Six years ago, back in 2010, when I was twelve, both of my grandpa’s passed away. My mom’s dad in January, and my dad’s father in July. Six years ago, when I was twelve, depression and anxiety introduced themselves to me for the first time.
I’ve been seeing my psychologist for two years, and I saw two other counselors before I found her. I’ve been going to therapy for, more or less, five years. And in those five years, I’ve learned a lot. I truly hope that some of these tips and tricks help you as much as they’ve helped me!
- SAY A PRAYER. This is quite possibly the most important lesson I’ve learned. The Lord is the very best medication. Praying, reading the Bible, going to church, listening to uplifting music, really does help more than anything else. Trust in Him, and let Him help you. It doesn’t hurt to try, right?
- BREATHE. In through your nose, and out through your mouth. I know you’ve heard this one. It’s simple, but it does the trick.
- TALK TO SOMEONE. Keeping everything inside really weighs you down. Getting that elephant off your chest is beyond helpful. Speak to your mother, or your best friend, or your teacher, or a therapist, or me. I’ll listen. Or, if you don’t have anyone you could talk to, write about it in a journal. Writing down your thoughts and concerns can be just as helpful as saying them aloud.
- ESSENTIAL OIL. Lavender oil, specifically. I’ll put a bit on my wrist, or on the collar of my shirt, and when I notice that I’m getting nervous, I’ll take a whiff or two and somehow it calms me down. It’s like magic. I’ll never understand it, but it works, and I suggest you give it a chance. You may be surprised.
- EXERCISE & EAT HEALTHY. I’m not a doctor, so I can’t explain why it works, I just know that it does. Exercising and eating healthy meals doesn’t only take care of your body, but it also takes care of the mind.
- LEARN WHAT TRIGGERS YOUR ANXIETY. Panic attacks, for me, are more severe when I don’t understand where my anxiety is coming from. For example, I had a panic attack a few years ago at our church hayride because I was surrounded by way too many people. At the time, I didn’t understand why I felt so bad. Looking back, I know why I had the panic attack and I know if I go to our hayride next week, I’ll realize that I shouldn’t stay with the large group – I should stay off to the side with my friends and sisters.
- GO TO YOUR HAPPY PLACE. When you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down and close your eyes. Imagine that you’re in Hawaii, or your bedroom, or on the moon. Any place that would make you feel safe and comfortable. Don’t open your eyes until you’re calm.
- REPEAT A MANTRA. When I’m afraid, or upset, I like to repeat 2 Timothy 1:7; “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” It brings me such peace.
Again, I’m not a doctor nor do I know for a fact that these things will help every single person who is dealing with anxiety and depression. However, I know without a doubt that they help me, and I pray that they’ll help you as well.