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How Lifestyle Changes Can Help You Manage Anxiety and Depression

closeup of woman eating a salad outdoors - anxiety and depression

Anxiety, Depression, and Recovery

It’s only natural to feel anxious or sad from time to time. But when these negative emotions and feelings last for long periods, occur frequently, or begin to disrupt your routine, you may be struggling with anxiety disorder or depression. For those in recovery from substance use disorder, significant anxiety or depression can jeopardize recovery. Psychiatrists and doctors often prescribe antidepressants in these cases. In addition to medication, you might also want to try the following lifestyle changes to help you gain more control over your emotional patterns.

Enjoy Quiet Time

Take time for yourself every day. Even 15 minutes of quiet time each day can change your state of mind and make you feel more at peace with the world and yourself. Peaceful time alone gives you perspective and a sense of calm. How you spend your quiet time depends on you. You might sit and pray or meditate during this time; you might journal, soak in a warm bubble bath, work on a craft, or practice yoga. The only criteria are to shut out the outside world and connect with your inner self.

Eat a Healthy Diet and Stay Hydrated

Anxiety and depression can disrupt eating patterns. You may overeat to sedate your nervousness or fill your sadness, or you may skip meals. Both habits just add fuel to the anxiety and depression. What you put in your body has a direct effect on your mood. Eat mindfully, and include lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes, and nuts in your diet. Make certain to stay hydrated. Drinking enough water will help to keep away headaches and cleanse your body of impurities.


Exercising is a natural way to treat depression. Choose something you enjoy doing and can do regularly. It doesn’t matter what it is as long as you get moving. Take a walk, go for a bike ride, swim, run, ride a stationary bike, garden, take an aerobics class, or do any of the countless numbers of activities people enjoy. The choice is yours.

Spend Time Outdoors

Spending time in nature can make you feel calm and peaceful. Whether you are relaxing in the sunshine, listening to the sounds of the ocean, taking in the beauty of a garden, or doing yoga in the park, you will enjoy the many benefits of ecotherapy, increased levels of Vitamin D, and feelings of serenity. You can even give yourself an added mood boost by exercising outdoors.

Get Enough Sleep

When you feel depressed or anxious, you may suffer from insomnia or from oversleeping. When you don’t get the right amount of sleep, your emotions are greatly affected. Try making a sleep schedule so you have a consistent routine at bedtime. Take some time to unwind by doing something relaxing before you go to bed. Avoid any stressful thoughts or tasks. Turn off all devices. Go to bed at the same time every night and set your alarm to wake up the same time each morning.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of talk therapy that retrains the brain to avoid negative thinking, depressive thoughts, worries, and anxieties. According to the Mayo Clinic, CBT helps individuals explore painful emotions, feelings, and experiences and learn how to cope with them in a healthy way.

A Few More Suggestions

  • Have fun. Make time for pleasant events and activities that you enjoy. Be playful.
  • Practice gratitude by taking the time to notice the things that went well throughout the day, not just the things that went wrong. Be thankful for what you have and what you have accomplished.
  • Keep a journal or a diary and write down your feelings, emotions, and experiences: the good and the bad.
  • Try a new form of therapy such as Pet Therapy, Art Therapy, or Music Therapy.
  • Practice positive thinking and mindfulness in everything you do.

If You Need Help

Depression and anxiety are often co-occurring disorders with drug or alcohol addiction. Some people turn to drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. Instead, they become addicted to the substance. Others with a substance use disorder often find themselves with the coexisting disorders of depression and anxiety. If you or someone you know needs help with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there is help available. Call and speak to a professional staff member at Canyon Vista Recovery Center in Mesa, Arizona. By using a combination of clinical, holistic, and psychiatric care, we provide our clients with the tools they need to begin their journey to a clean and sober life.

Learn more about programs offered at Canyon Vista Recovery Center, addiction help in Mesa, AZ.
Contact us at (888) 979-1840

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