09 Dec 10 Ways to Cope With Depression
By Diana Rodriguez | Medically reviewed by Pat F. Bass III, MD, MPH
Lifestyle Factors That Affect Mood
When you have depression, you can find ways to take control of your life and manage your treatment even beyond medications. Making some lifestyle changes can boost your mood and help alleviate many of your symptoms, including low self-esteem. “Minimizing stress as much as possible is a good idea when you’re depressed, especially unnecessary or avoidable stressors that people can be pulled into when they’re depressed,” says Erik Nelson, MD, a psychiatrist and assistant professor of clinical psychiatry at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in Ohio.
Talk to a Therapist
Working with a therapist is often an important part of successfully managing depression. “Psychotherapy will focus on helping people adjust their lifestyle in ways that are possible, minimize their stress, and cope with stressors,” says Dr. Nelson. Among the issues that you can address together are how to improve your self-esteem, switch from negative to positive thinking, and practice stress management.
Express Yourself in Writing
Writing in a journal is great therapy and can help you manage depression. You can relieve stress by being open about your thoughts, feelings, and concerns in your writing — and stress management is an important part of living well with depression. Be totally honest in your private journal. Writing down your feelings and challenges with depression can release pent-up emotions. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel after putting pen to paper for just a few minutes each day.
Boost Your Self-Image
People with depression often experience low self-esteem, so finding ways to feel better about yourself is an important aspect of treatment. Practice positive thinking by focusing your thoughts on your best qualities. You can also make lifestyle changes that can improve your self-esteem, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and spending time with friends who make you feel good about who you are.
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