Coping techniques: Depression

Please note that you should always consult with your physician before making any changes in your diet, your level of exercise and activity, medication or behaviors related to substance use.

The best way to make use of these techniques is to read through them, select three that stand out to you and practice them. I would be glad to hear from you on your responses.

  1. Make one positive statement about yourself each day.
  2. Notice when you make negative statements to yourself, such as “This will never pass” or “I’m no good” and interrupt them.
  3. Review positive accomplishments.
  4. Be compassionate to yourself.
  5. Establish and maintain a regular schedule. Go to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time every morning. Bathe and attend to grooming. Eat regular meals. Complete daily tasks such as throwing out the trash or washing the dishes, opening the mail or making a phone call, in order to develop a sense of accomplishment and mastery.
  6. Increase your daily activities. Choose simple things, if possible things that are or used to be fun and are pleasant for you. If your focus is decreased, select activities that don’t require a great deal of concentration, such as listening to music, gardening or looking at art or picture books.
  7. Because one of the symptoms of depression is often loss of pleasure, you might not feel like doing anything. Therefore when you do something give yourself credit for doing so, and for going counter to the depression.
  8. Open the curtains during the day to let the light in.
  9. Get out of the house at least once each day to some safe environment where you are among other people.
  10. Move: find something upbeat on the radio or Internet and dance, go for a walk, exercise.
  11. Don’t watch sad movies, listen to sad music or read sad books.
  12. Remind yourself that thoughts are mental events, not facts. What you’re thinking is only what you’re thinking, and doesn’t necessarily correspond to anything in the world.
  13. Therefore stop and consider: are you jumping to conclusions from your thoughts? Are you seeing the world or your life in black-and-white terms? Are you judging yourself absolutely based on one action? Taking responsibility for something over which you really have no control? Turning setbacks into catastrophes?
  14. Don’t sit with existential problems in this period, or make important decisions.
  15. Consider decreasing alcohol and recreational drug consumption.
  16. When you’re not feeling depressed, create a wellness plan that includes a section of how you function on your best days, what your triggers are for depression, what the warning signs are for depression, and what will be helpful to do and not helpful to do when you’re depressed. When you are depressed review this plan to remind yourself that depression passes.