Here are some things we can do in our daily lives to strengthen our emotional health when we’re feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed, lonely or hopeless.

Use Your Support Network: A support network doesn’t have to be an army of friends and family. It could be just one person who we can talk openly to about how we’re feeling. It helps to reach out to that person we can be honest with when things are overwhelming. For some of us, that person may be our counselor or doctor.  The important part is that we aren’t holding it all in, that we’re talking about how we feel and that we’re letting someone help us.

Challenge Negative Thoughts: A big part of feeling depressed, anxious or lonely is those thoughts in our heads that tell us that things are bad, we are hopeless, nobody cares and it won’t get better. The simple exercise of checking those thoughts and challenging them can do wonders for our state of mind. If the thought floats through your mind that things are never going to get better, remember a time when things were bad but did improve. This simple exercise can remind us that feelings generally do pass over time.

Take Care of Yourself: It sounds so simple, but little things like getting enough sleep and eating as healthy as possible can make a huge difference on how we feel emotionally. Lack of sleep can, in and of itself, cause problems with depression and anxiety. Also, exercising has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression. So if you’re feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed, take a walk or head to the gym for a little while.

Use Moderation: We all know that drinking too much or abusing drugs can actually make us feel worse in the long run.  Moderation is important when it comes to partying, but it’s also important in other aspects of our lives. If we’re feeling depressed or overwhelmed, we may have to say “no” to certain activities or opportunities. It’s more important to rest and take care of ourselves than it is to do everything.

Most importantly, be proactive and go talk to a counselor on your campus or in your community if you are worried about your thoughts and feelings. Use our Find Help Now page to get started.