You know what's funny? I wrote this article thinking it was really just for healing anxiety and depression. Then, as I was editing, I realized that the tips below would probably help heal almost anything. It seems I write "zoomed-out" enough that my "tips" are more like Directions On The Path.
First, about me: I have suffered from anxiety since I was a child, plus cyclical depression. And over 20 years I tried many things to heal that, read an endless slew of books, went to workshops and seminars and retreats... and eventually, I found some things that helped me. But mostly I also gained a lot of understanding about why anxiety and depression even happens to us, and helping people heal became my passion.
I also went to school and studied Solution Focused Counselling, NLP, Integrative Nutrition, the Bach Flower Remedies, Homeopathy, and deeply studied the teachings of Eckhart Tolle, Buddha Maitryeya... plus I accomplished over 20 years of daily meditation practice, some days even 1.5 hours a day.
So without further ado, here are my top "tips" for someone who suffers from anxiety or depression (please note that while I call them 'tips', there is a lot here. Doing them all could easily take you a few years):
1. Look Past Your Label. A label doesn't equate to a solution, because it doesn't tell you what is actually going on under the surface. Let's say you've "got generalized anxiety disorder". Well that could be because of early life trauma. Or it could be because of a B12 deficiency. Or a sensitivity to gluten. Or heavy metal toxicity from mercury fillings. Or a parasite infection. Or... you get the idea. Don't be too distracted by the label because it really doesn't tell you much. You want to know what's going on under the hood, the actual, specific causes, and that will point you to the solutions.
2. Try Things with an Open Mind and Notice What Results. If you're really suffering, you can't wait for a study to tell you what to do. And you might not have the funds to afford to get fancy blood testing done (to find our your hormone levels for ex).
And the good news is, those things aren't necessary. We've all got eyes, and ears. You can learn not just from your own experience - experiments but from others' as well. Don't assume you'll get the same results necessarily because you're different from them - but you can try what worked for them and pay attention to the results you get. The key here is you really do need to notice and track your experiment. I recommend keeping a self-healing journal in some form. I'm sure you can work out the details - essentially you commit to something you will specifically do, you follow through, and then you notice what results and write it down. Reflect then move to your next experiment. You can learn a lot about yourself this way. You are both the lab and the researcher.
3. Nutrition really is very powerful. After 15 years of studying nutrition I observe that many people don't eat as healthy as they think they do. We really need to study nutrition for a while. Like really give it some time and focus. Reading one book and then going vegan won't cut it. You'll just think you know it all, but really you have just gotten started. There's a saying, "A little knowledge is nothing".
Many others haven't yet connected their symptoms to the foods they eat. They need to make diet changes consistently enough to see how much better they can feel.
In my article Three Levels of Nutrition, I show clearly that most people are at Level One Nutrition or partly into Level Two. But many people won't heal until they get fully into Level 2, or even into Level 3, which means seeing a professional. That's a short article so if you want more explanation, please read it.
4. Use Energy Medicines. If you don't then you're missing out. Energy Medicines are things that work with light. Like an essence or something that holds or radiates a given frequency or balancing harmonic. Energy Medicines go deeper than the physical body, affecting your emotional field and your mental field, which is often where illness originates - energetic imbalances.
To get started using energy medicines, I recommend my two articles: Intro to Bach Flower Remedies, and Intro to Homeopathy. Bach flower remedies have helped me so much over the years - they are subtle but powerful. They raise up our emotions, and that can change everything. I have also helped many others with them: to end indecision, to sleep properly again, to end depression and more. And homeopathy is the thing that most reduced my anxiety. One remedy and two weeks later my anxiety had greatly reduced and that change has persisted - homeopathy is amazing. That homeopathy article also has a link to a free homeopathy short course that is excellent. It opened my mind to a whole other way of looking at healing that I find makes a lot of sense.
5. CBD is an amazing health discovery. CBD is a cannabinoid from hemp, and it has helped many people reduce or even end anxiety, reduce inflammation, and sleep better. It is extremely good for you, with at least 8 major health benefits, including neuro-protection and cancer prevention. What else can do all that? To learn more about it I recommend my Free CBD Short Course, which is a nice, short overview of CBD, how it works and what it does, plus links to more scholarly studies (if you want that!), and there's even a video by a doctor and expert researcher. For anxiety, CBD is the first thing I recommend trying. But be sure to get a quality brand, as there have been many scams.
These things above can make the biggest difference!
6. Become a Self-Healer. I have realized that healing is largely up to me through my daily re-occurring choices. And these choices build on each other. So if I give the responsibility for my healing to someone else, I'm just fooling myself. Don't fool yourself. Doctors are usually caring, dedicated people, and they can be very helpful, but for the most part western medicine today is about managing symptoms, not creating health. Instead, be a Self-Healer, and learn to heal yourself with each choice you make.
7. Kick any addictions. We're kind of an addicted culture, so don't take it too personally if you notice that you have a few of them. Watch for things like over-eating, over-thinking, worrying, self-pity, sugar or even porn use. None of these will ruin your life if they are occasional - but do several of them in a day and you have a recipe for a weakened system, and emotional instability.
8. Cultivate Needed Qualities, like gratitude, faith, or optimism. You could call these "mental skills". New habits of mind and attention practiced over time will eventually become your new character and quality. Pro tips: tune into inspiring leaders often who have those qualities. And practice being grateful not just for what comes to you, but also for the good you bring to others.
9.1 Meditate. Check out my article Learn to Meditate in 5 Minutes. Meditation in my mind, is absolutely essential, for sooo many reasons. If you do it, you'll notice that you have more clarity about your life and changes you need to make.
9.2 Let Your Relationships Change. You may need to take space from someone, or allow yourself to be with someone you really love.
10. You may need to give yourself some things, like better lighting in your home, letting go of a career that stresses you out, or allowing yourself to do something that you love - having faith that you can do it.
11. Your intuition is your greatest healing ally. The more you take a chance on it, the more you'll see this. Learn to notice how a choice feels. you have a really good gut feeling about something, go for it. And when you have a bad feeling about something, pause. My article on intuition has more on this important skill: How To Be More Intuitive.
12. Don't assume that your solution is counselling. Counselling didn't do much for me, and I saw several counsellors, I think if you have severe anxiety then you very likely have something biological, chemical, or energetic going on. But if your intuition is to go to counselling, then go. I recommend CBT or maybe ACT or Somatic Therapies.
13. There is no therapy and no supplement that can replace learning life's lessons. Some of those lessons are: to trust your intuition, to track your money and plan financially, to speak up for yourself when it matters, and to value peace and health more than money.
14. For many people, healing will come more fully with more income. Focusing on developing a skill or building a home-based business may be key to your healing.
15. Read stories of people who reversed their anxiety or depression. You'll see, very clearly, that there is a wide variety of pathways to wellness. Everyone's solution is different, but it usually involves, in some way, changes to nutrition, lifestyle, or using energy medicines.
16. Avoid fanaticism, which is thinking, "I found it! I found the one thing that will fix everything!!" There is rarely just one solution that will fix everything. Especially if you have suffered for a while. The longer you have been unwell, the longer it will usually take to get fully well.
17. Recognize that self-healing is the most important thing you can do, and that on the other side there isn't just calm, there's Confidence, Vitality, Calm, Clarity of Mind, Increased Effectiveness in the World, and even the possibility of Wisdom and Peace.
Anxiety prevents all of those. First anxiety must go, so this is very important work.
And the cool thing is: the above things are all connected. So when you do one of them, it will make the others easier. If you eat healthier, you'll find it easier to meditate. If you sit and meditate, you'll find your intuition comes more clearly to you. And if you use energy medicines, you can find a lot of things lightening up.
So whichever thing you're attracted to doing next - go for it. It will likely ripple in ways that you didn't expect.
Brainwave Optimization: Next Level Brain Healing
Keys to Healing Anxiety and Depression
Anxiety and Depression: What I've Found That Helps Me
Sugar is Public Enemy #1
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