Althought Therapy

Effective Coping Mechanisms for Managing Depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad. Depression is a complex mental health disorder that can have a significant impact on your life. Not only does it effect the person suffering from depression but it can have an impact on their family members as well.


Overt Depression

Overt depression is the profound and persistent sense of despair that doesn’t go away on its own. Some common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Depression not only affects emotions but also manifests in physical symptoms that can be debilitating. Everyone experiences depression differently.

Some people may experience the full list of symptoms, while others may only experience a few. People also commonly experience physical symptoms of depression, such as headaches, stomach aches, or body aches. Understanding the complexity of depression is crucial in seeking the right help and starting on the path to recovery.

Coping Skills for Depression

Managing depression requires a multifaceted approach and different treatment options, often involving lifestyle changes, psychological strategies, and sometimes medication. These methods help individuals regain control and reduce the severity of symptoms. Below are several coping mechanisms that can aid in managing depression:

1. Seeking Professional Help

The first step in managing a depressive disorder, which includes bipolar disorder, is seeking professional help. You can begin by talking to your primary care doctor.  They can provide you with a referral to find a health care provider in your insurance network. Out of network, private pay, therapists and psychologists are additional resources.

A mental health professional can provide a proper diagnosis and create an individualized treatment plan for you. This may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. You will want to work closely with your therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist to find the best treatment plan for you. Therapists can offer tools and techniques tailored to your specific needs, which can be more effective than trying to manage symptoms on your own.

When developing coping strategies for dealign with mental health conditions you may want to investigate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is an evidence based practice that can treat:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Grief, Stress
  • Insomnia (CBT-I)
  • Chronic pain
  • Alcohol and drug use problems
  • Marital problems
  • Eating disorders

2. Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are practices that involve focusing on the present moment. Mindfulness is being aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. Research supports that mindfulness and meditation improve symptoms of depression. Additionally, they promote overall well-being.

You may be wondering how you can incorporate mindfulness and mediations into your daily routine. One method is to sit quietly and focus on your breathing. Other ways include guided imagery or progressive muscle relaxation. These methods can provide relief from the constant chatter of a busy mind.

3. Engaging in Regular Exercise

Regular exercise can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression. A brisk walk or yoga session can be sufficient for the mood boosting effects. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your routine. Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters, and can also serve as a distraction from negative thoughts.

4. Practicing Self-Care

Self-care is essential for managing depression. It involves taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. This can include things like getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in activities that you enjoy.

It’s also important to set boundaries and say no to things that may be causing you stress or overwhelm. By prioritizing your needs and making self-care a regular part of your routine, you can build resilience against the symptoms of depression.

5. Connecting with Others

Depression can make you feel isolated and disconnected from others. However, it’s important to stay connected and reach out to friends and family for support. You can also join support groups or seek out online communities where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. These connections can provide much-needed understanding and camaraderie, which can be incredibly comforting when you’re struggling.

6. Finding Meaning and Purpose

Depression can make you feel like life has no meaning or purpose. But finding something that gives you a sense of purpose can be incredibly beneficial. This can be anything from volunteering, learning a new skill, or setting goals for yourself.

Having something to work towards can give you a sense of accomplishment and improve your overall well-being. It can also provide a distraction from depressive thoughts and give you something positive to focus on.

7. Using Positive Self-Talk

The way we talk to ourselves can have a significant impact on our mental health. Negative self-talk can worsen symptoms of depression and make it more challenging to cope. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones, and try to be kind and compassionate towards yourself. Affirmations and cognitive-behavioral techniques can help shift your mindset and reduce the power of negative thinking patterns.

8. Setting Realistic Expectations

Depression can make it challenging to complete daily tasks and meet expectations. It’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and not be too hard on yourself if you don’t meet them. Break tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks and focus on one thing at a time. By setting achievable goals, you can build confidence and a sense of progress, which can counter feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

9. Managing Stress

Stress can worsen symptoms of depression, so it’s essential to find healthy ways to manage it. This can include things like deep breathing, journaling, or engaging in a hobby. Find what works for you and make it a part of your daily routine. Developing a stress management plan can help prevent overwhelming feelings and keep you grounded during difficult times.

10. Seeking Support from Loved Ones

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for support from your loved ones. Let them know how they can help you and what you need from them. Having a strong support system can make a significant difference in managing depression. Open communication and shared experiences can reinforce your relationships and provide you with a network of care when you need it most.


Depression is a serious mental health disorder, but it is manageable. By seeking professional help and incorporating coping mechanisms into your daily routine, you can improve your overall well-being and live a fulfilling life.

Remember to be patient and kind to yourself, and don’t hesitate to reach out for support when you need it. You are not alone in your journey towards managing depression. With the right tools and a strong support system, you can navigate the challenges of depression and find a path to a happier, healthier life.

Althought Therapy

Dr. Awalt offers psychotherapy for depression in Lakewood, CO in the Denver metro area. Dr. Awalt is a professional psychologist who offers in person therapy sessions and virtual therapy sessions.



American Psychological Association