Social media, the news, family issues, relationship problems, work stress, anxiety for paying bills – all these add up and can truly feel unbearable. I know.
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed psychologist. Nor am I a practicing therapist. BUT, I have dealt with stress and depression my whole life, so I hope the solutions that have proven useful to me can help you.
Stop. Breathe. Don’t think about anything. Calm your mind and focus on just your breath. In your head, calmly say “in” when you inhale and “out,” when you exhale. Don’t do anything but sit and maintain this cycle. In and out. In and out.
Stress is a real distraction from goals and happiness. I, myself, have suffered from anxiety attacks during times of intense pressure while handling concert organization, performance practice needs, people management, owning my own non-profit, financial planning, etc. Stress and depression is something that requires immediate attention or else symptoms will continue to worsen.
Whenever you feel stressed out or depressed, you MUST ignore everything going on in your life and find a quiet place to calm your mind. Sit. And slow your thoughts. Only focus on your breath and forget about the constraints of time.
“Stress happens when the mind resists what is” – Dan Millman from The Peaceful Warrior
You must understand that you can’t change anything but yourself and your own perception. Your perception controls what you feel and how you feel. The events that happen around you will only effect you negatively if you let them, so try your hardest to stop, calm down, and rethink to find a more positive perspective.
The quickest solution is to slow your mind. Close your eyes and forget about any negative thoughts. If the depression becomes so bad, then understand that fighting it will only make it worse. You MUST cry until you can’t anymore – only then will you be able to calm down enough to do the exercise I described at the beginning of this section.
Plan. You must accept the reality that you WILL feel stressed out and anxious again. Everytime you trick yourself into thinking, “I won’t be depressed again,” your actually committing self-destruction; a bad reaction to reality – you must PLAN for when it happens again.
A few things you can try that helps long-term:
- surround yourself with positive people
- cynical people tend to influence others
- try only looking at positive materials
- news, social media, TV shows, etc.
- work out on a regular basis
- you MUST produce some endorphins to balance yourself out
- plan a day of the week to be in nature
- nature has positive ionization, but electronics have the opposite (negative ions) so by drowning yourself in nature, you can help counteract EM radiation and blue light form electronic screens (if you’re interested in reading more about the science behind this, I invite you to read this article: Pink Salt Lamps)
Setting goals for yourself will help you feel your moving forward and keep you looking forward to “something.” The worst feeling when depressed is not feeling a “purpose” in life – well, you don’t need religion or any person to help, create your own purpose.
Finding Your Purpose
Now this is difficult not to make subjective, but I will tell you my advice (of course, take it with a grain of salt).
Purpose is something that drives us to move forward, plan ahead, and keep trying at life. A great Buddhist teaching that has always stuck with me is that “life is suffering.” You MUST accept this as depressing as it sounds. Once you do, then every time you “suffer” from life, you’ll remember it’s just a stepping stone – it happens when living life. Everyone goes through good and bad times no matter their financial position, their relationship status, or the job title.
How to find your purpose is another topic, BUT…
Here are my suggested steps to finding your purpose in life:
- Think about what makes you most happy in your life –
- Whatever that might be, think about what actions are involved to make it happen –
- Write down the specific actions that others might benefit from –
- From these specific actions, plan on what it might take to do “it” on a regular basis
- How might doing “this” help other people?
- If money wasn’t a factor, how far would you want this “action” to go?
- What is your dream for this “action”?
- What are the small goals to make this “dream” happen?
- What small actions can you take to move toward making this “dream” a reality?
- What things in your current life can you change to make #9 a reality?
- What things can you do RIGHT NOW to make #10 a reality?
- If someone answers number one with “dogs,” they could say taking care of dogs makes them most happy.
- To answer #2, they might say walking them, feeding them, giving them a better life, etc.).
- For #3, others may benefit from you walking their dogs.
- You may ask a friend who owns a dog to walk them once a week (for #4).
- Answering #5 is easy because walking a friend’s dog will save them time and help them feel less stress or overwhelmed.
- How far could this go? How about an entire business dedicated to walking dogs (without even attempting to answer the question, “well, what about the money?).
- Number 7 could be answered with the fact that walking dogs every day is the dream.
- Small goals to make this happen could be writing down potential friends that would potential consider you helping walk their dogs (answering #8).
- Small actions to make the “dream” happen, is to plan when you could fit walking dogs in your schedule and planning on how much time you have to dedicate toward making this dream happen.
- Number 10 could be clearing up your schedule to make time for walking more dogs or planning for a dog training certification to better walk dogs.
- And finally, number 11 could be calling a friend at that very moment! By taking that first step, you always have starting the gears turning and the “dream” is already evolving (maybe even becoming a reality!).
For me, my purpose is found (at least I think). But after finding an action to take (#11), inevitably the devil’s advocate will ask, “aren’t there already people doing exactly what I want to do?” The answer is YES. Does it matter? NO.
It doesn’t matter than others are doing the exact same thing, because they really don’t matter. What MATTERS is that it makes you happy. NEVER compare yourself to others when it comes to your personal steps in making the “dream” happen, because:
There is always someone who is better than you and there are always someone who is worse than you; this is always and forever the case.
No matter how hard you work, no matter how “special” you might consider yourself, you still existing within a context. And what I mean by that is, your desired “trade” (such as dog walking) has people already experienced in it. Your context is the tradition or the industry of your “dream” that already exists. Consider a creative solution – contact someone with experience and ask them questions. This will place you within the industry in the blink of an eye and you’ll gain some insight on how best to achieve this dream.
Never be scared to ask for advice. No one is ever alone and no one ever WANTS you to be depressed or unmotivated. If you’re stressed, people are always willing to help. The phone works both ways, so never wait for others to contact you. Be proactive – contact someone first.
I benefit a lot from surrounding myself in positive reminders to be calm or stress-free. Decor is very important to me because the things we surround ourselves with represent who we are as a person. Much like “you are what you eat,” decor represents how you feel as a person.
Walking into a college guy’s dorm room might represent an undefined young adult looking for a reason to pursue a purpose (among other things). Walking into a family’s home might suggest an importance in child care and child friendly atmosphere. For me, walking into my office reminds me of nature due to the recycled wood on my wall, warm natural wood desk, Earthy blue and green walls with candles, incense, a desk fountain and paintings of nature.
Much like when we walk into a gym, inspiration to work out might sweep you off your feet. Walking into my office reminds me its time to focus and relax, helping me work tense free.
So. Decor and atmosphere shouldn’t be overlooked. Investing in improving your room or office will only be investing in yourself and your own health.
Stay Up to Date
The purpose behind this website is to help with these exact things from decor, meditation, relaxing music, yoga and more. I have dealt with my own issues and I continue to research new ways to make myself feel better. Everything I share on this website is for the purpose of helping others.
I invite you to explore this website in hopes that you’ll find something that may help you on a daily basis – and if it does, please let me know! I really want to help and I really love to hear when people find a difference in their life because of this website.
I am always updating this site so check back now and then. Or sign up for my newsletter – I’ll only send out an email once a week with a list of topics I’ve covered and written about. Below you’ll find the sign up sheet if you’re interested. I’m excited to share more positive thoughts, ideas, and music with you!
Depression and stress effect a large percentage of the population and with our lifestyles continually speeding up, its only logical to plan ahead and invest in your health.
Connect with people. Set reminders to relax in your phone’s calendar. Plan a day to hike every week. There are helpful (and free) options out there so PLEASE don’t give up.
I’m here to help, your friends and family are here to help. Many sources online are made available to give you ideas in how to cope with depression and stress 24/7.
I always remind myself that no matter what happens, there will always been a brighter day in the future. Every bad experience makes the good one’s seem even better, because without the darkness there’d be no light. The universe is made of contrasting opposites. Don’t think you are “special” enough to escape universal rules, but keep in mind we’re all in it together 🙂
Let me know if you have any other suggestions for those who suffer from depression and stress. Leave your comments below so others can read, learn, and respond. The best thing we can do is start a conversation!
Best of luck with everything.
Thanks for reading,