9 Strategies to Soothe Common Mental Health Symptoms

Mental Health Symptoms

Have you ever wondered what it might be like to feel different inside your head? For example, imagine that:

  • You don’t worry so much or get stuck on negative or fearful thoughts
  • You wake up each morning feeling motivated, rather than sad
  • You’re able to stay on task and get things accomplished

If any of these apply to you, think about how your life might be if you could change the emotions and behaviors that cause such challenges for you.

YOU’RE NOT STUCK WITH MENTAL HEALTH SYMPTOMS

Many people who have symptoms like those above accept them as part of their life, resigning themselves to feeling nervous, blue, or scattered, thinking, “well that’s just how I am.” Or maybe they believe it’s too late for them to be happier, more focused, or less stressed.

Anyone who silently struggles in this way may not understand that conditions like anxiety, depression, and ADD/ADHD are not personal shortcomings, but rather a reflection of a person’s brain health. Therefore, when the underlying cause of someone’s symptoms can be identified and correctly diagnosed, effective treatment strategies can be created that lead to improvement or even elimination of symptoms.

Conditions like anxiety, depression, and ADD/ADHD are not personal shortcomings, but rather a reflection of a person’s brain health. Click To Tweet

Let’s take a look at some examples.

3 STRATEGIES TO OVERCOME DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS

Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions. Feeling sad, empty, fatigued, pessimistic, and hopeless can make some days seem completely overwhelming. And, if you’ve felt this way for a long time, it’s easy to think this is how you’ll always feel. But the truth is, it’s possible for you to feel better.

Depressive symptoms can be caused by many different things, including traumatic experiences, hormonal imbalances, and even an unhealthy diet. So, by identifying the factors that led to the emergence of symptoms, specific strategies can help you heal and feel more vibrant again. Although an actual treatment plan for each person would be unique, some things that might be included in it are:

1. Try EMDR.

If a history of trauma is the underlying cause, psychotherapy with EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) can be very effective for healing and releasing the negative hold of past experiences.

2. Balance your hormones.

Hormone therapy (for men and women), when appropriate, can restore balance and relieve irritability and sadness.

3. Eat good mood foods.

If you’ve been eating a diet that includes lots of sugar and/or high-fat and processed foods, switching to one with fresh produce, healthy fats (i.e. avocados), and clean protein can increase energy, lift mood, and boost motivation. Alcohol is a depressant, so avoiding it is helpful too.

3 WAYS TO CALM ANXIETY SYMPTOMS

If you tend to catastrophize situations—always imagining the worst outcome, feel nervous all the time, worry incessantly, and have physical symptoms like chronic muscle tension or trembling hands, you may be dealing with anxiety. If this sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone—each year, about 40 million people in the U.S. have this condition too.

Fortunately, even if you’ve had anxiety symptoms for a long time, there are some simple therapies to reduce them, so they don’t continue interfering with your ability to relax and enjoy life. Here are 3 things you can do:

1. Breathe deeply.

If you feel like you’re always stressed out, incorporating a practice of diaphragmatic breathing can be really helpful for calming your mind. Here’s how to do it:

Breathing with your diaphragm (belly), rather than your chest, repeat this pattern 10 times—it only takes a few minutes.

  • Inhale for a count of 3 to 4
  • Exhale for a count of 6 to 8

You can even do this breathing exercise at work—no one will know—and it’s an easy way to manage anxiety on the fly.

2. Manage your mind.

Learning to pay attention and reality-test the fearful or automatic negative thoughts (ANTs) that plague your mind can help your thinking become more accurate, instead of being full of worries and doubt. Each time you catch yourself having an ANT, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it true?
  • Is it 100% true?
  • How does this thought make you feel?
  • How would you feel if you didn’t have this thought?

Next, flip the ANT to its opposite and see if that thought isn’t actually truer than the ANT is.

3. Consider nutraceuticals.

Natural supplements such as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), magnesium, and L-theanine, as well as the scent of lavender can promote a sense of calmness and help you relax.

Incorporating multiple strategies can have a compounding beneficial effect on reducing anxiety symptoms.

3 TIPS TO MANAGE ADD/ADHD SYMPTOMS

Having lots of unfinished projects and a short attention span, being disorganized, distracted, and impulsive, along with a tendency to procrastinate are core symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), which is more commonly called attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This condition typically begins in childhood due to lower levels of dopamine in the brain and can cause behavioral issues as well as academic problems. Unfortunately, it often goes undiagnosed and untreated; thus, the challenges of it can carry over into adulthood. Head injuries and other insults to the brain can also lead to symptoms of ADD/ADHD.

Like other mental health conditions, ADD/ADHD is not a simple or singular disorder. The brain SPECT imaging work at Amen Clinics has helped identify 7 types of ADD/ADHD. Each of these requires a different treatment program, so knowing your ADD/ADHD type is critical. However, there are some simple strategies that can help anyone who struggles with this condition, including these:

1. Set goals.

On a sheet of paper, write down your important goals and put them in a place you can see and read every day. This helps you make better decisions about what you do—or don’t do—to keep your goals in mind and on track.

2. Move more.

Exercise regularly to discharge any feelings of restlessness and promote the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine because it helps to activate the front part of the brain, an area that is critical for focus, judgment, and impulse control.

3. Use digital reminders.

Be vigilant about using the calendar on your phone or wall to keep track of appointments, deadlines, and other important responsibilities. Commit to looking at it every night and each morning so you don’t forget what you need to do.

These treatment strategies are just a handful of the many ways you can help your brain become healthier and more balanced—regardless of your age or how many years you have been struggling with mental health symptoms. Through a process called neuroplasticity, the repetition of new behaviors can help rewire your brain to change the way you think and feel. It does take time—doing something once won’t do the trick—but with a commitment to yourself to work on improving symptoms, it is well worth the effort you put in.

Depression, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD can’t wait. At Amen Clinics, we’re here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, clinical evaluations, and therapy for adults, teens, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.

1 Comment »

  1. My psych nurse practitioner is ignoring my adhd. I’ve asked about medicine both kinds stimulates and non stimulant. I’ve asked about acupuncture and ect. I’ve asked about adhd coaching. She won’t even look at my old psychiatrist medical records. I’m not covered to see you and I’m doing aweful. Help?

    Comment by Millisa Crawford — October 21, 2022 @ 9:55 AM

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