3 Ways I Navigated My Anxiety And Depression
As someone who has struggled with anxiety and depression for almost 15 years, I’m all too familiar with the negative effects both can have over someone's life.
I was originally diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 14 years old. My mother wasn't a fan of pharmaceuticals, so I was never placed on any anti-anxiety or antidepressants as a child.
It wasn’t until my adult years that anxiety and depression once again showed up on my doorstep. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder a few years ago, and not long after, I suffered with an extreme bout of depression. This time, I didn’t take heed to my moms advice, instead opting to accept medication as treatment.
After battling with drug dependency, addiction and an overdose, I finally decided to find alternative ways of coping with my issues.
As a personal trainer, writer, and health advisor, I’m often asked how I'm able to manage my anxiety and depression—here’s how I did it!
1. I tried yoga.
I had wrestled with the idea of trying yoga for about a year before I actually decided to do it. I consulted with my best friend Google and discovered that yoga can help with anxiety, depression, migraines, self-esteem and stress. It also improves strength, range of motion, and posture. All of which I desperately needed.
My first yoga experience was via a YouTube video by Tara Stiles (one of my biggest yoga influences to date). I didn’t have a yoga mat so I followed her free-flowing style in my living room on the carpet. I was surprised how amazing I felt after a 7-minute video. From that point on, I was hooked! For the next six months I was practicing along with Tara’s videos about three to four times per week.
Now, not only do I practice two times per week at Charm City Yoga in my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland, but I also practice privately.
Yoga is a lifestyle for me, not an exercise, and I’m proud to have adopted it into my life. It has positively affected every area of my life and I look forward to leading others into a lifestyle filled with the abundance of benefits that yoga offers.
2. I started a meditation practice.
I believe that meditation is one of the most important yet overlooked practices of modern civilization. Meditation allows you to find a place of relaxation and solitude within reality. It taught me to redirect my attention to my intentions.
I first encountered meditation in my yoga practice. Savasana, or corpse pose, is said to be the most difficult pose in yoga, but is also considered a form of meditation. Two of the most important components of this pose are stillness and breathing. The ability to redirect your attention away from your thoughts and allow yourself to be submerged in the idea of just being present has been proven to help lower blood pressure, decrease stress, anxiety and depression.
3. I cleaned up my diet.
My daily diet consists primarily of organic fruits and vegetables. I’m a huge advocate of “superfoods” like omega-3-rich chia seeds and flaxseed, which may help with depression.
I also drink at least two green juices per day with ingredients like kale, spinach, carrots, lemons, oranges, and beets. Often, I incorporate them as well as parsley, cilantro, ginger and turmeric into my juices for added health benefits.
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