I have been having severe anxiety and depression for almost a decade, I just came to know about its severity in the recent past. My anxiety was so extreme that I couldn’t sleep for months. It has affected my relationships, work and almost everything in general. I tried going to therapy in the past few years, but every time it was a failure as they weren’t able to recognize my patterns. Medication also didn’t work much as it started affecting my health (I would never recommend medication as the first solution to mental illness).
Waking up sweating and with a racing heart become a norm for me. It would result in panic attacks. I lived with this pattern with for years. Since people aren’t much aware of mental illness, I couldn’t even discuss it with my family members or any friend due to social stigma attached to it. It came to a point where I stopped sleeping. And then the lock-down happened which devastated my relationship that affected me badly. I couldn’t get up from my bed for a week and couldn’t even finish my breakfast, which was just a glass of milk.
Yoga worked for me
I had to do something about it or else I would have gone crazy. In May 2021, I was diagnosed with critical loneliness and peak anxiety and depression. Then, two of my friends forced me to attend some physical exercise and see a therapist. And then, I found yoga classes, right in my colony. And since then, there is no looking back.
Being a complete novice in Yoga, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning and wanted to attend classes simply to distract myself from the constant chaos going on in my head. From the first session itself, I started liking the classes and one evening when the Buddha Purnima sound meditation was held, I felt at absolute peace. Something I wanted to have for years, but couldn’t achieve it.
Yoga has helped in changing my sleeping patterns as now I attend early morning classes. Sleeping early at night and waking up early has also changed my eating pattern and I have started gaining weight slowly. There is much more self-control over my emotions as compared to before, which has resulted in boosting my self-confidence as well.
Depression and anxiety needs to be tackled through professional help and regular exercise in any form. Yoga is the best form here that doesn’t overstretch the body and gives an all-round benefit. However, along with the regular yoga practice, following measures helped me recover fast. Anxiety needs to be tackled at the root by making proper lifestyle choices which will aid transforming your life.
Declutter your inbox regularly
We have a tendency to get stuck in old conversations – bitter or sweet – and that way we go into our past, thus not focusing on what we have now. While sweet messages might rekindle nostalgia, bitter conversations affect our mental health. Deleting these messages (from Facebook/whats-app/hangout/emails) distracts our mind to think about something else. Out of sight, out of mind.
Think about company of animals
Animals give us unbiased and unconditional love. The company of animals and interaction with them helps releasing happy hormones that comforts and calms us down. We can express ourselves freely without the fear of any conflicting views or rejections. Changing the entire social media feed to animal videos makes us think about them most of the time, thus reducing our expectations from humans, in general. Dogs, cats, monkeys, chimpanzees, elephants etc. help a lot in relaxing our mind. Please remember that it should be done in initial phase. Later, we should start socializing with human beings too :):) Ultimately, we humans are social animal.
Appearance means everything and the way we dress and carry ourselves defines our personality. The choice of clothes, the fabric, the colors, the shoes and even hair-gel or the type of deodorant matters the most. When we dress confidently, our mind pushes the negativity out and boosts up morale high. Be it a man or a woman, dressing sense is crucial in relieving mental health. From the choice of shoes to even the minutest of accessories – all matters a lot.
One need not only sweat for hours in a gym to loosen up the tense muscles. Yoga, meditation and a regular exercise for an hour works out well as it calms both body muscles and mind peacefully. The early morning Yoga sessions works best as mornings are more peaceful than any other time in the big cities like Mumbai. Starting the day with a quiet hour relaxes our body and charges it for the day.
One common mistake people tend to make while in depression or any mental illness is to take help of alcohol or any of those intoxicating drinks. It might distract us for a while, but in the long term it won’t help at all as it’s not the cure of the problem. Water is an essential and most convenient antidepressant that eases our brain cells and recharges us from within in a healthy way. Also, water is the best way to calm ourselves down when in extreme panic mode or anxiety attack.
Channelizing our thoughts in the form of a diary – physical or digital – helps in flush out negativity in a healthy way. Writing, sketching, painting, any activity that involves our fingers help in venting out our emotions in the best and healthiest way.
There are several more methods to fight mental illness along with the prescribed medication and therapy. But this is what I followed for the past eight months and hence, could control my endless chatter of thoughts to a great extent.
You can learn about root causes of stress through Yogasutras and also how to manage it. https://www.superyogis.in/decoding-stress-sufferings-in-yoga-way/
- Sagar Srivastava is Mumbai based film professional, working at Roy Kapur Films as a researcher-writer. He owns a company that undertakes international shoots for the last seven years.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Superyogis.