Anxiety & Depression: Techniques for short term relief and long term support

Updated: Jul 12, 2018

Millions of people will experience some kind of anxiety or depression in their life time. We can all have moments where we feel a little “flat” or “low” and that is very different to having depression.

Sometimes the hardest thing in the day is simply getting out of bed. In counselling we will recognise that as a huge achievement and not to underestimate how hard it was and how much it took to get out of bed and THEN make your way to your counselling session. On those days, that is simply enough.

“Living with a black dog” and “I had a black dog” are two beautifully illustrated books written and illustrated by Matthew Johnstone and both available through Amazon. They illustrate, through words and drawings, an insight into depression and the darkness that comes with it.

Long Term Support:

The hardest thing is to ask for help and support when you are in a very dark place. That support is available either through counselling or by visiting your GP. There are lots of different types of anti-depressants available and many have few side effects and are able to start on very small doses and increase gradually should you require them.

Short Term Relief

With anxiety, there are lots of techniques to help support. Learning to breathe – we all assume breathing is simple and something that comes naturally to us all. Well, when a panic attack occurs the heart beats fast, and with that we breathe in sharply, our shoulders raise and we keep breathing in sharply and only breathing out slightly. We then have the feeling that we can’t breathe and that makes us panic even more.

Breathing Technique for Anxiety

A good technique to learn is to hold a hand on your chest, be mindful to relax your shoulders and not hold them tightly up towards your ears. Put both feet firmly on the floor whilst sitting in a chair. Focus on your breathing. Breathe in through your nose to the count of, say 7. Then breathe out slowly with your mouth to the count of, say 11 (these numbers can be tweaked to suit you but the main thing to remember is to breathe out for longer than you have breathed in – really expel all that air). Practice with my breathing butterfly on my home page. Once you have your breathing mastered, its practically impossible to have a panic attack. Its all about the breathing.