How to Cope With Depression
Experiencing depressive states can be a normal part of the human experience, but when feelings of hopelessness and a lack of motivation begin to interfere with everyday activities, it’s healthy to seek ways to deal with depression. Here are the best places to start.
The Best Ways to Reduce Depression
When most people suffer from depression and are ready to reach out for help, the first response is to go to the family doctor. The doctor listens to the list of symptoms and most often prescribes an antidepressant to treat those symptoms. While that’s one of the most common ways to deal with depression, it’s rarely the best treatment path, and you always have other options.
If you’re ready to start talking about your challenges with depressive thoughts, coping with depression begins by:
Asking the Right Questions
When you go to a general practitioner to discuss feelings of depression, they may take the time to understand your symptoms and prescribe a medication intended to treat those symptoms. What they’re unequipped to do, however, is help you understand the underlying factors and patterns that may be driving depressive states. A critical first step in coping with depression is asking questions that go deeper than the symptoms and get to the root of depressive thoughts.
In our experience, we’ve found that depression and emotional dysregulation are often the result of chronic, untreated anxiety, and that anxiety is frequently rooted in past trauma that may go back as far as childhood. When the underlying trauma remains unresolved, it manifests as anxieties, insecurities, and emotional lability, over time morphing into waves of anxiety and depression that feed into each other.
Knowing why you’re depressed is the first step to coping with depression. If you want to learn how to cope with depression, you have to be prepared to ask yourself questions about past trauma and how that may be feeding into depressive states in the present. With those insights, you can identify unhealthy thought patterns and heal from traumatic experiences.
Learning Therapeutic Skills
While the phrase “therapeutic skills” may sound like something you have to be in a healthcare setting to practice, you may be surprised to discover that you can learn therapeutic skills to cope with depression on your own. One of the simplest ways to start is by practicing meditation, which requires little more than sitting with your thoughts and observing them as if you were an outsider looking into your mind. By closing your eyes and stepping back from your thoughts, you can make connections between thoughts and emotions in a way that allows you to achieve healthier thought patterns and a more stable emotional state.
If you’re looking for something more actionable than meditation or mindfulness, don’t overlook the power of exercise and yoga for overcoming depression. We’ve found that exercise can be more potent for treating depression than any medication by releasing natural endorphins that make your body and mind feel better. The type of activity is up to you. Some prefer high-intensity exercises like running and weightlifting, while others prefer yoga. Whichever you choose, don’t forget the importance of a nutritious diet in maintaining mental and physical well-being.
CTA: Are you ready to talk? We’re here to listen.
Additional Ways to Deal With Depression
Along with beginning to ask yourself deeper questions about what’s driving depressive thought patterns and practicing therapeutic skills, it’s also essential to examine how your lifestyle habits may be feeding into depression. Simple things like establishing a routine can empower you to focus on the task at hand instead and translate maladaptive thought patterns into healthy habits. Similarly, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can aid in emotional stability. However, if you’re having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or adopting a consistent sleep schedule, you may need to reach out for help.
Can You Deal With Depression on Your Own?
It’s natural to ask if you can deal with depression on your own, but it’s also natural to reach out and seek help when you feel like you can no longer handle the negative thoughts and emotions on your own. While some individuals experience depressive states and learn to cope with them on their own, cases of long-standing depression almost always require professional help to understand and heal underlying trauma and anxiety. Wherever you are on your journey, the caring team at PCH is here to listen and provide answers for your questions.