If you want to start recovering from depression or anxiety, here are my tips for how to start feeling better. It’s not always easy, and it will take some work, but the possible outcome of being happy is well worth it.
How to Start Feeling Better
First, consider seeking professional help if you think you need it. This is just advice from my personal experience with what worked for me.
Next, you have to find a reason to get better. This can be anything. Literally anything. At one point a picture of a wrinkly pug in front of a wrinkly seal (they basically looked like twins ;)) was my reason for getting better. Don’t laugh at me. 🙂
Because I figured that whoever made that picture was pretty cool and just knowing that there’s someone out there who is as weird as I am gave me a reason to keep going. So your reason can be anything. It doesn’t have to be earth shattering. Maybe it’s a person, or a dream, or a career aspiration, or someone you love. Whatever it is, write down your reason.
Next, you have to take steps to improve your life. This part is hard, because you probably have no energy and want to crawl up in a little ball in the corner and cry. I know because I’ve been there. But you have to muster up energy (literally) somehow to give you a catalyst for change.
I recommend either drinking a cup of coffee or eating broccoli. Sounds weird but it will give you enough energy in the short term to take one small action today that could improve your life. And then maybe do 10 jumping jacks just to get your blood flowing. Yes, I want you to eat broccoli because it’s going to cause a chain reaction of taking small baby steps that could ultimately change your life! Eat your veggies, kids.
So now that you have a little energy, I want you to write down a list of everything that’s not working in your life. Everything. Maybe you hate being in school, or your relationships suck, or you’re failing at everything, or you don’t know what you’re doing with your life, or you have no friends. I’ve been in all of those situations. And all of them can be fixed. Seriously though.
Write down whatever is making you stressed, depressed, or anxious.
Little side note here: I have to point out that ultimately happiness is a mindset and isn’t all about your external circumstances, but in most cases it’s really hard to choose to be happy when things actually do suck. So an easy way to combat that is to actually make concrete improvements in your life, while keeping in mind that you still have to choose to have a positive outlook and it doesn’t necessarily just happen when everything in your life is going smoothly. /end note
And here’s the fun part. Pick ONE THING to tackle first. It can be anything. Maybe pick the easiest thing, or maybe pick the thing that is hurting you the most. Or just throw a dart at your piece of paper.
Then, figure out what tiny baby step you can take to improve that. Ultimately you’ll want to write a whole list of steps that can get you to your goal, but for now just pick a baby step. Maybe you don’t like the way you look, and you feel awful about it. So some baby steps could be telling yourself you love yourself (yes, even when it seems the dumbest idea ever) every day or replacing one unhealthy snack with a serving of fruits or vegetables to improve your health and energy.
There are lots of ways to tackle each problem, and as you can see in this example we can either choose to love ourselves as we are or take steps to be healthier and physically improve our bodies. You can work on BOTH the situation / circumstances and your attitude about it to get the best results.
Ok, you’re probably pretty tired by now. Maybe you want to crawl back under your blankets. That’s ok. If you have a day when you don’t feel like doing anything, DO IT. You have permission. No one said you have to put on pants everyday. 🙂 But hopefully only do that when you really, really need to.
But when you have energy again (or pick another day and repeat these steps), I want you to write down a few more steps you can take to fix each problem on your list. Just a few steps. And you’ll start to see that what once seemed like an unsolvable problem actually can be fixed with a little elbow grease. And I promise that if you start making these changes in your life to the things that are stressing you out, your depression and anxiety will start to go away.
- How to Be Happy Consistently
- 5 Beliefs I Changed to Be Happy
- 10 Things Happy People Do Differently
- 7 Common Ways to Be Happy in Life
- How to Be Happy Anytime
And of course medication and therapy can help, but sometimes the reason you’re depressed or anxious is because something is fundamentally “off” in your life, and unless you change it, you’re always going to feel that way. But the good news is that it is 100% within your control to change your life.
You got this. I believe in you. <3
If you’d like to learn more about overcoming depression and negative thoughts, check out our 30 Day Negativity Detox.