woman meditating

How to Brave a Changing World: 6 Best Coping Skills for Anxiety & Depression

The world is much more complicated than it used to be. Your human instincts evolved to prepare you for things like weaving, gathering, and occasionally running from predators. But things like balancing your finances or dealing with complicated workplace drama are beyond what your stress systems were designed to cope with. It’s normal to experience anxiety and depression in response to the chaos and demands of a rapidly changing world. If you ever feel overwhelmed to the point of being nervous, sad, or disengaged, you’re not alone.

Anxiety and depression are difficult to manage, so having healthy coping skills is important. Try these 6 coping skills for anxiety and depression to manage your mental health and improve your daily life.

6 Best Coping Skills for Anxiety & Depression

The key to managing anxiety and depression is to channel your energy in new ways. Going in circles only reinforces negative emotions and can increase your stress instead of helping you move forward. These six coping skills can help feel and process your emotions through your body, mind, and connection to others instead of dwelling in a mental space. Stop that negative feedback loop by trying one or all of the following techniques.

1. Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to channel negative energy into something positive, creating strength and confidence. Your body was built to move, and it feels good to get stronger, even a little bit at a time. Exercise creates endorphins which boost your mood and your energy level. It can fight off depression and clear away the mental clutter of anxiety. Exercise also makes your body healthier, which can reduce neurochemical imbalances that cause internal generating anxiety or depression.

woman running at sunset

Types of Exercise Include:

  • Cardio
  • Strength Training
  • Yoga
  • Walking or Running
  • Swimming
  • Rock Climbing
  • Dancing 

It doesn’t matter how you exercise, just that you get your body moving. Incorporate exercise into your routine daily by setting aside time for it. You can take a class, join a fitness group, or just turn on your favorite pumped-up music and get moving at the same time every day. Go for a run before breakfast or a walk after dinner, do yoga during lunch or dance your toes off when you get home from work.

2. Journaling

Journaling is a way to take negative thoughts outside your head and put them on paper. Often, what’s been worrying you will seem less important when you write it down. Or, you will be able to refine specific concerns and make a list of things to do about them instead of worrying without action.

There are two main types of journaling. Stream-of-consciousness journaling can help pour your mental clutter and emotional static onto the page. Some people feel better just by writing it down, and some find peace reading back their words to see the logic (or illogic) of their internal thoughts. Gratitude journaling is another popular approach that helps you frame your life in a positive perspective. Instead of worrying about what could go wrong or stressing about little things, gratitude journaling helps you remember what you value most about your life – and to appreciate happy moments when they are all around you.

There are also two approaches to journaling. Some people keep their journals nearby and quickly jot down thoughts to achieve clarity at any moment. Others set aside a specific time to journal, like at the beginning or end of the day where you sit down to write. If you need help getting started with journaling, check out these 10 Journal Prompts For Better Mental Health or download the Brave Journal. 

3. Meditation & Mindfulness

Meditation can help you regain your sense of emotional peace and balance at any time. Mindfulness is a popular method based on focusing on the moment. You sit quietly and absorb every sound you can hear. Look around and quietly observe every detail in the room. Empty your mind of regrets, worries, and what-ifs and focus only on what is going on right at that time.

Meditation can also help you go to other mental places, like guided visualization or letting soft music define your new emotional state. Through meditation, you can purposefully direct stress to flow out of each muscle in your body, breathe in positive energy, and overcome negative emotions that may have seemed overwhelming a moment before.

You can meditate anywhere, any time. However, some people choose to create a quiet moment each day to find their center and seek inner clarity. Check out this blog article to learn more about the 5 main types of meditation and how to practice each one.  

4. Leaning on Your Support System

3 people with their arms around each other

The supportive people in your life are a valuable source when you struggle with anxiety or depression. Mentally sort the people in your personal life by who makes you feel good, who supports your goals and feelings, and who doesn’t. Spend more time with people who make you feel good and encourage you to be your best self.

You can also connect with new people through activity and positivity. Try to engage in one act of kindness or give at least one compliment each day and see where the world takes you from there. You may gain new friends or just brighten someone’s day – and therefore your own. If you feel down, seek out someone who makes you feel good all the time and they will work their magic, sometimes without even knowing that you are leaning on their inherent positivity.

Start texting with your positive people. Book lunches and plan your weekends with people who make you happy. Return their support with your own, encouraging friends and family to seek positivity and be their best selves to form a positive feedback loop where everyone is supported.

5. Mantras & Positive Self Talk

Negative self-talk is something that many people struggle with. You may criticize yourself constantly, worry over past mistakes, or tell yourself that you’ll fail at future challenges. Don’t let that inner voice get you down. Try to see the negative voice in your head as a rival and instead, be your own best support. Invert those negative thoughts by telling yourself that you can do well and will succeed. You can use positive mantras or just try to talk to yourself with the kindness and support that you would offer any friend. 

It is always the right time to speak to yourself positively. Use mantras any time you are anxious or feel internally discouraged. Switch your self-talk to positive any time you hear those negative thoughts running on a track again.

6. EFT

Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a helpful tool for managing emotional distress. Also known as tapping or psychological acupressure, it involves tapping on specific energy hotspots called Meridian Points. This technique is based on the principles of Chinese medicine and acupuncture and can help you feel more balanced and energized.

You can use EFT any time you start to feel anxious. Try tapping your fingertips on certain parts of your body to help you feel better when experiencing emotional distress.

Improve Your Daily Experience with Daily Coping Routines

Managing anxiety and depression can be challenging, but incorporating healthy coping skills into your daily routine can help. By practicing regular exercise, journaling, mindfulness and meditation, mantras, EFT, and building a support network, you can improve your overall well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.