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  • Writer's pictureMatt Schubert

Coping Strategies to Alleviate Depression and Anxiety

Updated: Oct 14, 2023

Suffering from depression and anxiety is incredibly challenging, but it's important to remember that you are not alone in these struggles. Millions of people worldwide experience depression and anxiety, with over 50% of people in the USA reporting having suffered from one or both ailments. There are numerous coping strategies that can be deployed to help you manage and alleviate these struggles. We will explore some evidence-based effective coping strategies to help you navigate through depression and anxiety and improve your overall well-being



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Strategies to help alleviate anxiety and depression



1. Practice mindfulness and meditation


Mindfulness and meditation are powerful practices that significantly benefit individuals dealing with depression and anxiety. Mindfulness involves being fully present in the moment without judgment, accepting your thoughts and feelings as they come. It does not need to be practiced in silence like traditionally thought. Mindfulness can be found during exercise or other hobbies. Regular meditation can help reduce stress, increase self-awareness, and improve emotional regulation. By incorporating mindfulness exercises and meditation into your daily routine, it will help promote a calmer mind and greater emotional resilience


2. Engage in regular physical activity


The single best thing you can do to help alleviate depression and anxiety is to engage in physical activity. Physical activity is not only essential for your physical health but also on your mental well-being. Regular exercise releases endorphins, which are natural mood lifters that can help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. You don't need to engage in intense workouts; even a simple daily walk or gentle yoga session can make a significant difference in your mood and overall mental health. Just get outside and move!


3. Build a Support Network


The number one reason why people report feeling happy is social connectivity. On the flip side, isolation will only exacerbate depression and anxiety. It is essential to build a support network of friends, family, and support groups. Having people who understand and empathize with your struggles can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of loneliness. Don't hesitate to reach out to your loved ones or consider joining local or online support groups to connect with others facing similar challenges.


4. Prioritize self-care


Self-care is an important part of managing depression and anxiety. Make time for activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether it's reading a book, spending time in nature, or taking a warm bath. Set aside regular "me time" to recharge and rejuvenate yourself. Those who take time to prioritize self-care are those who are willing to advocate for themselves. Advocate for yourself!


5. Challenge negative thoughts


Depression and anxiety lead to negative thought patterns and self-criticism. Learning to challenge and reframe these thoughts can be a powerful coping strategy. Keep a thought journal to record negative thoughts and then identify more balanced and rational alternatives. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based approach that can help you develop this skill further with the guidance of a therapist. Anxiety is basically a thought pattern of overestimating worst case scenarios and underestimating the available resources to deal with a problem. This is a learned thought pattern. Learn new ones!


6. Limit social media and screen time


Social media and excessive screen time can negatively impact mental health, especially for those already dealing with depression and anxiety. Set boundaries for your screen time and be mindful of the content you consume online. Engage in activities that are more enriching and fulfilling, such as hobbies, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing personal interests


7. Seek professional help


When depression and anxiety are significantly impacting your daily life and functioning, seeking professional help is important. Trained counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists can provide personalized guidance, support, and evidence-based interventions to help you effectively manage your symptoms. Therapy options such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and medication management can be highly beneficial in treating depression and anxiety


8. Set realistic goals


Setting achievable and realistic goals is essential when coping with depression and anxiety. Break larger tasks into smaller, manageable steps, and celebrate your accomplishments along the way. Avoid overwhelming yourself with unrealistic expectations and remember that progress, no matter how small, is still progress. This is best done with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor


Conclusion


Living with depression and anxiety can feel like an endless uphill battle, but with the right strategies and support you will have the power to make the changes to improve your well-being. You do not have to face these challenges alone. Reach out to friends, family, or a mental health professional to help you along the way. Take the initiative to get started on your journey towards healing and living a more fulfilled life. By embracing these coping strategies, practicing self-compassion, and getting support, you will be on your way to brighter days



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Matt Schubert is a licensed professional counselor (LPC). He operates as a therapist in Boise as well as a Portland Therapist specializing in working with children, teens, and their parents



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