If you’re someone who struggles with mental health distress, you likely understand how difficult it can be to cope with it. Knowing how to cope with hardships and stress is vital for our well-being. Therefore, it is essential to identify and utilize healthy coping skills that work for you so you no longer feel controlled by problematic thoughts and emotions.
Why Do Coping Skills Matter?
Often, when people consider coping skills, they consider healthy and positive techniques. However coping skills can be both good and bad. Some coping skills, such as substance use or binge eating, may provide temporary relief but will inevitably contribute to worsening health problems down the line. Hence, it is necessary to ensure that you’re taking advantage of healthy coping skills that will benefit your mental health.
Because there are so many different coping skills, not all of them may be a good fit for you. Take some time to consider what helps you calm down after an emotional or stressful event. Many of us have coping skills that we don’t even realize we’re using.
Further, mental health disorders and associated symptoms can result from a dysregulated nervous system. In turn, these conditions can exaggerate feelings of panic, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, coping skills can help regulate your nervous system by slowing it down. Understanding different coping skills can be proactive for your mental health, even if you are not struggling with a mental health disorder.
One of the most effective ways to improve your coping skills is through therapy. Meeting with a mental health therapist can be an excellent opportunity to discuss your existing coping skills and discover new ones that may be useful in the future. If you feel that you may have some unhealthy coping skills, then your therapist can help you work through those and identify healthier alternatives.
Another great way to learn new coping skills is through trial and error. Making a list of all the coping skills that interest you can be helpful so that you can choose one next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. Writing in a journal can help you keep track of your coping skills so that you can remember which ones are worth using in the future. Remember, everyone responds to coping skills differently. What may work well for your friend may not work for you, and vice versa.
What Is Persistent Depressive Disorder?
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is a type of chronic depression. Compared to major depressive disorder, PPD may not be as severe but is typically longer lasting. For a diagnosis, an individual must experience a combination of depressive symptoms for at least two years. PDD can make daily life very difficult and make even the simplest of tasks seem unbearable.
Symptoms for PPD may include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of energy
- Low self-esteem
- Increased or chronic fatigue
- Change in sleeping and eating habits
Antidepressant medications can help treat PPD. However, medications are most effective when they are used in combination with traditional treatment, such as therapy.
Coping Skills for PDD
Although treatment may be the most effective in treating PPD, coping skills are essential for lasting recovery. Here are several examples of healthy coping skills that you can utilize in response to PPD or other general mental distress.
Getting exercise is important for both the body and the mind. Making sure that you’re active is a great way to relieve stress and regulate your nervous system. It’s important to find a form of exercise that you enjoy. Being creative when it comes to exercise is a great way to make sure that you’re improving your mental health and taking care of your body.
Have Fun Cooking
Food can be an incredibly powerful tool, and it can also impact mental health. Cooking healthy, delicious food can be a great coping skill. Looking forward to cooking dinner can provide you with motivation throughout the day. If you don’t have the energy to cook a meal, consider buying some healthy snack options.
Reach Out to Others
Feeling depressed can be isolating. Relying on the support of friends and family can be an incredible way to process difficult emotions and stay focused on reality.
Keep a Journal
Journaling can be a helpful tool, as it can help you remain aware of your thought patterns. If you notice that you begin to feel more depressed at a certain time of day or place in the week, then you can journal about it. This can be helpful when you want to reflect and notice if there have been any common patterns.
Meditation is an excellent way to take some time to focus on your thoughts and reset your outlook. If meditating feels overwhelming, consider looking up a guided meditation online or seeking out a meditation specialist.
Get Involved in Your Community
If you feel like the days are too long, then consider volunteering or finding ways to be involved in your community. A sense of community can make you feel less alone and is a great way to get emotional support.
At SoCal Mental Health, we understand that finding the right coping skills for your mental health is vital for your well-being. Doing so can help you regulate your nervous system and reduce distressing symptoms. We understand that developing positive coping skills can be overwhelming and challenging, so we’re here to help you discover new coping skills through treatment. If you or a loved one is struggling with persistent depressive disorder, we can help treat the underlying causes and encourage lasting success in your recovery. Additionally, we offer a range of different treatment programs to help meet individuals exactly where they are at. To learn more, call us today at (949) 502-2041.