How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills
Depression is like living in a dark tunnel with no ray of light. If you are in a depressed mood for quite some time and thinking about how to overcome depression without medicines, then you have hit the right post. This blog focuses on 11 coping skills that you need to practice every day to overcome depression.
If you are not sure whether you are suffering from depression or just feeling sad, then check out the following symptoms. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, if you have 5 or more of the below symptoms for 2 or more weeks, which is causing excess emotional distress or disturbing your day-to-day activities, then you are suffering from depression.
Emerging Trends In Substance Misuse:
- MethamphetamineIn 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
- CocaineIn 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
- KratomIn 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.
Connect With Friends And Family
This can be one of the hardest things to do when feeling depressed, but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Isolating oneself from others may seem like a good idea, but put a limit on it and then get out there again.
Confiding in friends and family members can have a huge positive effect on your mood.
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Caffeine Should Be Used In Moderation
Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, soda, and even chocolate. It’s acceptable to have a moderate quantity of caffeine in the morning if you prefer it but limit your caffeine intake after a late afternoon to prevent disrupting your sleep.
If you depend on caffeine, gently reduce your intake to prevent the unpleasant symptoms of caffeine withdrawal. Instead of reaching for a Coke or a cup of coffee, take a quick stroll around the block.
Make Sure Youre Sleeping Well
- Those who are suffering from insomnia are 10x more likely to have clinical depression than those who sleep normally.
- Theyre also 17x more likely to suffer from clinical anxiety.
If you want to overcome depression, make sure youre sleeping well. This allows your brain to rest and repair itself.
If youre having trouble sleeping, try making your bedroom more conducive for sleep or doing sleep meditation exercises.
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Take A Test To See How You Feel
If youre unsure about the way you feel, take our anonymous online test to check whether your levels of stress, anxiety, or depression are within a healthy range, and see if one of our online courses could help.
What Causes Depression?
No one knows exactly what causes depression. It is clear that genetic factors are important in many cases of depression. Depression seems to run in families , and about 30% of the predisposition for depression is due to genetic influences.
Stressful life events play a part in the onset or relapse of depression. Ongoing conflicts with others can take their toll on our well-being, as can other social and environmental stressors such as financial difficulties, retirement, unemployment, childbirth, loneliness, or loss of someone or something important. In vulnerable people, these unpleasant life events may be enough to cause or worsen a depressive illness.
A persons personality characteristics are an important factor. When people are depressed, they usually have a very negative view of themselves and the world. They do not appreciate good things, and bad things seem overwhelming. Some people have a tendency to view things this way even when they are not depressed. In other words, they may have a depressive personality style.
Did you know
Enjoy The Emotional Benefits Of Exercise
Exercise offers physiological benefits that can help people going through depression. Physical activity relieves stress and can make you feel great. Plus, the satisfaction you get from finishing an engaging and challenging workout can boost your self-esteem as you get stronger and more physically fit. When you fight depression with a regular exercise routine, youll feel better emotionally and physically.
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Hang Out With Friends
While its perfectly alright to have some quality alone time, its important to strike a balance because too much isolation is fuel for depressive symptoms.
Interact as often as you can with people who uplift you rather than drag you down and this isnt just limited to friends, but family members as well. You might also consider joining a support group as a way of connecting with others dealing with depressionthis can go a long way toward reducing your sense of isolation.
And while nothing can replace human connection, having a pet can be highly therapeutic, bring joy into your life, get you out of your head, help encourage physical activity, avoid you engaging in self-sabotage, and give you a sense of being neededall powerful ways of tempering a depressive episode.
Lifestyle Factors That Affect Mood
When you have depression, you can find ways to take control of your life and manage your treatment even beyond medications. Making some lifestyle changes can boost your mood and help alleviate many of your symptoms, including low self-esteem. “Minimizing stress as much as possible is a good idea when you’re depressed, especially unnecessary or avoidable stressors that people can be pulled into when they’re depressed,” says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.
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How To Fight Depression Without Medication
Verywell / Bailey Mariner
For many people living with depression, prescription medications can be life-saving drugs. Antidepressants, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors like Prozac and Zoloft , are the most widely prescribed medication for depression, and while they are often effective, they can have side effects and be expensive depending on your health insurance coverage.
There are many ways to counter some of the symptoms of depression that don’t involve prescription medications. If you have depression, you might like to try managing it naturally without medication or supplement your antidepressant with other options. If so, check out these natural alternatives and then talk to your doctor about which might make sense as part of your treatment regimen.
This article discusses some natural treatments that may help fight depression including lifestyle changes and supplements. It also covers other strategies you might try such as practicing mindfulness or enhancing your home environment.
Why Is Dealing With Depression So Difficult
Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.
Its the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something thats difficult and something thats impossible. While recovering from depression isnt quick or easy, you do have more control than you realizeeven if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have much energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one, for example.
Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hourslong enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, youll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.
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Try To Eat A Healthy Diet
Some people don’t feel like eating when they’re depressed and are at risk of becoming underweight. Others find comfort in food and can put on excess weight.
Antidepressants can also affect your appetite.
If you’re concerned about weight loss, weight gain or how antidepressants are affecting your appetite, talk to your GP.
See tips on how to eat more healthily.
Drink Water And Avoid Drugs And Substance Abuse
It is important for people who are depressed to drink plenty of water as this will help ease many of the symptoms. Depression can cause dehydration which can lead to numerous problems such as headaches and concentration issues. Therefore, it is important for those suffering from depression to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, as these can exacerbate some of the symptoms.
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Exercise To Energize You
When your doctor diagnoses you with depression, regular physical exercise may not be the first thing they recommend. However, it’s possible that it should be a component of your treatment plan.
According to Duke University research, 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week was just as helpful as antidepressant medication in treating depression symptoms in the short term. People who continued to exercise after the first experiment were less likely to develop depression, according to the research.
Tip #2 Listen To Positive Upbeat Music
Listening to positive upbeat music is a simple, yet effective way to boost mood and motivation. According to neurologists, listening to music affects our emotions and brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can.
Research shows that different kinds of music can actually produce different kinds of emotions. Sad music can help offer a release of pent up negative emotions, while positive upbeat music helps move the brain into a more active state as brain waves actually synchronize somewhat to the pace of the music youre listening to.
When were trying to invigorate brain function and activity, theres nothing more powerful than music. Scientists have found that music stimulates more parts of the brain than any other human function.
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How Medication May Help
While self-help and lifestyle changes can help you beat depression, you may be too depressed to even begin. If you feel immobilized and powerless to kickstart any forward motion in spite of your efforts, medication may be a necessary stepping stone. There is no shame in using any and all tools at your disposal to get better.
While antidepressants are not a replacement for lifestyle changes, they can be used to reduce anything from more minor symptoms all the way up to suicidal thoughts, enough that you are able to begin developing healthier habits. Find a doctor or therapist who listens to any questions and concerns you may have, and who takes the time to clearly discuss all options available in positive ways, along with possible side effects and benefits. While medication is not the best option for everyone, it may be the difference-maker for you.
Or Spend Time With Loved Ones
Depression can tempt you to isolate yourself and withdraw from your friends and family, but face-to-face time can help wash away those tendencies.
If youre unable to spend time together in person, phone calls or video chats can also be helpful.
Try to remind yourself these people care about you. Resist the temptation to feel like youre a burden. You need the interaction and they likely do, too.
When you do the same thing day after day, you use the same parts of your brain. You can challenge your neurons and alter your brain chemistry by doing something entirely different.
Research also shows doing new things can improve your overall well-being and strengthen your social relationships.
To reap these benefits, consider trying a new sport, taking a creative class, or learning a new cooking technique.
Knock out a few birds with one stone spending time with other people and doing something new by volunteering and giving your time to someone or something else.
You may be used to receiving help from friends, but reaching out and providing help may actually improve your mental health more.
When you do something you love, or even when you find a new activity you enjoy, you may be able to boost your mental health more by taking time to be thankful for it.
Research shows gratitude can have lasting positive effects on your overall mental health.
Know That Today Isnt Indicative Of Tomorrow
Todays mood, emotions, or thoughts dont belong to tomorrow.
If you were unsuccessful at getting out of bed or accomplishing your goals today, remember that you havent lost tomorrows opportunity to try again.
Give yourself the grace to accept that while some days will be difficult, some days will also be great. Try to look forward to tomorrows fresh start.
Ok Im Feeling Depressed So Now What
Now that you know the symptoms of depression, some positive coping skills can be useful. All of the following techniques are supported by scientific research and medication prescribers like psychiatrists and these skills are frequently recommended as important parts of treatment even for patients who continue to take antidepressant medications.
WARNING: Do not suddenly go off your prescribed antidepressant medications without first talking to your medical provider. Discuss any questions or concerns about the side effects of your medications with your provider.
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Learn How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Depression doesn’t just make you feel bad, it can also cause you to think more negatively. Changing those negative thoughts, however, can improve your mood.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that works to alter common patterns of negative thinking called cognitive distortions in order to eliminate depression. There are also many self-help books, apps, and online courses that can help you learn how to change your unhealthy thinking patterns.
The symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and difficulty concentrating, make procrastination tempting.
Putting things off fuels depression. It can lead to increased guilt, worry, and stress.
It’s important to set deadlines and manage your time well. Establish short-term goals and work hard to get the most important things done first. Each task you successfully complete will help you break through the habit of procrastination.
Remember That You Deserve Help
Feelings of embarrassment about your depression can make it more difficult to get the help that you need.
You might not seek treatment because:
- You think that other people wont understand
- You fear being judged
- You dont want people to find out you feel depressed
- You feel like your symptoms arent bad enough
- You think you dont deserve help
What you should know is thiseveryone deserves help. While you may have tried many methods to manage your symptoms on your own, talking to your doctor about how you are feeling can help you get the treatment you need to start feeling better.
If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
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Look After Your Physical Health
Exercise has long been known to be a great way to fight depression. If you feel well enough, head out and get some fresh air outside even if its just a brief stroll in the park. Again, you should only do what feels right. If you need to build up to this by starting off slowly , then do whats right for your recovery.
What activity is good for depression?
- Walking or running
- Aerobic-heavy sports like tennis or squash
- Mindful activities like yoga or meditation
- Gym classes
Another significant factor in managing depression is good quality sleep. Research shows that 80% of people with clinical depression struggle with disturbed sleep. Small things like turning off electronic devices and ditching late-night caffeinated drinks and stodgy foods may well lead to you enjoying a better nights sleep. With better sleep, you might also find your mood improving in the day.
The evidence shows that exercise can be a way to manage symptoms of depression, thanks to the endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that are released during exercise that make us feel better. If you feel well enough to do so, introduce exercise into your daily routine.