The other week, I had what I thought was a little sore in my mouth. It was there for a couple of weeks, and it was just bugging me. Every time I felt it, it got me a little more upset. Then I had an actual anxiety attack about it and knew it was time to go to the dentist.

Fortunately, she was able to see me right away and told me I had to stop biting my lip. Yes, I had bitten myself, and my mouth was just healing — that’s all. Immediately, I felt better. It was amazing how easily the anxiety lifted when I took a simple and reasonable action. It was also amazing how easily the problem was triggered by something I must have experienced a hundred times before. I must be a clumsy chewer, because I bite myself often. It’s why I don’t chew gum.

The next morning was quite different, with no anxiety but just a little dash of sadness. I know many people who wake up disturbed in some way. Some can just shake it off. Others need to go through a process that helps them face their day and get the most out of it. I like to start with tea and meditation. It seems to ease any number of things, and like exercise, the more you do it, the easier it gets. Doing some exercise after meditating makes for a great combination. Doing both will help lift your mood and has the potential to eliminate your negative feelings entirely if you are dedicated to the process and to healing yourself.

I think I’ve had as many difficult mornings and days as I’ve had good ones. Of course, I’d like to be happy all the time, but we know that just isn’t possible. If you’ve been angry at yourself or at life, because you have mood swings, you don’t need to be. It’s just that your emotions are being manipulated by your body chemistry or a difficult situation.

But you do need to take action. Step one is to get an accurate diagnosis, and step two is to start doing what your doctor and therapist suggest. When you are dealing with anxiety or depression, you do have some control. If you have been prescribed medication, take it as directed and don’t drink alcohol. Drinking won’t help, and it could make the medication useless.

Your mood does not have to dictate your life. I know how hard it is to regain control over your emotions, but it is done every day by millions of people who refuse to allow feelings to take over their lives. You may not believe that you have a choice, but you do. By taking action to understand where your anxiety or depression is coming from, and doing what is necessary to make it go away, you should at least be able to have semi-normal days again.

It is wise not to seek perfection but instead to see a steady healing taking place in your mind and body. If you walked a mile yesterday but aren’t into it today, then find some other form of exercise. If you can’t meditate, because too much is going on in your head, then write down your feelings to help get them out.

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Taking action will always help. You do not need to suffer. Doing anything positive is going to have an effect, and no matter how small, taking these steps adds up to a more balanced you.