Small Changes to Boost Your Ability to Cope with Depression

December 28, 2016 Tiffanie Verbeke

Small changes can help you cope with depression more effectively. Here are two small changes that will make a positive difference in your life. Take a look.

Small changes to your coping with depression habits can dramatically improve your mental health and your life experience. We often think that change has to be big and immediate, but small, long-term changes are just as effective. By incorporating a few small changes into your daily routine, you can practice creating new habits with realistic standards. Here are two small changes I have made that have improved my coping with depression.

Two Small Changes that Can Help You Cope with Depression

Say 'Thank You' Instead of 'I'm Sorry'

I say that I am sorry for almost everything, even things that may be perceived as positive (Over-Apologizing with An Anxiety Disorder). Constantly apologizing creates this unshakable sense of guilt and the feeling that I am not good enough. We apologize because we screw up a little bit and saying "sorry" all the time implies that I am always screwing up. And although I make mistakes, I don't make as many mistakes as I make apologies.

For the past several months, I have been saying "thank you" instead of "I'm sorry." This action has improved my interactions with my partner and my friends and it turns moments of guilt into moments of gratitude (Be Thankful, Not Sorry). For example, instead of saying, "I'm sorry for being so irritating today," I say, "Thank you for being patient with me." The appreciation surrounding that exchange is infinitely positive and improves my mindset in various interactions. Instead of being sorry all the time, I am thankful.

Learn How and When to Replace Apologies with Thank-Yous

Write About Your Coping with Depression Experience

Small changes can help you cope with depression more effectively. Here are two small changes that will make a positive difference in your life. Take a look.Write about your life, whether it is your experience coping with depression, the dog you saw in the park, or the weird interaction you had with an old friend. Writing can be beneficial in working through issues because it puts things into a viewable format. Putting things down on paper is therapeutic and also helps sort your brain's inner workings.

Journaling is the most popular way I've seen people carry out personal writing, via a blog, bullet journal, or the old-fashioned diary, but I find that to be a chore. If I write extensively about my problems, I dwell too much and act too little, focusing on how I write about things instead of what I write down, so I make lists.

Lists are perfect for me because they are quick, expandable, and easy to mark up. I can highlight things I'd like to think more about, circle things I want to talk about with someone, and so on. Regardless of the way you write, writing can improve your depression-coping abilities and life experience (Your Mental Health Toolbox: Journaling As Self-Care).

Long-Term, Small Changes Improve Your Coping Skills

Small changes that you work on over a long period of time can improve your experience coping with depression. But what's more is that those changes can improve your life in general. Focus on recognizing what you would like to be different in your life and then come up with a way to improve those areas with small changes. It's actually pretty fun to see how something little can create such influential change.

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APA Reference
Verbeke, T. (2016, December 28). Small Changes to Boost Your Ability to Cope with Depression, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 13 from

Author: Tiffanie Verbeke

Tiffanie Verbeke is a writer who delights in thinking and despises typing. She gets fired up about mental health and societal inequalities and she finds joy in driving under shadowy trees, running when it's raining, and kids' brutal honesty. Tiffanie welcomes feedback, so contact her freely. Connect with Tiffanie on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and her personal blog.

January, 13 2017 at 10:10 am

What is like to have Bipolar Disorder. I have fought this for years and years and let it rule my life. I decided to embrace the odd changes that come with Bipolar. When you go to be you will be surprised every morning with what mood you are in. Once that is determined decided what you are going to do with that mood. I am learning to accept the fact that I have a mental health disorder called bipolar. I explained to my psychiatric and psychologist that they know what Bipolar is by going to collage, studying and reading; but until you deal with Bipolar you just can't understand. I know I am Bipolar, I have been Bipolar in the past, and I will always be Bipolar. So learn to laugh at some of the ways we act or react to our moods. Remember it is like a virus; it comes and then it is gone.

January, 5 2017 at 8:04 pm

Both of these were really great tips, but I especially love the first one about being too apologetic. This article arrived in my inbox at such perfect timing because my "new year's resolution" was to start living unapologetically (for who I am and my personal 'quirks.') That's the only thing I knew to do when I realized that I'm constantly saying and feeling "I'm sorry" for every single thing I do. It's gotten to the point to where I've literally become "sorry" just for my very existence, as sad as that sounds. I didn't even notice that I'd become so full of guilt for things I don't need to feel guilty or apologetic for! I've started reminding myself that my thoughts do not reflect what the people around me are thinking/feeling. So when I catch myself thinking that I must be burdensome to people, I remind myself that these feelings/thoughts are MINE only and they stem from fear and anxiety, they're not an accurate reflection of how my loved ones really think of me.
It's something I'm having to be mindful of in order to catch and improve, but I've already found some relief when I am able to stop and remind myself that there's not actually a legitimate reason for be to be so apologetic. I've also learned to kind of combat some of these negative thinking patterns with "logic". For example, when I start thinking that I'm a burden on someone, I'll take that thought and ask myself "what about this person's behavior would make me think that they find me burdensome?"
Then I ask myself "is it possible that you're misreading things?"
Then I go over a few logical reasons that would cause the person to behave in whatever way they behaved that spurred my worries of being a burden. If they slammed a door, for example, I can say "it's possible that this person slammed the door because they were in a hurry, and it doesn't mean they're angry with me."
I guess it's kind of like re-wiring your thinking patterns, but boy did I need to! ;)
I find it interesting that you noted the link between anxiety and over-apologizing. I don't think I've ever connected the two, but as someone who has anxiety and depression, I can definitely see how being over-apologetic can stem from those. Thinking back, I didn't find myself feeling sorry and guilty in the past before I developed the anxiety and depression. Just want to say thanks for putting this information out there! Very helpful.
I'm glad you chose to address the "small" changes because I'm learning myself just how big of a difference these small steps can have.

January, 5 2017 at 10:53 am

Depression can be very serious or signal a deep life change.
In other cultures, depression is seen as a time of growth and deep introspection towards new understandings.
However, it can be extremely. Serious and lead to suicide if unchecked . If caused by dramatic life changes, or deep trauma. You better find trust worthy help.
You can lose years if not taken care of
It is now compared to cancer in its potential devastating affects.
Study's show that exercise works better than Anti depressants promoted by large pharmaceutical company's
Take care. Get help and use all your coping skills to pull out of it before it pulls you into a helpless pit

January, 1 2017 at 2:47 pm

You cannot train for a marathon in a month. If you try, you will pay the piper. I do think that GAD and depression recovery takes a lot of time and baby steps. Gratitude and thankfulness are positive attributes. With time those attributes will become a persons soul. With time, recovery.

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