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Recovering From Depression One Day at a Time

One of the most important ways to manage the pain of depression or anxiety is to live one day at a time. This pain is not only intense, it often feels like it will never end. Yet, if you can approach your life in manageable 24-hour chunks, it will feel less overwhelming. Focus solely on the moment, taking no thought for tomorrow. Since depression is time limited, each day that you survive brings you one step closer to your recovery.

Living a day at a time becomes possible when we structure our day so that it is filled with a series simple, doable events. Anxiety is reduced when we know what is immediately in front of us. For example, you might begin your day by writing in your journal, followed by breakfast, taking a thirty minute walk, and going to the community center to socialize. By stringing together a series of short-term activities, you can fill the day. Or, perhaps a job will provide the structure you need. And when the evening comes, you can take heart in knowing that you made it through another 24-hour period.

Even during a well-planned day, there may be times when you feel anxious about the future or ruminate about the past. If this occurs, notice that you have wandered from the present, and then refocus your attention on the here-and-now. It may help to make a list of  present-day coping strategies: such as calling or spending time with a friend, calling a counselor, going on a walk, taking an anti anxiety medication, rating your mood, doing a prayer ritual, listening to music, walking to the community center, hiking in nature, or writing in a journal.

To summarize, the benefit of living one day at a time is that it allows you to break your life down into manageable segment of a single day, something that you can handle. Make a list of simple, doable, low-cost activities that will give you the support and get you through the day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Pay particular attention to the weekends, since they are more likely to present a lack of structured time. You don’t need a grand scheme of recovery. You just need to live step by step, day by day, and life will unfold in accordance with your highest good.

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