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10 Ways to Manage Common Depression Triggers

Angela Paoli
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Depressed woman sitting on floor
Have you or someone you know struggled with feelings of depression? Maybe you haven't been feeling yourself for a while, dealing with stress, or struggling with the changing seasons. Here are 10 ways to manage common depression triggers.

Depression is more common than you think. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 280 million people in the world have depression. And while there are many reasons why people experience depression, the good news is that there are ways to manage common depression triggers.

Let's dive in!

» Looking for professional, hands-on support? Check out the best online therapy for depression.

1. Do Regular Exercise

Regular exercise has been proven to improve your physical and mental health. Not getting enough exercise can trigger feelings of depression, so it’s important to try to incorporate exercise into your routine.

Exercise doesn’t always have to be a sweat session at the gym. Any regular physical activity, such as walks, household chores, or even dancing, can help reduce feelings of depression.

2. Get Outside

Not getting enough sunlight can lead to low energy, loss of motivation, and feelings of depression. Sunshine makes us feel good, and spending lots of time outside is one of the easiest ways to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.

Many people notice the impacts of a lack of sunshine in the winter months. If this is true for you, it's possible that you may be experiencing seasonal affective disorder. It’s important to get some sun year-round, but a SAD lamp can help during those winter months when sunshine is scarce.

Woman sitting on a swing.

3. Socialize Regularly

Humans are social beings. For as long as humankind has been around, we have survived by being part of a social circle.

Lack of socialization can lead to feelings of depression, loneliness, and low self-esteem. Even if you consider yourself more introverted, it’s important to socialize with people who make you feel recharged or relaxed in order to stay mentally healthy.

4. Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep is essential for managing your mood. When we consistently get poor sleep, our body is forced to make decisions about what it can focus on when it is exhausted.

Regulating your emotions is oftentimes one of those things your body cannot focus on when you are chronically sleep-deprived, leading to feelings of depression. Improving your sleep is one of the quickest and most effective ways to improve your mood.

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5. Eat Nutritious Food

If you were to eat mostly junk food, do you think you would feel good? Do you tend to stress eat when feeling down or overwhelmed? Not only can doing so cause you unhealthy habits that can cause more mental health issues in the long run, but your body may be overwhelmed and also lack key nutrients to help you function.

While it’s important to enjoy food and not restrict ourselves, a lack of nutrition can cause low energy and brain fog and make it difficult to feel good, while eating healthy foods can significantly improve your mood.

6. Set Goals

Believe it or not, setting both short- and long-term goals can significantly improve mood and help manage triggers commonly associated with depression.

This strategy is effective not only for personal aspirations but also for everyday tasks at home and responsibilities at work. Engaging in goal setting can break the cycle of procrastination, a frequent contributor to stress and diminished mood.

By proactively establishing and pursuing achievable objectives, individuals can create a positive feedback loop that combats stagnation, reduces stress, and fosters a sense of accomplishment.

» Does someone you know struggle with depression? Check out these helpful do's and don'ts to support a friend with depression.

Person writing in a notebook.

7. Build a Support System

Improving your support systems can be one of the most powerful ways to manage common depression triggers. It’s important to have people in your life who you can talk to about your feelings. If not, you may feel isolated and alone.

Studies have shown that just having someone to listen to us or validate our experience can lead to an improved mood and reduced depressive symptoms. If you are struggling to find support, there are many incredible online resources you can turn to for assistance. Online support groups, classes, therapists, or chat rooms are a great start!

8. Establish Healthy Boundaries

Improving your ability to set boundaries is also essential in managing depression triggers and coming out of a depressive state. If you struggle with establishing boundaries, you may find that you are spreading yourself too thin in various aspects of your life—perhaps with work, parenting, or your social life.

It’s important to know when and how to say no so that you don’t become burned out and overextended. Individual or couples therapy is a good place to start if you want to improve your boundaries.

9. Practice Meditation and Mindfulness

Many people don’t realize the serious benefits of taking a few minutes out of their day to practice mindfulness or meditation. Most of us can find 10 minutes in our day for a quick meditation session.

Research shows that spending 10 minutes a day engaging in meditation, mindfulness, or any gratitude practice can significantly improve your mood, manage common depression triggers, and reduce symptoms of depression.

10. See a Therapist

Seeking therapy is always a good choice, even if you feel like your symptoms "aren't that bad.” It’s a common misconception that you have to wait until you’ve reached rock bottom to start therapy.

Therapy is helpful no matter your situation. However, engaging in it sooner rather than later can prevent you from hitting rock bottom in the first place. It’s hard to know how to pull yourself out of a depressive state, but seeing a therapist can help you explore ways to reduce symptoms of depression and get back to feeling like yourself again.

Smiling woman waving at a laptop camera.

Don't Be Afraid To Ask For Help

Living with depression can be an ongoing challenge, but you don't have to go through it alone. Reach out to professional therapists on ReGain or Teen Counseling for guidance and support, and give these tips a try to manage depression triggers and improve your mood.

» Worried about your finances? These online therapy services take insurance.

Angela Paoli
Angela Paoli writes for Top10.com and is currently works as a tele-health Therapist Associate providing evidence-based treatments to diverse individuals who are experiencing anxiety, depression, PTSD, bipolar, insomnia, ADHD, etc. She holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has over a decade of experience working as a licensed social worker and online therapist. She specializes in providing mental health services to US military members and their families.

The author of this article has been paid by Natural Intelligence to write this article. Neither the author nor Natural Intelligence provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or your local emergency number immediately.