Hello, again Friends!
This past Sunday on Geek Devotions we started talking about Suicide prevention week an and the very real issues going on with mental health across the world. On Sunday I gave 5 tips to start helping you improve mental health. Today let’s talk coping skills!
Coping skills are one of the best ways to help manage symptoms as you work through issues. A lot of coping skills cross over to multiple issues. Today is geared more towards depression. Some coping skills work great for one person and not so great for others but here are a few that I personally have heard work the best by a large number of people.
- Prayer! Yes, this is a coping skill. A lot of my clients find that seeking God helps them deal with the symptoms and often shows them what the next step is that they need to take to start healing. This one works great across the board in the Mental health arena.
- Reading: A lot of therapists recommend reading books about people that dealt with depression and overcame. Others recommend this as a great hobby to learn from even fictional characters and take a bit of break from the world around you. For those that read the Bible for a coping skill let me be VERY clear. The Bible should NOT be taken out of context.
When we read the word of God and just pull out one verse, we often miss the principle we were supposed to be learning. A lot of what is spoken of in the Bible requires action from us as well. I highly recommend that if you are using the Bible as your reading material, that you start by reading chapter by chapter or doing a devotional. Also, try reaching out to your local pastor for assistance if something seems odd that you read.
- Exercise: I know this is a word many dread to see or hear, but it is 100% true. Exercise allows the body to release endorphins that cause the body to feel better. The human body is complex, and God designed us with things already in place for us, so when the time comes, we would have it. Endorphins act like our body’s medicine and help us to relax from worry and feel good. Exercise should be done for at least 30 minutes a day 3 to 5 days a week. Joining a gym and actually going can also help foster social interaction.
- Girls or Guy night: We are social beings and were made to be like that. By actively taking a night to do something with a couple friends like see a movie, eat dinner, or even just sit around and drink coffee can be a great resource. That said, there are rules to these nights. For starters use positive speech. Being negative will only increase feelings of loneliness and frustration.Second, NO drinking alcohol! Look, I know this disturbs some people, but alcohol is a depressant! Drinking will increase your symptoms as well as many illegal drugs. Many are of the belief that alcohol can loosen you up but when you have depression or anxiety going on alcohol is not the answer you may have been led to believe.
- Keep a journal: Expressing your feelings is important and can often be a way of finding a root to why you feel the way you do. I encourage all my clients to keep a journal of some kind. I had a young teenage artist that hating writing, but she could draw her feelings. Her art was beautiful and expressive and helped in identifying where she struggled with self-esteem and uncovering past traumas that she thought had no real effect. After addressing those issues in therapy, she was able to sleep a normal 8-hour night instead of 16 hours and looked forward to the day.
- Change in diet: I know we hate the very mention of the word diet, but it is actually true that our diet affects us. If all we eat is junk, then the body is deprived of the nutrients it Try eating well-balanced meals daily. See your doctor about what changes you could make to your diet that would help you best.
- Change your routine: Sometimes our daily life has a routine that is actually preventing us from getting better. Change is hard sometimes, but it can be amazing if done right. Start by changing the small things. If your house is kind of cluttered, then take a week to go room by room removing things that are just collecting dust and organise the room. Bringing order to the house, we live in can lower our stress levels and help us feel more relaxed in our own homes. Yes, cleaning is not fun sometimes, but the reward is worth it. If you go home every night just picking up fast food and sitting in front of the TV every night then change it up a bit. Cook the meal at home, or eat at the table with family or friends.
These are just a few things that we recommend to clients suffering from depression. Again, keep in mind that coping skills are meant to be tailored to you, so not all these will work for you but could in combination with others. For those that feel depressed and feel like they are roadblocked, I do highly recommend that you see a counsellor. While coping skills are great, if you don’t deal with the root of the issue then it will not go away. So if you need assistance or just a gentle nudge back on track do not hesitate to get a counsellor.
Below you will find some help hotlines and links if you are need of someone to speak with.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-272-8255
SAMHSA’s National addiction Helpline: 1-800-662-4257
For international numbers use the link: http://ibpf.org/resource/list-international-suicide-hotlines
This article was written by Damara L. Mora, PLPC of Shreveport, LA. She is a counsellor and she runs a blog called CoffeeTalk318. If you’d like to learn more about CoffeeTalk318 then click the image below!