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Natural Remedies for Anxiety Depression

Updated on May 19, 2014

Just Breathe

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Depression And Anxiety

If you are depressed, it means that you are in an abstract mental state. It's not necessarily that you are sad or unhappy, in fact, a depressed person can be physically happy. Granted, they usually are not but the point is, depression isn't really an emotion like most people think. If it was simply an emotional issue, then a depressed person could just *snap* themselves out of it, so to speak, and depression wouldn't be a big problem.

Instead, depression is a foggy sense of reality, where the individual feels lost and confused. It's different for everyone, but for me, I can only describe it as a state of irrational, unexplainable thoughts. It's very abstract, but it's almost like you know that everything and everyone around you makes perfect sense, yet at the same time everything seems a little distorted or not real.

Sometimes this distortion can turn into anxiety or a fear of being in this lost, abstract mental state.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a major psychological issue just like depression. This devastating disorder affects not only the mind but also the body. In many cases, one disorder will mirror the other. For instance, the anxiety disorder may cause someone to be depressed or the depression can create a fear so strong that it becomes an anxiety issue.

For people with anxiety, whether they are suffering from generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, or even social anxiety, it is important to understand that being in an anxious state puts a lot of stress on the body.

Anxiety affects the nervous system, the digestive system, and more importantly, the disorder dumps a lot of unnecessary chemicals throughout the body. So, if you are constantly suffering from anxiety (more specifically panic attacks), then you need to do something about it and you need to do it sooner rather than later. Meaning, you need to counter the side affects that both anxiety and depression puts on your body.

Breathing Exercises for Anxiety and Depression

All right, lets get to the crux of it. One great way to alleviate stress is to relax. You need to decompress your body and mind, and release all of that negative energy. The best way to start this process is through a series of breathing exercises.

Breathing is simple. First, find a place where you feel most comfortable. You can either sit in a nice comfy chair or you can lie down on a bed. Next, close your eyes and try to relax. Then, take a deep breath through the nose, hold it, and count to five. And finally, exhale and let all the hot air out.

Repeat this process a couple of times and then after about the third or fourth time, breathe in and start whispering to yourself the word: RELAX. Then continue the same process as above. Do this simple breathing exercise for about 5-10 minutes and I promise you that you'll physically feel a lot better.

After your breathing exercises, I would suggest trying out some deeper relaxation techniques.

Anxiety Relaxation Techniques

One very effective relaxation exercise is the tension-relaxation technique. It doesn't take too much of your time, it's rather simple, and it works.

Once you have completed the breathing exercises, stay in the same relaxed position and then concentrate on one particular muscle group. I usually start from the chest and then gradually work up to the face.

Okay, now pay attention to your chest and feel the rhythm as you breathe in and out. Next tighten your chest muscles by bringing them together, pressing your biceps on the sides of you chest. You should feel pressure and tension (hence the name of the technique) throughout your chest. Hold the pressure and make sure you take note of the tension and how it feels. After you hold the pressure for 5 to 10 seconds, let your body relax completely into the chair or bed. Notice the difference between the tension in your chest and your relaxed state. Being able to distinguish between the two states of tension and relaxation will help you later on in the future so that you can target specific muscles that are tense when you are stressed out, depressed or anxious.

Now focus on your stomach. Draw your stomach inward by taking a huge breath and then hold. Stay in that position for 5 to 10 seconds. Like the chest exercise, make sure you notice the difference in tension before and after the routine. Now, let your body relax and breathe naturally.

Next, focus on your neck. Create tension in your neck by bringing your shoulders up to your head. You should end up in a "shrug" position. There also should be pressure at the back of your neck. Hold this position for another 5 to 10 seconds and then release. Remember to make note of the difference between your relaxed state and the tension of your neck during the exercise.

All right, lets move on to the face. This next step might feel a little bit weird, but it'll be okay. =) First, open your mouth as wide as you can. Feel the tension at the bottom of the jaw and your upper lip. At the same time, raise your eyebrows up as high as you can. You should feel tension in your forehead. Hold both of these positions (mouth and eyebrows) for 5 to 10 seconds. And again, make sure to remember what the tension feels like. Now, release and relax for a moment.

Lastly, focus on your eyes. Close them tight enough to feel the tension within the eyes (but not too tight for it may cause a headache). Simultaneously, pucker your lips together just enough to feel tension. Hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds, noting how the tension feels, and then release.

That's the tension-relaxation technique in a nutshell. If you want to extend the exercise and work on other muscle groups such as the legs and feet, then by all means do it. On the flip side, you can also shorten this exercise to just the chest or face. In the end, it's all what you are comfortable with and works for you.

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    • gsidley profile image

      Dr. Gary L. Sidley 

      6 years ago from Lancashire, England

      The tension - relaxation technique can work really well. In the UK we refer to it as "deep muscle relaxation".

      Thanks for an interesting read.

    • drej2522 profile imageAUTHOR

      Chris 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      thanks for stopping by mismazda!

    • mismazda profile image

      mismazda 

      6 years ago from a southern georgia peach

      Great points and tips....some things that I should consider when trying to relax from tension.

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