7 Creative Ways to Tackle Anxiety, Depression, and Stress


Dealing with the emotional rollercoaster of anxiety, depression, and stress can sometimes feel like a never-ending battle. Sure, we’ve all heard about the usual suspects – deep breathing, meditation, you know the drill. But sometimes, those methods feel like a well-worn path, too familiar and less effective. Here at MindBodySoul, we’re all about exploring the uncharted territories of mental wellness. Let’s dive into seven creative ways to manage these challenging emotions:

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1) Envision how someone without anxiety or depression would handle the situation

Identify someone who you perceive as being calm and level-headed, and imagine yourself as that person. You can choose someone you know or someone you have never met (e.g. a celebrity, a person in history, or even a fictional character).

Think about the following: how would they handle the situation you are dealing with? What thoughts and feelings would they have about it? How would they stay calm? Would they take a certain posture or tone of voice to face the upsetting feelings? What would they tell themselves to get through it?
See if you can take on some of these qualities. If it feels too difficult to play the role of that person, pretend that they are giving you advice about how to deal with the situation and apply the advice as best as possible.

2) Do a ritual to get rid of upsetting feelings

  • Shower Visualization:
    • Take a relaxing shower.
    • Visualize the water washing away your stress and anxiety.
    • Imagine stress draining away with the water, symbolizing a fresh start.
  • Imaginary Trash Can:
    • Envision a mental image of a trash can.
    • Mentally ‘throw’ unwanted feelings and thoughts into this bin.
    • This act symbolizes discarding negative emotions and clearing your mind.
  • Paper and Pen Technique:
    • Write down or draw your negative emotions on a piece of paper.
    • This process helps in acknowledging and confronting these feelings.
    • After writing, either shred or crumple the paper.
    • Discard it into a real trash can, symbolizing the removal of these emotions from your life.
  • Burning Ritual:
    • As an alternative, safely burn the paper with your written feelings.
    • Ensure this is done in a safe environment, like a fireproof container and in a well-ventilated area.
    • The act of burning symbolizes a more definitive end to these negative emotions, akin to a cleansing ritual.
  • Mindful Contemplation:
    • As you engage in these activities, practice mindful contemplation.
    • Reflect on the act of letting go and the transient nature of emotions.
    • Embrace the feeling of relief and lightness as you physically and symbolically release these burdens.
These methods combine physical actions with mental symbolism, providing a powerful toolkit for managing stress and negative emotions in a creative and cathartic way.

3) Create a grounding object to use when you want to decrease anxiety and depression

Grounding objects help us focus on the present moment so that we don’t stress about the past or the future. They also bring a sense of comfort and safety in the present moment.

You can create a grounding object that is small enough to carry with you so that you can use it to feel better at any time that you might need a boost in your mood. Some ideas: make a credit card sized collage to keep in your wallet or purse, draw or paint a soothing symbol or picture that can fit in your wallet or purse, make  a piece of jewelry that you can wear, make a keychain that you can keep with you, or paint a rock that you can carry around with you.

When you are anxious or depressed, hold your object and tell yourself soothing things. You can say, “I am going to be okay” or “I have gotten through a lot of things, and I will get through this, too. You can also tell yourself what day and time it is, where you are, or other facts about the present so that you can fully focus on the present moment.

4) Envision a soothing place

Instead of letting your imagination run wild by picturing all the negative things that could happen in the future or exaggerating negative things that happened in the past, use it to picture yourself in a place that comforts you.

Use all of your senses to fully imagine being there. What do you see? What colors, shapes, objects, people, etc. are there? What do you smell? What do you hear? What do you feel?
For example, if you imagine being at a beach, picture the color of the sand, sky, and water. Picture if the sky is clear or cloudy, if the water is choppy or calm, if it is hot or breezy, if you have the beach to yourself or if there are other people, etc. Really picture it in detail to engage all of your senses and be fully in the present moment.

5) Write down at least 3 things that you are grateful for

Our brains have what is called a negativity bias, which means that they focus on negative things as an attempt to help us survive. It helps to train our brains to think positively by practicing gratitude.
here are some examples:
  • Daily Gratitude Practice:
    • Dedicate a few moments each day to reflect on what you’re grateful for.
    • Aim to list at least three things, no matter how big or small.
    • This practice helps rewire your brain to recognize and appreciate the positives in life.
  • Understanding Negativity Bias:
    • Recognize that our brains are wired to focus on the negative, a trait meant for survival.
    • Acknowledge that this negativity bias can be counteracted with conscious effort.
    • Practicing gratitude is a way to train your brain to identify and savor positive aspects.
  • Personal Traits and Achievements:
    • Write about personality traits you value in yourself, such as kindness, resilience, or a sense of humor.
    • Reflect on your accomplishments, whether they’re career milestones or personal victories like overcoming a fear.
  • Simple Joys and Daily Pleasures:
    • Note the small, everyday joys, like a perfect cup of coffee or the warmth of the sun.
    • These seemingly minor details can significantly boost your mood and perspective.
  • Memorable Events and Experiences:
    • Reflect on recent special occasions or events that brought you happiness.
    • Celebrate moments of joy and connection, from family gatherings to personal achievements.
  • Acknowledging Support and Comforts:
    • Be thankful for aspects of your life that provide support and comfort.
    • This might include good health, a supportive social circle, or financial stability.
  • Consistency is Key:
    • Make gratitude journaling a regular practice for the best results.
    • Consistency helps in gradually shifting your mental focus from negative to positive.
By incorporating these practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate a more positive outlook, counteract the brain’s negativity bias, and enhance your overall sense of well-being.

6) Volunteering

Sometimes, helping others can have a profound impact on our own mental health. Volunteering for a cause you care about can provide a sense of purpose and connection, lifting your spirits and providing a different perspective on life.

7) Digital Detox

In our hyper-connected world, sometimes the best way to reset your mind is by unplugging. Set aside a day or even just a few hours where you go completely offline. Read a book, write in a journal, or simply daydream. The peace that comes from disconnecting can be surprisingly rejuvenating.

At MindBodySoul, we believe in exploring a variety of approaches to find what truly resonates with you. Remember, managing anxiety, depression, and stress is a personal journey, and sometimes it takes a bit of creativity to discover what works best for you. Stay open to new experiences and be gentle with yourself along the way.

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