How to Become an Expert at Coping

What are the best coping strategies for a depressed individual?

Clinical depression takes a toll not only on a person’s thoughts and emotions but his/her capacity to bounce back from problems. Coping and adapting to problems is necessary for a normal life and therefore, you have to strengthen your own natural capacities to ensure that your mood disorder doesn’t end up dictating what you can and cannot do in life.

Here are some simple yet powerful guidelines that will improve your overall ability to cope with depression and other curveballs that life may throw at you:

  1. Power those life structures. You need to create proper structures and routines to keep your life on track. Depression often takes away a person’s natural ability to become organized with his/her own thoughts.

You can do away with the confusion by creating a definite schedule of activities for the day and for the week. Don’t make long-term schedules just yet as these can become a source of stress.

Also, be sure to organize your schedule based on your most immediate and pressing needs such as socializing, taking your medication, accomplishing your obligations and responsibilities, attending psychotherapy, consulting with your psychiatrist, etc.

Prioritize your tasks and don’t be afraid to leave out stuff that don’t really have an impact on you at the moment. Creating a realistic and useful schedule will also help you see just how much you can accomplish in a short span of time. You don’t need to feel overwhelmed anymore!

  1. Practice powerful stress management. By itself, stress can be toxic and overwhelming. However, stress will never be more than powerful than the person experiencing it. Why? Because stress is a physiological response to something that is negatively perceived by your mind. In short, your own body and mind generates it – and if something came from you, you can definitely control it. You can manage stress better by:

Staying organized at all times. If you need to accomplish tasks for the day, plan ahead and identify the subtasks and resources that you need to get things done. List down all of these elements and take action immediately so you can begin accomplishing the things that you have to do.

Feel good about your accomplishments. When you’re able to accomplish your obligations and responsibilities, don’t forget to feel good about yourself. Give yourself small rewards for being able to take action and finish tasks even if you didn’t feel like doing them. Feeling good about yourself is part of the conditioning needed for your full recovery from depression.

Create a system. Nothing can be more frustrating than falling behind on your tasks because there are just too many steps and subtasks to complete.

Invent your own unique style in accomplishing tasks and keep using the styles that work best for you. In the end, you will have a whole system that you can use to improve your overall capacity to finish tasks on time and in a satisfactory manner.

Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is exerting a conscious effort to “live in the moment” no matter how hectic things get in your life. Meditation is just one way to be mindful.

Having tea in the morning and setting aside 15 minutes of solitude for yourself is another way to reap the benefits of mindfulness. As long as you can have some peaceful “me time,” you’ll enjoy the rewards of being mindful.

  1. Don’t let those problems and issues accumulate. The worst thing that you can do when you’re depressed is to allow your problems to pile up. The more you let your problems accumulate, the more helpless you will feel in the long term. Be the best problem solver that you can be whenever issues come up in your life.

If you can’t handle your current set of problems, learn to reach out to your support system or even your psychotherapist so you will have another guiding voice helping you. There’s nothing embarrassing about admitting that you don’t know how to solve a problem.

What if something doesn’t work out as planned?

Instead of becoming depressed or angry with yourself, seek an alternative solution to your problem. Avoid the “one track mind” when it comes to solving problems.

List down all the factors and/or elements of your present issue and try to find an angle that you haven’t explored yet. If you can’t think of a solution at the moment, try “sleeping on it” to give your mind enough time to formulate an alternative solution.