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How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

Overcome Depression

Depression is like living in a dark tunnel with no ray of light. If you are in a depressed mood for quite some time and thinking about how to overcome depression without medicines, then you have hit the right post. This blog focuses on 11 coping skills that you need to practice every day to overcome depression. 

If you are not sure whether you are suffering from depression or just feeling sad, then check out the following symptoms. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, if you have 5 or more of the below symptoms for 2 or more weeks, which is causing excess emotional distress or disturbing your day-to-day activities, then you are suffering from depression.

  1. Sad or depressed mood
  2. Short-tempered
  3. Feeling restless or slow
  4. Poor concentration
  5. Feeling guilty or worthless 
  6. No interest in hobbies or activities that you previously enjoyed
  7. Difficulty making decisions 
  8. Overeating or loss of appetite
  9. Feeling tired or fatigue
  10. Changes in sleep pattern
  11. Weight loss or weight gain
  12. Thoughts of death or suicide
You can smile or make jokes
and have depression..
How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

11 self-help Ideas about how to overcome depression without medication

1. Make a list of good qualities you have

When you are depressed it is common to indulge in self-criticism and the tendency to judge yourself (harshly) increases day by day. You engage in negative self-talk like –

“I am so fat”,
“I will always be lonely,
I can never make friends”, and so on.

Over time, these statements will seem to be absolute truths for you; damaging your self-esteem, self-worth, and sense of identity. That’s how negative self-talk pushes people deep into the hell of depression and they fail to find an exit door. 

The image below depicts the vicious cycle of negative thinking and depression.

Negative thinking and depression
How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

Then how to overcome depression? Stop these annihilating beliefs before they start ruling your self-image! Always remember: You are what you feed yourself. 

Make a list of good qualities you have and engage in positive self-talk that will improve your self-identity. For example,

“I am genuine”,
“I am a trauma survivor”, 
“I have analytical skills”,
“I am loyal”, and so on. 

Keep the list with you and repeat them whenever self-hating talk begins. Make different copies or post-its and stick them in places where you can see them regularly like – washroom, mirror, refrigerator, car,  etc. 

2. Think from a different angle

People with depression remain in one spot for a long time and end up ruminating about dark experiences or negative outcomes (see above image) – “I should have said this or acted like that”, “I am a loser” and other soul-sucking negative thoughts. How to overcome depression, if this is your pattern? 

First thing first, check your thoughts! Most of the time your depressed mind makes you think or analyze a situation from a single point or the same angle. There can be other possible views. Try talking to your best buddy or a senior-most member in your family or social circle. You are sure to get a fresh perspective! 

Another trick to stop robotically repeating your negative thoughts is to ‘take a different view’. Carefully observe your surrounding till something interesting catches your eye. It can be a beautiful painting, a window with potted plants, or a beautifully designed lamp. There are many fascinating things around us and you never know what can make you more hopeful and help you come up with a plan B to solve all your problems. 

Read: What Is Morning Depression? 10 Common Signs and Treatment

3. Meditate daily

Meditation is one of the oldest and scientifically proven techniques to combat stress, anxiety, and depression. This mental exercise requires mindfulness and noticing your thoughts and feelings without acting on them. It slowly improves your sense of well-being and helps you feel more connected to what’s happening around you.

Buddha after meditation
How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

Recent research says regular meditation can help improve your depression symptoms. A 2016 study showed that meditation can help reduce your chances of depression relapse. Some studies found that meditation can help reverse DNA reactions that cause stress. 

Brain before and after 10 minutes meditation
How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

Neuroscientist Richie Davidson conducted multiple studies on mindfulness. He studied the brain waves of the Dalai Lama and other Buddhist monks when they were meditating. Results from brain scans showed that the participants were in a deeply compassionate state of mind and could sustain a burst of activity for a long period as compared to one second in untrained minds. 

Meditate for 20 minutes a day
How To Overcome Depression: 11 Coping Skills

Meditating for 20 minutes, even 5 minutes, is better than not meditating at all.

4. Visualize a happy memory

If meditation seems very daunting for you, try visualizing a happy memory. Easy. isn’t it? The more your mind flashes painful events like a car accident, death of your pet, or the break up with your partner the more you move towards emotional catatonia.

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Louisa Davis

Hi there! I'm just a normal person enjoying the process of life. Practicing Buddhism, I believe in the law of cause and effect. Reading and writing is always a pleasure. I enjoy researching on a range of subjects – science, psychology, and technology. Nothing can satiate my soul than good music, horror movies, psycho-thriller, and crime stuff. I enjoy photography, music and watching comedy videos. Talking to people, learning new experiences, sharing my knowledge through blogs, motivating others are things that I always look forward to.View Author posts