Coping skills

4 Tips for Reducing Anxiety & Depression 

Katie Donahoo

Photo by Nathan Cowley on

Anxious and depressed symptoms are common throughout the lifespan. Everyone has felt stressed out, overwhelmed, sad, and lethargic. Individually these symptoms are often manageable with a few coping strategies. Here are a few tips to keep your symptoms of anxiety and depression under control. 

  1. Sleep and Wake Cycle – Maintaining a healthy sleep and wake cycle can make the world of difference. It’s common knowledge that sleep can be one of the most impactful health benefits not only for physical well being but for your emotional well being too. When you stick to a healthy sleep and wake cycle your body will be at it’s best. To do this try to wake up and lie down at the same time each day. After a while your body’s natural rhythm will adapt and you will find yourself getting tired just before you bedtime. You will likely also notice yourself waking up around the same time daily feeling more refreshed and energized than when you stay up late and sleep in. If you keep your sleep and wake cycle similar on days off you will have more success staying on the cycle than if you allow yourself to stay up several hours later thinking you will just sleep in the next day. 
  2. Look Good Feel Good – It’s easy to skip taking a shower or doing your makeup when you are feeling down. But if you are trying to fend off a depression then taking the time to get ready in the morning can make a big difference. When we feel clean, attractive, and put together we have more energy and our self esteem is lifted. When we think we look good we feel better about ourself and our interactions in the world. When we feel good it’s easier to have a positive outlook on the day. I’m not the kind of person to put too much emphasis on my looks, but I know that when I’m starting to feel down about myself or my life putting effort into these areas will impact my emotional state so I do it. Take a moment a think about the last time you really put effort into your morning routine. Wearing your favorite outfit, looking in the mirror ad liking what you saw, the pep in your step as you headed off for the day. When we look good we feel good; so put on your favorite outfit and notice the difference it makes. 
  3. Touch Base – Humans are story telling creatures. We talk to others to express all kinds of emotions. Think about the last time you had great news, you probably told everyone you know and their mother. It feels good to talk about what is going on in our lives and it’s your brains way of helping to process information. If you are feeling anxious or depressed challenge yourself to touch base with a friend, loved one, sibling, or co-worker. Simply stating what is going on with you can alleviate some of your feelings. Often acknowledging our emotions diminishes their impact. You may not be able to solve whatever problems you may be having in life, but like Mr. Roger’s said “If it’s mentionable it’s manageable. So get out there and start mentioning your feelings. 
  4. Go Outside – Step out of your house, apartment, trailer, whatever and get into nature. You don’t have to go for a woodland hike or a stroll on the beach to get in touch with nature. Sit on your porch, stoop, curb, etc and take a few deep breaths. Nature is where we belong. Take off your shoes and walk in your grass, pick up some leaves or run your hand over a bush. Spending time outdoors can help you regulate your emotional state. If you have a beautiful, nature filled area great! If you live in a more urban area don’t worry about it. Breath in the fresh air, look up at the sky, feel your feet planted to the earth. Reconnect with the world around you and you will notice a change in yourself. 

These tips are not intended to replace counseling or medications you may be taking. Adding these routines and tips to your day to life will not fully treat anxiety or depression. Tips to reduce anxiety and depression come in all forms. If you are suffering with contact anxiety or depression please seek professional help. Healing is possible, help is available.