31 Coping Skills for Depression


When you feel depressed, you will naturally find ways to cope with the negative feelings. However, there are healthy and unhealthy ways to cope with depression. Negative coping tactics like drugs, alcohol, overeating or self-harm are forms of self-medication that often cause more problems, making depression worse. Instead, try engaging in activities that bring joy and help with relaxation. Here is a list of 31 things you can do to help you beat the blues. Try doing one thing every day to build healthy coping habits.

  1. Socialize — people with depression often feel isolated. Don’t isolate yourself from your loved ones. Reach out to friends and family and build yourself a strong support system.
  2. Exercise — exercise is a great habit for anyone to pick up, but it is especially important for those who have depression. In fact, exercise has been known to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  3. Face your fears — you feel a sense of accomplishment when you do hard things that scare you, which can make you feel better about yourself. Avoiding procrastination and challenging yourself with new things will help you build self-confidence and resiliency.
  4. Healthy eating habits — your diet is a key aspect of your health that directly correlates with your mood. If you want to ease your depression symptoms, don’t skip meals, take b vitamins, eat omega 3 fatty acids, eat less sugar and carbs, and limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine. Foods high in carbs, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol can cause inflammation in the body, which affects our ability to maintain mood stability.
  5. Get creative — using your emotions to fuel your creativity is a very positive way to deal with depression through catharsis. Try painting, writing stories and poetry, or even writing music.
  6. Get a pet — taking care of an animal will not only allow you to focus your energy on something other than your depression but also allow you to form a strong bond, making you feel less isolated.
  7. Volunteer — volunteering is a great way to avoid negative thoughts and help those who may be worse off than you. Serving others is a proven way to build self-esteem and resiliency. Look for volunteer opportunities in your area.
  8. Find a hobby — spend time doing something you love each day. Spending time consistently to do things that bring us joy has a compound effect on our overall happiness and quality of life.
  9. Get enough sleep — sleep also correlates with your mood. If you’re not sleeping well, then you probably feel more depressed and irritable, not to mention tired. Talk to your doctor about your options to help you get a good night’s rest.
  10. Relax — relaxation can also help you cope with negative feelings. Take a hot shower, a bath, and watch a movie or TV show. You will be surprised at what some good R&R can do for your mood.
  11. Pay attention to your thoughts — When you learn how to recognize negative thoughts, you are better equipped to deal with them.
  12. Deep breathing — deep breathing is another calming skill you can use when you are in a stressful situation and need to calm down.
  13. Relinquish control — you can’t control every aspect of your life, so you might feel better when you just let go and learn to roll with the punches.
  14. Learn your triggers — if you know what triggers your depression, you can stay away from them or learn how to better cope when those situations arise.
  15. Build a routine and stick to it — although you can’t control everything, you can control some things. Try making a daily routine and sticking to it, focusing your energy on what you do have a say in rather than what you don’t.
  16. Do things that boost your self-esteem — those with depression often have low self-esteem, so do your makeup, get a new hairdo, take a fun picture, or write down things you like about yourself. Self-care is a huge part of building self-esteem.
  17. Clean or organize — your space is another aspect of your life that you have control over. So use cleaning and organizing as an outlet for your depression. Your life may be a mess, but your bedroom, kitchen, and other rooms in your house don’t have to be.
  18. Meditate — meditation is another skill that can help you learn how to cope with tough situations. Meditation can help you clear your mind of the negative thoughts and press reset.
  19. Redecorate — if cleaning isn’t enough, try redecorating. A change of scenery could be just what you need to get you out of that funk.
  20. Treat yourself — reward yourself when you do something hard or overcome a difficult situation
  21. Keep a journal — a journal not only lets you air out your frustrations but also lets you track your progress. You may be surprised at how far you’ve come when you look back at past entries.
  22. Go to therapy — realizing that you need help is a big step in overcoming depression. If you feel like you can’t cope on your own, reach out to a professional for help.
  23. Get in touch with your spirituality — go to church, read scriptures, or say a prayer. Do something that makes you feel connected to a higher power.
  24. Listen to music — music is another fantastic way to cope with depression. Make a playlist of uplifting songs to listen to when you’re feeling down.
  25. Go for a walk — sometimes getting away for a while and taking a walk can help you deal with your emotions. It also helps to get outside and get some much-needed sunlight.
  26. Unplug — when you feel overwhelmed by life, turn off your electronics and take some time to recharge. But don’t isolate yourself from friends and loved ones.
  27. Let yourself cry — instead of avoiding or pushing down the emotions when they come, try working through them by letting go and having a good cry.
  28. Do yoga — yoga is like exercising, deep breathing, and meditation all rolled into one.
  29. Try acupuncture — acupuncture eases tension in your body, relaxing you, and in turn, easing some of the negativity you may be feeling.
  30. Take a class on something that interests you — learning is a great way to stimulate your brain and put your focus into a positive activity. Find something that interests you or a skill that you always wanted to pick up, and sign up for a class.
  31. Follow doctor’s orders — Sometimes you can’t beat depression on your own, so you need to follow your doctor’s instructions by regularly taking your medication, attending follow-up appointments, and maintaining your physical health.

Obviously, not every one of these strategies is going to help you handle your emotions, but keep trying new healthy activities to find what works for you. Most importantly, work with a licensed psychiatrist or therapist who can help you develop effective coping strategies.

There are several new treatment options available for depression today which have great efficacy, including for treatment-resistant depression which hasn’t responded well to therapy or medication. These include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and ketamine infusion therapy.

Contact Serenity Mental Health Centers to learn more about depression and what your treatment options are, including TMS and ketamine infusion!

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*All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.