Depression is a common mental health disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It can cause feelings of sadness, hopelessness and loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable. Coping with depression can be challenging, but there are healthy ways to manage and overcome it. 

Understanding Unhealthy Coping Skills

Before we dive into the effective coping skills for depression, it’s essential to understand what unhealthy coping skills are and how they can negatively impact your mental health. You can’t understand why positive coping skills are important unless you understand unhealthy coping skills, too.

Unhealthy coping skills are behaviors or actions that people use to deal with difficult emotions or situations. These coping mechanisms may provide temporary relief, but they can be harmful in the long run. Some examples of unhealthy coping skills include substance abuse, self-harm and avoidance.

Using unhealthy coping skills to manage depression can worsen symptoms and make it harder to recover. It’s crucial to recognize these behaviors and replace them with positive coping skills.

6 Coping Skills for Depression

Coping skills can help in many aspects of your life, but specific methods can make a major impact for those struggling with depression. What are some coping skills for depression?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of psychotherapy that focuses on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. It is an evidence-based treatment for depression and has been shown to be effective in managing symptoms.

CBT helps individuals identify and challenge negative thoughts and replace them with more positive and realistic ones. It also teaches coping skills to manage difficult emotions and situations. CBT can be done individually or in a group setting with a trained therapist.


Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is another type of psychotherapy that has been proven to be effective in treating depression. It combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques to help individuals regulate their emotions and improve their relationships.


DBT focuses on four main areas: mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation and interpersonal effectiveness. These skills can help individuals cope with difficult emotions and situations, which can be beneficial in managing depression.


Exercise is a powerful coping skill for depression. It releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that can improve mood and reduce stress and anxiety. Regular exercise can also improve sleep, boost self-esteem and increase energy levels.

You don’t have to engage in intense workouts to reap the benefits of exercise. Even a short walk or yoga session can make a difference in managing depression symptoms. Find an activity that you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine.

Mindfulness and meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are practices that involve focusing on the present moment and accepting your thoughts and feelings without judgment. These techniques can help individuals manage stress, anxiety and depression.

Research has shown that mindfulness and meditation can change the brain’s structure and function, leading to improved emotional regulation and reduced symptoms of depression. You can practice mindfulness and meditation through guided meditations, yoga or simply by focusing on your breath for a few minutes each day.


Creative outlets

Engaging in creative activities can be an effective coping skill for depression. Art, music and writing can help individuals express their emotions and thoughts in a healthy way. These activities can also provide a sense of accomplishment and boost self-esteem.

You don’t have to be an expert in any of these areas to benefit from creative outlets. The goal is to engage in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good. You can also join a class or group to connect with others who share similar interests.

Healthy coping strategies

In addition to the coping skills mentioned above, there are several healthy coping strategies that can help individuals manage depression. These include:

  • Talking to a trusted friend or family member
  • Practicing self-care activities such as taking a bath, reading a book or watching a movie
  • Setting realistic goals and celebrating small achievements
  • Getting enough sleep and maintaining a regular sleep schedule
  • Eating a balanced and nutritious diet
  • Avoiding drugs and alcohol

Seeking Professional Help

While coping skills can be helpful in managing depression, it’s essential to seek professional help if you’re struggling with symptoms. A therapist or mental health professional can provide you with the necessary support and guidance to overcome depression.

Therapy can help you identify the root cause of your depression and develop coping skills that work best for you. It can also provide a safe and non-judgmental space to express your thoughts and feelings.

Learn Coping Skills for Help with Depression

Depression can be a challenging disorder to cope with, but there are effective ways to manage and overcome it. By understanding unhealthy coping skills and replacing them with positive ones, seeking professional help and practicing self-care, you can improve your mental health and well-being. Remember, everyone’s journey is different, and it’s essential to find coping skills that work best for you. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and support when you need it.

If you are struggling with how to develop strong coping skills, Bloomington Meadows Hospital can help you. Located in Bloomington, Indiana, our behavioral health center is dedicated to helping patients restore their health and get a fresh start. Call us today at 1-833-902-2410 to get started.

In case of a mental health crisis, CALL 988 or seek the nearest emergency room.

For physical health emergencies, CALL 911 or seek the nearest emergency room.

About Bloomington Meadows Hospital

Bloomington Meadows Hospital specializes in providing each patient with a comprehensive behavioral and mental health counseling programs from a compassionate and caring staff. We pride ourselves on being dedicated to helping patients restore their health and obtain a fresh start.

We under that every person is unique, so all of our treatment plans and mental health counseling programs are individually designed to meet specific needs. Some of our services include our adults and children & adolescents programs, as well as our intensive outpatient programs.

We’re committed to the wellness of our patients, their families and the communities we serve. To schedule a no-cost assessment or for more information, please call 1-833-972-3358.