10 Mindful Ways I Beat Depression
I used to be a very happy and ambitious girl. At the age of 23, I was just about to start my life when depression, anxiety and panic attacks kicked in. I was diagnosed with PTSD, major depressions, and panic attacks. I struggled all my life. I always thought when I achieved my next goal, I would finally be happy and the pressure would go away. That wouldn’t work.
Here is what was crucial for me to heal.
1) Stop Denying and Face Your Issues
Really make a change. Ask yourself what about your everyday life is making you feel so bad. This is very tough because it might lead to some severe changes in your life. But you have to make these decisions sooner rather than later.
Don’t count on anti-depressants or tranquilizers to take care of it. They might help you in everyday life to cope but on the inside, you are not healing. Once you stop taking them, the problems come back – in my experience. I quit my master’s study in another town and moved in with my parents for a few weeks and put all the energy that I had left to find myself a doctor and a therapist. A professional assessment is very important to begin with. I signed up for a master’s in my hometown and would only attend university when I really had the energy to. Later on, I quit school and started working, then I quit that job.
Life is evolving and changing and that is okay. Hardly anything works forever. Anything has its time. Don’t cling to things that used to make you happy, and find something new.
2) Open Up to Your Family and Friends
Open up and ask them for help. They can accompany you to your doctor appointments or just listen and give a hug. To me, the simple things that really helped were a home-cooked meal or cup of tea with my friends. I needed to feel loved and most of all, not alone.
3) Write Yourself a Schedule
Get your life in order. Organize and plan your tasks, that way you can ensure that you get done what really needs to be done and that you don’t get stuck in your depression. I know it is tough to get out of bed, to take a shower or to run errands. But a schedule will help you organize and structure your day – every day. I used to write my plan on Sunday nights for the coming week. This will lift a huge weight off your shoulders, plus you will see how you spend your time. It made me realize that I spend more time taking care of others than myself.
Get in front of a mirror and smile. It may be forced and unnatural, but the longer you keep smiling, the easier it gets. You can finish off by saying something motivating such as, “I am strong, I can do this” at least three times. Find your sentence, your mantra!
5) Stick to Self-Affirmations in the Morning and Evening
It is simple. Anyone can do it and it’s free. Sit down and write your own affirmation. It should be personal, contain only positive words, no longer than 1 minute to read. Get some inspiration but find your own affirmation.
6) Find New Values and Believes
Attending university, I lived in a very competitive environment. I was raised to believe that I had to study to be a doctor, a lawyer or a banker. But to be honest, I should have never gone to university in the first place. So, check your goals and get to the bottom of them. Are they your goals or other people’s goals? I started to teach refugees, which is the most fulfilling and rewarding task I have had so far.
7) Put Yourself First
You can do this without being selfish. It is kind and generous to please other people – to a certain extent. It may not be your overall task. You may not depend on other people’s gratefulness. You are worthy and deserve love – just because you are. Place your hand on your heart tell yourself “I love myself no matter what” – every day. Dare to say “no” from time to time. Those who really love you will still do so then!
8) Engage in Meditation
I learned to be mindful and aware through meditation. Learn to see and appreciate the small things: your clean and cozy bed, your partner/friends, your healthy body, a bird in your garden, the smell of coffee, the warmth/cold of your shower, being able to earn your living, a nice chat with a colleague. Once you start looking, it is everywhere. You can learn meditation with apps such as Simple Habit or Insight Timer. It helped me to calm anxiety and sleep better, among other things.
9) Forgive Yourself Every Day
Don’t judge yourself. You have to be your best friend. The person you are today is the result of all your experiences and anything that has happened to you throughout your life. It is not your fault that you suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
10) Don’t Try to Achieve Anything but Happiness
I used to live my life with my CV in mind. I wanted to be successful: get a job in a big company, work day and night to feel needed and important. But I am not a corporate person. So, I quit my job and applied for a job in public service to advise unemployed people – not impressive, but just what I was looking for.
It is not so easy to find your happiness but once you start thinking about it, the journey starts. And if you give yourself some time, you will find your happiness. Try meditating on this. Today I am a different person: I am happy. I stopped worrying and I appreciate myself. I don’t try to impress anyone anymore. I don’t compare myself anymore. I am grateful and mindful. I make my decisions based on what my heart wishes for – and not my mind. I enjoy my life and I am welcome difficulties in my life – as they come anyway. But I have to remind myself to stick to these simple rules and tricks to keep my calm.
The most important thing is, anyone can do this. If you read to the very end of this article, you have already started taking care of yourself! Good job. Keep going from here, in tiny steps.
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