Doing the Basics Brilliantly

Post date: Aug 15, 2014 4:23:55 AM

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States. It's not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed medication for Americans age 18-44, and the third most common drug across all ages.

Questions to Consider

1. What role does anxiety and/or depression play in your life?

2. How much of your day are you giving over to anxious and/or depressed thoughts?

Beyond medication and counseling, I believe there are six “basics” when done consistently have a dramatic impact on our anxiety and depression.

An Assignment

Read through the following “basics”. Take an inventory of your life. Which ones do you do well? What one or two are your willing to add to your day? Choose one to practice for 21 days. Journal about what you observe.

Exercise: The World Health Organization and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention recommend 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Try it. Thirty minutes of brisk walking (or any moderately intense activity) is a terrific antidepressant.

Meditation: Meditation has two important benefits: it prevents stress from getting into the system and releases accumulated stress that is in the system. Meditation lowers high blood pressure, decreases any tension-related pain, and Increases serotonin production that improves mood and behavior.

Eating Healthy: Healthier eating includes balance – eating from each food group, variety – choosing different foods to get all the nutrients you need, and moderation – eating all foods in moderation, even sweets are okay. Healthy eating helps you feel better, gives you energy and can help you handle stress better.

Living in Community: Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and wellbeing. There is compelling evidence that strong relationships contribute to a long, healthy, and happy life. Research shows healthy relationships can help you deal with stress. Low social support is linked to depression. A 2012 study found those with fewer satisfying social connections experienced higher levels of depression and fatigue.

Serving Others:When you serve or give to others, you discover the most important things you have to offer are not things at all.” Think of a time you have found great joy in giving someone a gift or doing something for another. Serving others takes the focus off of our own problems and gives us energy from the joy we see in others.

Journaling: Writing your thoughts and feelings out can provide therapeutic benefits. When we externalize our thoughts they are often not as overwhelming as they can become in our heads. The benefits of journal writing are immense. You'll learn more about yourself, relieve stress and simplify your life.