Do you feel anxious or depressed?

Many people are dealing with anxiety or depression, and have been for many years. It can be extremely helpful to explore what is underneath these powerful emotions in order to move forward.

People suffering from depression are often dealing with issues from the past, while people overwhelmed with anxiety are worried about the future. Anxiety is defined as having a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Depression typically involves feelings of hopelessness or inadequacy.

Everyone at some point has felt anxious or depressed. Is it something you feel from time-to-time, or fairly often? If it’s often, it’s important to take time to look at what it might mean for you. There may be something to deal with and work through so that you can find more freedom, peace and joy. It doesn’t have to be something you have forever.

Below are five steps to begin making changes.

1. Don’t run the other way. Many people ignore their feelings because it wasn’t okay to express emotions as children. Now, they are afraid to feel their feelings in fear they will become stuck in them. If we don’t feel our feelings, we can’t move past them. We will stay stuck.

2. Face your fears. Often, there is something underneath fear that began earlier in our lives. Write down your fears. Are you willing to face them in order to get to the other side? When we face our fears, we are able to see things differently.

3. Examine the negative statements. Identify and understand the negative statements you have made about yourself. Is it about being bad, not good enough, inadequate, ugly, unworthy, the list goes on? These statements need to be explored in order to create change. Our thoughts control our feelings, and then how we act. It’s important to work on understanding why we feel a certain way. Then we can make changes.

4. Develop healthy coping strategies. How do you deal with your feelings now? While growing up, it might have been the easiest way to deal with the feelings in order to survive. However, how does it work in your life today? Do you ‘stuff’ or numb your feelings by using the Internet, shopping, drinking, smoking, etc.? Let them out by writing down your feelings, and dig deeper.

5. Don’t give up. You are worth it! You deserve to be happy and to feel good about yourself! If we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard to fully love others.