delete all social media for a week
Among many other things, this would help you stop setting social media standards for yourself and your life. The standards set by social media cause worry, insecurity, and at times insanity.
3. Find something you look forward to after a 10/12 hour work day
When it feels like you are working your life away, it can get depressing and maybe even make you a little anxious. If there is something other than work to look forward to in your life, it could give new meaning to waking up every day. Finding hobbies isn't always easy, but even if you don't seem fit for any particular hobbies there is no bad place to start.
4. Learn how to breathe/count your breath
This is simple and one of the best tricks in the book.
Reading can take your mind off things for quite some time, especially if you pick up a good motivational/ self help book. By reading, your mind is engaged in another reality rather than what is going on in the outside world. Other than being a distraction books can help you learn about anything you could possibly think of.
6. Don't be scared to let it out, someone will listen
Finding a good friend that you can trust with your mental health issues is important. Often people are afraid to talk to someone. They are scared that they will not understand or they will dismiss their emotions. This is where having a good friend or finding a good friend comes in handy. This is also one of the benefits of social media, you can connect with people going through the same things you are. Be sure to utilize that.
7. Keep busy
If you don't give your mind time to wonder, often it will just stay focused on the task at hand.
8. Weight lifting
When I was younger this was especially helpful for me to do. Weight lifting gives you a hard physical task and can possibly distract your mind from whatever is bothering you. By working out you are bettering yourself physically and mentally. You are building mental strength by pushing yourself to continue a workout, which in turn can help you combat your mental health in the future.
9. Tending to plants after work or just sitting in peace with them
Growing up, my Papa had a garden. We took care of it, admired it, sat in the middle of it and ate strawberries until we were sick. Having a garden is a goal of mine and that is only one of the hundreds of reasons why. Being able to come home from school or work, take care of something that is living and that is yours, and admiring all the hard work and beauty that comes out of it is priceless. Aside from being priceless, it can also provide a distraction or a calm setting to spend time in.
10. Listen to music
Listening to music and even playing music can be such a positive gateway. Music activates things in your mind that other activities don't touch.
Writing is something that I've always used as a stress reliever. As much as you may have hated writing in high school or college, you won't know if it helps to do it willingly until you try it. When I write, everything else around me disappears. I get to sit down, focus my thoughts on one thing, and write whatever I want. I can display every emotion, good and bad that I feel.
12. CBD oil or other CBD products
The proof is in the science.
If you are thinking about getting medicated I want you to know there is no shame in that. We have to stop treating mental illness like it's not a serious problem in society. It is, people do need real help, and it is a real thing.
Just like I said for medication, it's nothing to be embarrassed about. At one time or another, everyone I know has been to some kind of therapy.
Although I've never been able to be dedicated to yoga, I know it works wonders for my peers. You can find yoga tutorials on YouTube and videos for beginners or experts. Yoga goes hand in hand with meditation, and you can find that on YouTube as well.
16. Validate your own feelings
It's important to stay away from a cycle of thinking you are overreacting because that's what social media and society say. It's OK to be sad or hurt from something, as long as you don't let it consume your entire life. If it begins to do so, reaching out for help isn't a bad idea. Neither is searching for new coping techniques.
17. Grounding, or counting all objects near you
This is a good way to bring your mind back to what's happening in the now, instead of letting your mind wonder to the future or the past.
18. Walking your dog/getting a dog
Aside from dogs, people said they spend time with their horses and cattle too. Having an emotional support pet was one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me. My dog isn't registered as an emotional support dog, but he's become that and more. Getting your pet registered means that you can take them into public places where other animals that aren't registered are not allowed, which is what I personally recommend.
19. Simple distractions
Watching a movie or hanging out with friends can distract your mind from the bad when it starts to take over. If you catch it in an early stage and decide to go hangout with friends instead of letting it grow and fester, it could save your day.
I'm no expert, but if you know a friend with anxiety or depression some of these techniques may be something they've never tried or heard of. You may have friends that you have known your entire life, yet you have no idea that they possess a mental illness. Be nice to your peers, friends, and family. You never know what they are going through.
Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.