These Little Lies are Keeping You Anxious and Depressed
Too many people give themselves excuses to stay sick, unhappy, and anxious. You may be one of them. You may say you want to make the changes necessary to boost your brain health and overcome depression or anxiety, but you don’t do it. It’s these excuses—or “little lies”—you tell yourself that keep you feeling bad and prevent you from doing what you need to do to gain control of your life and start feeling better.
Here are the most common little lies psychiatrists hear from their patients that devastate their physical and mental health. Be honest with yourself and take note if you’re lying to yourself about your willingness to change to improve your brain health and mental health.
Little Lie #1: This will be hard.
Truth: Focusing on getting well is dramatically easier than being sick or losing your mind. The brain hates change. It likes to do what it has done. The exciting news is that you can change unwanted behaviors. Initially, change is hard, but with the right attitude and strategies, it can be very rewarding.
Practicing good behaviors, such as getting 7-8 hours of sleep, exercising, and saying no to constantly checking your social media feed (which has been shown to increase depression and loneliness) strengthens the willpower circuits in the brain. Alternatively, giving in to destructive behaviors, such as emotional explosions, mindlessly eating cookies at work, believing every stupid thought that pops into your head, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol strengthens those particular circuits. Whatever behaviors you engage in are the ones you are likely to continue doing.
Little Lie #2: I don’t want to deprive myself.
Truth: So many people with anxiety or depression use food, alcohol, cigarettes, or marijuana as a way to self-medicate their feelings, and they don’t want to deprive themselves of these short-term mood enhancers. But these substances actually make symptoms worse in the long run, and they lead to other issues, such as weight gain and addiction, that can exacerbate problems in every area of your life.
When you make poor health decisions you are depriving yourself of what you really want—lasting energy, happiness, a sense of calm, and good health. Getting well is about abundance, never deprivation. Eating a brain-healthy diet and avoiding harmful substances will help to deprive you of mood swings, panic attacks, depression, and even dementia.
When your mindset is one of deprivation and your focus is on what you cannot have, you’re more likely to remain mired in anxiety and depression. To feel better fast and make it last for a lifetime it’s critical to develop an abundance mindset, where you focus on the high-quality foods and good habits that will build and sustain your mental health. If you’re able to change your attitude about this, everything else will be easier.
Little Lie #3: It is too expensive.
Truth: Buying high-quality foods that fuel the brain and stabilize blood sugar, paying for exercise classes that boost blood flow to the brain, and seeking treatment for your mental health issues may seem pricey. But being sick is much more expensive than thoughtfully spending your resources to get and stay well.
With a better functioning brain, you will have more money, because the quality of your decisions will be better, which means you’ll perform better at work, at school, and in your relationships.
Little Lie #4: I don’t have time.
Truth: You may think that finding time to exercise, prepare healthy meals, and practice stress-management strategies like meditation is impossible. Sure, grabbing a doughnut or ordering takeout burritos or deep-fried wings provides a speedy meal, but it’s just as fast to grab an apple or orange or to order takeout salad bowls—and they will help you feel better and stay healthier.
It takes some planning to eat food that is good for you, but healthy meal kits or spending just one afternoon a week making big batches of food you can eat throughout the week can make daily meals a breeze. And you can find ways to sneak exercise into your day by taking your dog for a hike or walking to the grocery store. And you may want to trade just 15 minutes of TV time for a soothing meditation session.
Plus, spending time and energy to optimize your brain will help you live longer and be cognitively sharper, giving you much more time overall.
Little Lie #5: Everything in moderation. Just a little can’t hurt.
Truth: This is the gateway thought of continuing anxiety and depression. It is generally an excuse to justify doing the wrong thing for your physical and mental health. “Just a little can’t hurt” leads to just one cigarette that lowers blood flow to the brain, just one piece of cake that sets you up for mood swings, and just one drink that worsens anxiety and depression.
Stop lying to yourself. You deserve the truth.
If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression and are having trouble changing your habits, Amen Clinics can help. We use brain SPECT imaging as part of a comprehensive evaluation to see if there are any other signs of brain dysfunction that might be holding you back from being able to follow through on your goals. The Amen Clinics Method takes an integrative approach to diagnosis and treatment includes looking at the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of your life to identify areas that can be optimized so you can start feeling better fast.
Take the first important step to a better life and call 888-288-9834 to talk to a specialist today or schedule a visit.