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    I don’t need to tell anyone how difficult the past couple of months have been. Covid-19 has brought with it an overall shift in the worlds mental health state and rightfully so. With tragedy comes pain, with isolation comes depression and with uncertainty comes anxiety. Maybe you have a history with these feelings and emotions. Or maybe this is something new. Without doubt, in the current climate being associated with anyone of these would be considered quite normal.

    Personally, I have been dealing with all of these above stated side effects of the mind for many years. Depression, anxiety, pain. All three. For the longest time I was ashamed, no longer. If you, like me, find yourself having to deal with this, I want to help. I have some experience under my belt and would like to use this to help. Especially if this is something new for you. With that in mind the following are my top 6 ways to deal with depression and anxiety.

    ACCEPTANCE. It took me so long to become one with this idea. I am talking around 25 years. It was the most difficult part. But I could not start the healing process until I was ready to deal with the reality of the situation. Accepting that something is wrong for me was the very first step. There is nothing to be ashamed of and you must not see it as a weakness. The brain is like any other organ or muscle in the body. Sometimes it can be strained, other times it can be torn. That is all it is. Accept that something is not quite right and you can begin the journey to finding a solution to deal with it.

    SEEK HELP. Many people, like myself and through shame, find it difficult to take this step. I can understand why you wouldn’t. But let me assure you, it’s a must. I could have never taken the large steps the past 5 years dealing with both depression and anxiety without both the help of professionals therapists and the support of my family. Not a chance. You must reach out. Talk to your family and seek the help of a professional. Like any specialist of medicine, they understand what they are doing will assist in your recovery. Try the Richmond Foundation if you don’t know where to start. They are always willing to help.

    Professional help is key in helping you unravel the past, while laying new mental foundations for the future.

    MEDITATE. As I sit here writing this piece, I have my buds in my ear listening to “The Refreshing Spirit”. This is a meditation music that I use whilst working or writing. Seeing as I don’t have much time to dedicate to the proper form of meditation (I should really dedicate more), this is the least I do. I sometimes spend hours with it in the background. I can assure you it is an immense help. Even now, I am feeling so relaxed. If you are suffering, feeling down or anxious, meditation is a must. A great tool I use is an app called Calm. Click on the link to go to the website, it’s also available for download on android or apple.

    Meditate. Centre yourself. Calm your mind. Reap the rewards.

    EXERCISE. Coming from a rather large, lazy guy, you may find this a bit hypocritical of me. But exercise helps massively. Lately, since the semi lock down, I have been a bit more active on this. But my history is somewhat inconsistent. All I can tell you is this. When I exercise, I feel calmer, more balanced and healthier in mind. When I don’t, I feel like a pile of poo. Burn off some of that unwanted negative energy while burning off some calories. Yes, gyms are closed. So what. You can exercise in one square metre if you really want to. I am currently walk/running. Every two days, 4-6 kilometres. If you need a push, try Malta Together’s Fitness Class Schedule.

    Try daily exercise. Great way to release that negative energy that has built up!

    BREATHE. It may sound a bit silly, but taking the proper time to breathe is a huge help. Obviously we do this naturally as a bodily function. However in times of anxiety especially, breathing can become shallow, uncomfortable and unhealthy. A method I use is referred to as the 4-4-8 method. It’s very easy. Find a quiet place, breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds and release slowly from the mouth over 8 seconds. Repeat this 5-10 times and I promise you will already start to feel better.

    And finally, number 6, BE NICE TO YOURSELF. I have always had a habit, a feeling, that me being like this was my fault. I somehow deserved it. This could not have been further from the truth. In fact, in reality, having survived through some of the vulnerable and traumatic experiences of my past, was a huge achievement. One which deserved great credit. Of course, I never saw it that way. But through therapy I discovered it was actually the case. I am a good guy and I am loved. I deserved to be loved, especially by me. So please, take the time to be nice to yourself. I am almost certain you deserve it.

    So that’s it. My 6 ways to deal with depression and anxiety. To be clear, I am not a trained therapist. The above is based only on my own experiences and how these methods have helped me to deal with it. If you are new to this, give them a try and don’t stay silent. I can assure you no one will think less of you. If they do, they do not deserve to be a part of your beautiful life. Finally, if you are looking for a little inspiration, I suggest you follow someone who has been very helpful to me. Her name is Emma Hogg and I consider her a friend as well as a big part of my journey. She is very active on social media and offers up some pretty great, free pieces of advice. Follow her on Instagram, you won’t regret it.

    For any specific questions you may have regarding depression and anxiety, feel free to get in touch. You can do so in the comments box below this article, via Facebook private message or email [email protected]. I will always reply and will always try to help. I have many resources obtained through my own journey that I would be more than happy to share. Take care and stay safe.

    (it was a while back now, when I openly revealed to the world my struggles with mental health. It has a pivotal point in my life. Read all about by clicking right here)

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