Anxiety and depression has become a common issue in the modern world with millions of people suffering from it all around the globe. I cannot argue that we live in a difficult time but is it really so different from other times? As you go through world history, you have to realize that people are pretty much the same all the time. And although lifestyles, politics, economics and other important factors change, people do not, making us deal with the same inner-issues our ancestors did.
Life have always been a mix of “good and bad” moments. Everyone has gone through periods of happiness and periods of frustration and sadness. This is life. After a diffult moment an easy one comes along, making life feel and be much like a roller coaster, sometimes going up, sometimes going down!
Because of this natural flow of life it is as natural to go through moments of anxiety and depression as is natural to go through moments of happiness and ease. That is simply the nature of human life.
Unfortunately and because anxiety and depression have become so widely spread as diseases they have become a high profit channel for pharmaceutical companies. And because of that whenever someone suffers from even very mild anxiety and/or depression, they are immediately put under drug medication. Although I agree that some forms of more serious and chronic depression may need to be treated with non-natural drugs, the truth is that most cases can be effectively managed and treated through natural and holistic remedies and therapies. I believe that the use of drugs and medical procedures have a reason to exist, thus there are moments in life when we have to rely and use them to our highest benefit. But I also believe that for most issues there is no need at all to take drugs or go through any kind of medical procedures for you can heal yourself with natural treatments and remedies. This will keep your body and mind healthier for sure and without any displeasing secondary effects.
Bellow I offer three holistic tools that tremendously help manage depression and anxiety. In any case I want to reinforce the idea that for definitely overcoming depression and anxiety you may need to work with some other tools in addition, it all depends on your specific case and needs. But be assured that these three tools will only help you in your healing journey for they are really effective!
#1 - DEVELOPING THE ABILITY TO COPE - With adversity, failure and loss
Depression and anxiety are diseases of the soul, momentary or chronic reflections of an inability to cope with adversity, failure and loss, something that is a natural part of life! Today, by being seen as “diseases” or “disorders”, which means something abnormal, people tend to identify themselves with their “diseases” making them feel abnormal too. The truth is that we all deal with a difficulty to cope and balance our internal expectations with the external reality. We are not alone in this. The difference between falling or not into depression lies in how we see these adversities, failures and losses and the time we allow ourselves to fall into negative states of mind.
I, like everyone else, have gone through moments of hardship that resulted in periods of high anxiety and depression. A close family member is a sufferer from chronic depression, so from a very young age I saw the excruciating daily suffering depression causes making me impossible to ignore it. Also, my grandfather committed suicide after a long depression following my grandmother's sudden passing. Those experiences made me fear and dread depression but they also made me fight my own bouts of depression very hard and with very disciplined self-restraint and inner-willpower from the moment it's first signs would show. Throughout my whole life I only took medication for depression once, I was 17 years old and took it for fifteen days. The effects from the medication were so unpleasant that I deeply knew that it would make me worst than I already was. I quit the drug medication and decided to deal with it my own way.
That was the precise moment I realized the fundamental importance of developing not only inner-strength but also a very disciplined, positive mind, whenever going through life challenges. This realization helped me manage and overcome many difficulties in life.
Today, I work with people that deal with anxiety and depression, people that are also able to control anxiety and depression in a natural, drug-free way. I can't stress enough the fact that anxiety and depression are just a natural part of life! And I can't also stress enough that the specific way of how we look towards ourselves and our hardships is the most important specific of it all for that will determine our ability to effectively deal with, manage and overcome anxiety and depression. With drugs you can partially mitigate the symptoms but you'll never overcome your real problems. That is what I do in my Holistic Guidance Practice, I help my clients to acquire new perspectives of themselves and their life's issues so to empower themselves and develop the necessary inner-strength and mind clarity to cope with anything that may come their way. New perspectives alongside with some Holistic therapeutical tools creates transformation in a easy, soft way.
No matter what is causing yourself to suffer from anxiety or depression and no matter the level of seriousness of it, know that there is ALWAYS a solution to everything in life! Like many other people you too can decide to take charge of your life and health and return to a state of well-being and joy. It will mean that you'll have to put a little bit of effort on your part but the positive results of that effort will be very soon noticed if not immediately. We only have one body and one mind during this life, so we MUST take care of them like the most precious treasure we may ever hold.
Our health and well-being are of paramount importance and know we did not came to this life to suffer! Ease, joy, and contentment, even when going through hard times, are available to everyone. So when we get lost it's just a matter of time until we find our way back to a positive state of mind and emotions.
So, how can you do this?
Observe the issues bothering you from several different perspectives, other than the one you are giving it now;
Compare them all in a rational way. Be honest with yourself and discern the truth, whatever it may be;
Accept what you cannot change and make an effort to change whatever is within your reach to change;
Realize that the past must stay in the past, and it only serves the purpose of learning. What you learned from it will serve you in future situations;
Change can only come from present thinking and actions. Now is the time to prepare for the future you want to live. If you want to get rid of your anxiety or depression, start with a healing plan TODAY and start by doing the following relaxation exercise! :)
#2 - DEEP RELAXATION: Release physical/mental/emotional tension and blocked energy
Although normally people do not give deep relaxation the importance it really has, the experience I have, both as a Yoga/Meditation teacher and Holistic Therapist, is that most people live with chronic physical and mental tension. The ability to deeply relax is almost always a problem for every student and client I work with.
Body and mind tension are deeply interlaced and whatever happens to the body affects the mind as well as whatever affects the mind will affect the body too. Life challenges and contemporary required pace and obligations and our lack of ability to deal with it all, cause mental tension that somatizes into the body. As you get stressed, anxious and/or depressed your body fills itself with tension that blocks your natural energy flow through extreme muscle contraction. This will cause pain, physical discomfort and even postural changes but, over time, it will turn into either chronic pain, psychosomatic illness or you'll get desensitized to the point that you no longer are able to really feel your body in any way. That is why so often people suffering from depression or burnout complaint about not being able to feel the body and this is why it's so important to regularly practice some kind of mindful deep relaxation technique to regain that ability back.
Know that deep relaxation is not sitting in front of TV, sitting on a beach restaurant sipping from a mojito, jogging or reading an interesting book, that is fun time! Fun is something also very important when dealing with depression and anxiety, but not the same as deep therapeutical relaxation.
To effectively relax you must engage in a practice that truly helps your body and mind to profoundly relax and recognize sensation so to release physical and emotional tension, as fully and deeply as necessary.
To know if you have tension in your body (and you will for sure have it!) you need to know which parts of your body are being unconsciously contracted so that you can consciously relax them. One of the most simple and effective techniques is the “Body Scan”:
Sit or just lye down comfortably, alone and in a quiet place. You can also use relaxing music if you like as this will add enjoyment and a soothing quality to your Relaxation practice. You can also apply a drop of Lavender Essential oil to your shirt or pillow.
Begin by scanning your toes, base of the feet, ankles and slowly go through all your body parts until you get to the top of your head.
As you do the scan, invite each part of your body to fully relax and at the same time try to feel it as clearly as possible.
Notice, as you do this, how your mind also tends to relax. Keep your mind fully engaged on the scan and noticing what is happening with your body and mind at all times.
This practice may take 10/15 minutes of your time and if practiced daily will for sure help you manage the symptoms of anxiety and depression. If you are currently on psychotherapy this will help you deal with all the issues approached during your psychotherapy sessions with greater centeredness and calmness. Do this exercise at least once a day and if possible two or three times a day.
#3 - AROMATHERAPY: Lavender Oil - Soothing and balancing body, mind and emotions!
In my Holistic practice I always recommend the use of Essential Oils as a tool to assist in the management of any physical and psychological issues my clients might be dealing with. Depending on the issue and the person, I recommend single oils or blends that will help my client go about their healing journey with greater ease and pleasure.
I LOVE Essential Oils because they are so effective, of course I use them myself and know how much easier everything gets with a drop of EO!
Today I will recommend just one oil that is wonderful for both anxiety and depression: Lavender. Being an european I have lived with the smell of lavender ever since I know myself to be a person and it's one of my absolute favorite oils. Lavender Essential Oil is a medicinal oil and a miracle in a bottle for it has numerous applications both for physical and mental health issues. Researchers have found that Lavender reduces anxiety and stress, lowers pulse rate, reduces depression, improves insomnia and softens mood swings, among others. Overall, lavender is calming, soothing, balancing and relaxing for body, mind and emotions.
You can use Lavender EO in several ways, here are a few:
In a hot bath. Pour 4-8 drops and mix well, go into the bath immediately after doing this so to benefit from the vapors of the EO when getting in contact with the hot water. Because baths uses up so much water, I suggest recycling that water after, you can maybe use it to water plants and trees or in any other way that feels appropriate;
With aromatherapy diffusers. 4-6 drops in 80ml of water. Use whenever you want and wherever you are!
In your pillow at night. This is also very effective if you have problems with insomnia or recurrent nightmares. Lavender will also deepen your sleep adding quality to it and avoiding the sensation of tiredness by the time you get up. 1 drop on each corner of your pillow – right and left. If you wake up in the middle of the night and find it difficult to go back to sleep then apply the lavender drops to your pillow and do the “Body Scan” too.