Anxiety and Depression Support
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I have

This post mite it a little long sorry in advance. Lately, I've been having a very hard time with my anxiety but I don't want to be stuck so I'm asking for advice. First question I know working out is very good for anxiety and I did a good job of working out in the summer but when school started up again I didn't stay on it very well does anybody have any tips on how to stay on it also it is there different workouts that common anxiety better? second is having a meal plan if you have the answer please tell me again during the summer I was very good at eating healthy and then school came back up and then I started eating like trash again. Question three how do I get out of my head like if I'm overthinking something how do I stop that personally have tried breathing exercises but that doesn't help. Next I use app called calm for meditation except I'm not the best at keeping up on it do you have any tips on either wind to do it or how it keep track of it? If you could answer any of these questions that would be great thanks if you do.

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Hey Sly,

Good that you continue to reach out!! You ask some good questions, and clearly you are doing your research well!

Working out: The best kind of exercise is aerobic exercise where you are getting your heart going and breathing a lot. So, going for a run, a bike ride, even a "brisk walk" will help. If it's cold where you are, and doing stuff outside is not so great right now (this is why a lot of people fall off their exercise routine in the winter) then see if you can find an indoor track (like at school) that you can use. Ask the PE person if you can come in after school and just run for half an hour.

Do it regularly. At least every other day... if you can, every day!

Eating Habits: Easy for all of us to fall into "easy" eating habits. Heck as Americans, we are some of the people in the world who fall into that habit easiest. We have so much "junk" easily at hand. I have been working on this myself. Here are some ideas that could help...

1. Resist the temptation to eat bad stuff. You can do this, in part by using a kind of technique to remind yourself. I'll describe it briefly here, and also give you a link where someone else describes it. Basically, put a loose fitting rubber band on your wrist. Something you won't notice normally. When you catch yourself being hungry, and tempted to eat "trash" food, you snap the rubber band to remind you that you have chosen to eat healthier. For this to work, you also have to know what would be better. So, you must prepare a little.

selfgrowth.com/articles/The...

2. You can prepare by having food that is healthy easily accessible. "Healthy" can be defined many ways. But mostly, try to avoid a lot of sugar and carbs... this can mess with your blood sugar and how you feel, which can trigger stuff. Veggies, fish, chicken, and stuff more on the "fresh" side of things. A good spinach salad with tomatoes, avocado, and other things you like is an example of "good food". Also, if you have "chips", ice cream and other junk food around... GET RID OF IT... just toss it in the trash if you can. Eliminate the option. This can be hard when you live with people, so if you can't, then see #1.. and remind yourself you agreed to eat well for your well being.

Do your best to avoid "fast food" as it's the worst. McD's, etc... just avoid it... if it means making sandwiches for yourself, or something... do the work to do that... for your own health and for your happiness!!

Breaking the "Overthinking" Cycle: This one is again a technique that may help you not spin out of control. It's not a substitute for working on the root cause, but it can help you cope!

This technique revolves around "self-acceptance". Many times, we get into an "anxiety cycle" because we do two things... 1. feel like "this should not be" or "I should not feel this way", and 2. really focusing on this message, and thinking about ways to make it stop.

I've done this many times, and have gotten really worked up! I know the cycle well. In fact, often people who are pretty smart do this more because they are deep "thinkers".

The way this works is like this... it'll be "longish" so bear with me here...

In order to break the cycle, fundamentally, you have to ACCEPT the feelings you are having. What that means is don't "fight it", or "try to change it". Accept that you are feeling "Sad" "Anxious" "Afraid" "Angry", etc... This is happening to you now. And it's OK. You do feel this way, and it's OK for you to feel this way. (even if you do not *want* to).

It's fundamentally about accepting how we are feeling and not trying to "change" it. It's also about showing ourself acceptance and self-love.

So, if you are feeling bad, sad, angry, upset, etc... about something that happened. FEEL IT. Don't try to change that you are feeling it. Don't believe or try to talk yourself into thinking you "shouldn't feel this way". Don't try to "think positive"... allow yourself to fully experience the feeling. If you feel like crying, then pack your face in a pillow or a kleenex and cry your eyes out and moan out your pain. Let yourself feel and experience the emotions. The more you try to stop it, the more you are denying yourself.

The reality is that you ARE feeling this way. And it's OK that you are feeling this way, because it is your reality right now. Accept it. Fully. Just accept whatever the feeling is. Don't try to change it, don't think like you should feel "better" or "different" or that it's "unreasonable" for you to feel this way.

If you can accept... really accept... how you are feeling at the moment, and not fight it or try to change it, you may find it immediately takes the power out of these episodes and helps you avert your anxiety cycle.

After you calm down, do something that you feel like you CAN do comfortably... whether it's homework, going for a run, eating, some recreation. Give yourself a "break" and be nice to yourself. It can be something really simple. This is more self-love. You are being compassionate with yourself.

I realize this may sounds absolutely crazy, and you may have to practice it a bit... but if you can master just this, it'll knock out half your panic attacks before they start.

Staying On Track: The best way to accomplish this whether it be related to eating or exercise is to become a "robot". By this I mean, schedule things for yourself, and then exercise the self discipline to stick to it. There are a million calendar apps you can use on your phone. Doesn't matter what it is... pick something that you already use, or something you dedicate to this process. Schedule exercise. Schedule eating. Schedule homework. Schedule recreation (Important!!). Create a structure for yourself you will stick to. Having predictability can be super helpful. Having an external structure means you don't have to try to keep track of it all in your head, and you don't worry about it.

How to implement all of this:

Maybe the most important advice for the end...

Do it a LITTLE AT A TIME. Pick one thing from here, and implement it. Make it a habit. Get comfortable with it. Then add another thing. Don't just wake up and try to do it all at once. Many people have great ideas about a long list of new-year resolutions. But most stop them all after a couple weeks or a month because they are changing too many things, and it's hard... so they end up doing none of them.

You have a good list above now, based on your questions. Look it over. See if anything stands out. Read the replies of other people too. Pick something you think you can do, or that addresses the thing you feel most strongly about working on. Start with that. Once you feel like you have mastered one thing, add a second thing. All of this stuff is gradual. Our minds change slowly and with repetition. Instant change meets resistance, like cornstarch and water. run your finger through it slowly, and it's easy. Go fast, and it becomes solid and stops you. Our minds work the same way...

Hope this helps you a bit, and provides some answers to your questions. Always come back and reach out and ask more questions of any of us here. You are also doing a great thing when you respond to others!! Helping people is a great way to help ourselves as well. That's why this place works so well!

:-)

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Oh, Sly, there two more things that probably are worth considering.

First: Trying to work on this stuff all alone is SUPER HARD! I have tried both. 100% of the time, I make more progress when I am getting help from someone else. There are a few reasons for this...

1. Someone like a therapist can really help you understand a "root cause" and help you work on a more durable set of solutions. It is not an "instant" thing, but it can help a lot. A therapist also understands the anxiety cycle well.

2. Sharing these experiences, even if you are feeling ashamed of them, can be incredibly helpful. This kinda goes along with the "acceptance" exercise I mentioned in my other reply. By honestly sharing this stuff with someone (like you are doing here) you are released from "holding it inside" and also can be released from feeling shame or guilt about it because that other person can accept this about you. Then you can talk about it together and get someone else's ideas, opinion, and support. F2F.

3. We are all wired to be connected to others. We are wired to "need" other people. Trying to do it "all alone" is "un-human". It's not how our minds work and not how our minds work out problems. Having another person (or a couple other people) "in this" with you can help a lot!

Consider finding a school therapist or mental health counselor or someone else you really trust that you can talk to about this. If that is not available, then there are also potentially community resources. Look into it! The key here is that this person will not judge you or your feelings, but help you express them and explore them as your "partner".

Second: Perfectionism can be a fuel for anxiety. I know this first-hand. I have perfectionistic tendencies. And my perfectionism has many times fed into anxiety for me. It leads to thoughts in me like:

=> "I wonder if what I'm doing is good enough?", or

=> "They probably are going to think I'm weird/ugly/not good at whatever...", or

=> "Choking on Tests..." for me, time pressure or,

=> "I am not 'good enough' at (fill in the blank), (person X) is much better than I am".

All of these are examples of "perfectionism". All of these can lead (me at least) to feeling anxious. When I start a cycle from some of these... it stops me in my tracks, and stuff I would otherwise be OK with I become incapable of. All of a sudden I get sweaty and my thoughts get all swirly. Can't think.

So, what to do? Back to the acceptance thing I mentioned in my last post... It's about understanding that no human is perfect. We all are generally doing the best we can, but we make mistakes and are not capable of being "the best" at everything.

Embrace the stuff you are good at like your acting and Improv stuff. This is a great talent! I've tried doing improv and I just choke, but if you are good at it and also enjoy it, you can remind yourself that you are really good a that when you are feeling less than "perfect" about something else. :-)

Try it! Self-acceptance, while it sounds like a simple idea, is actually a powerful concept. Takes some practice to master it, but can really help keep your thoughts from boiling... then if you combine this with finding someone you trust to talk this stuff over with, then these are maybe the two things that will help you most!

Please give any of this stuff a test run and see how it works out for you. Let us know!

:-)

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My answers are more general but may help. I often do tea which for some reason the heat calms me. I do a lot of smoothies to make sure I am getting vitamins and minerals I might be lacking in. Exercise I do on my daily routines sweeping the floors, mopping, cleaning, in general, helps me get moderate exercise gets the house clean and for me relieves stress. I do a lot of relaxation music while taking a hot bath, I listen to my favorite music while cleaning and driving anywhere upbeat and fun music. I often talk to myself which might sound odd but it helps me to get what I am thinking out of my head. I often count numbers out of order that seems to get my mind off whatever is making me anxious at the time. Now, mind you as we all know sometimes these things work and sometimes they don't. I hope some of this helped.

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