Tuesday, April 7, 2015

How to Shift Out of an Anxious or Depressed Mood (Start by Breathing More!)

There’s a huge thunderstorm happening right now, right over my head. The sky is grey, and the rain is starting to form into hail. Every few minutes, lightning flashes. And it’s the perfect reminder I’ve been needing all week: I can’t control everything, and that’s OK.

Sometimes an intense experience of nature helps me see things for what they truly are. The rain is going to fall, and as they say – when it rains, it pours!

On some days, anxiety and depression show up. Those days aren’t easy, but they always illuminate something that I need to see. Often they are a reminder that I need to slow down and prioritize self-care. Today I’d like to share a list of things that help me when I’m having a hard day.

How to Shift Out of an Anxious or Depressed Mood

1. Take 5 deep breaths. Make these the deepest breaths you’ve taken all day. You can even practice simple breath retention to increase the relaxing effects on your body:

Breathe in to a count of 4.
Hold for a count of 4.
Breathe out for a count of 4.
Hold the breath out for a count of 4.

Photo via Pinterest.

2.  Write. What is bothering you? Write down what your number one concern is right now.

3.  Next, write down a list of 10 things you could do that you know would help you feel better. Trust yourself; you know what these are.

4. Also list 10 things that matter more than the thing you’re worrying about.

5.  If you’re still in the writing mood, you can also make a list of 10 things you’re grateful for.

Photo via Pinterest.

6.  Turn on the radio and dance around the living room. Seriously. Do it. Don’t just think about it – actually dance. If you’re in the car, turn up the radio and dance in your seat. Rock it! You will feel a shift as you shake off the physical energy you’re body has been holding.

7.       Eat nourishing food that will sustain you and provide lasting energy. Often when I’m stressed, my first instinct is to eat whatever is most convenient. I find I feel much better if I choose something with protein, and also drink an extra few glasses of water. Consider snacking on a handful of nuts, a chicken salad, a yogurt, or a green smoothie. And if you’re having anxiety, cut coffee (or at least cut down on your coffee).

Photo via Pinterest.

8.       Talk to a friend. Say what you’re feeling. Let yourself be supported and heard.

9.       Ask for a hug. Sometimes the best way for me to get out of my head and back into my body is with a good hug. Find comfort in knowing someone you love is holding you.

10.   Admit that you’re OK. It feels like everything is falling apart, but you are alright. If you do all the things on this list, you’ll be feeling much better right away. Trust that it’s going to get better. You can even say that out loud to yourself a few times, It’s going to get better.

Namaste, yogis. If anxiety or depression are at your doorstep, please remember that you are not alone! <3


  1. I love your step-by-step practice. Thank you so much for sharing this! *hugs*

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