How to Overcome Depression Triggers

Three Methods:Coping with Known TriggersFinding SupportRecognizing Your Triggers

Stressful experiences like loss or conflict can trigger negative emotions tied to depression such as sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, or fear. By learning how to identify these triggers, you can then learn how to cope with and overcome them. By being more self-aware of your emotions, you will be better able to control them. Seeking support will help you to cope with future triggers and feel less overwhelmed.

Method 1
Coping with Known Triggers

  1. 1
    Take control of your triggers. You are capable of taking action and overcoming your depression triggers. Accept yourself without self-hate and believe that you are powerful and in control. Your emotions are your own and no one else's. You have the power to transform what you think and how you feel.
    • Motivation to change alone may not be all you need to overcome depression and those triggers. But it is the starting point to becoming a happier and healthier person.
    • Choose a mantra to say to yourself, such as "I choose peace" or "I forgive myself" or "Relax, release, ease."[1]
  2. 2
    Recognize your emotional reactions. Learn to train yourself to recognize negative emotions as soon as they occur. You may have automatic thoughts that you don't even notice that could turn negative.[2]
    • Here is an example of how an automatic thought turns negative. The situation is that you received a lower mark than expected on a test. You then thought, "I'm a failure, and I'll never amount to anything." You then feel hopeless and depressed.
    • Think about that instant moment that your automatic thought occurred. What if you could reframe or redirect a negative thought in order to avoid feeling depressed?
  3. 3
    Turn negative emotions into positive ones. While there are some situations in life that can make anyone feel sad, there are ways to reframe a negative emotion or situation into a positive one. While bad things happen, it is how you cope that is important. It can take time to retrain your brain, so don't give up even if it takes time.[3]
    • Here is an example of a trigger that may lead to depressive thoughts: You exercised at the gym. You thought that you didn't push yourself hard enough. You felt disappointed or not good enough.
    • Now here is a more positive approach: You exercised at the gym. You thought that you did a good job of going to the gym and that you will continue to work hard to achieve your fitness goals. You felt satisfied and happy.
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    Find healthy ways to de-stress. Learning to cope with negative thoughts or feelings is important to your overall well-being. While you cannot completely avoid all emotional triggers in life, you can learn to deal with them in an effective and healthy way. Overcoming depression triggers starts with taking care of yourself. Consider these activities:[4]
    • Do something creative. Read. Write. Draw. Play games. Build something.
    • Exercise. Get outdoors. Go to the gym. Take a walk. Go for a bike ride.
    • Eat healthy. Stay hydrated with water. Limit junk food.
    • Meditate or pray. Use your spiritual support to help you de-stress.
    • Be with friends and family that support you.
    • Listen to music. Play music. Sing.
    • Do something new or different. Explore your community. Take a class.
    • Take a relaxing bath. Get a massage. Go to a spa.
    • Be present in the moment. Appreciate the small stuff.
  5. 5
    Avoid triggers when possible. While some triggers are unavoidable, others may be. Once you recognize what your triggers are, there might be ways to avoid them. Think about what activities or people may make you more depressed.
    • Avoid negative or hurtful people that may trigger negative emotions.
    • Avoid activities that you know may trigger negative responses.
    • Create some space or distance between you and your triggers.
  6. 6
    Don't cope by using drugs and alcohol. While alcohol or drugs may seem like a way to escape your problems, they often can further trigger negative emotions. These substances can disturb how your emotions are regulated and they can interact with medications. [5]
    • These substance will inhibit your ability to recover effectively and overcome your triggers long term.

Method 2
Finding Support

  1. 1
    Reach out to friends and family. Don't feel alone in your feelings. Avoid the desire to ignore your feelings of depression. You will likely find greater relief about what you're thinking and feeling when you seek support from someone you trust.
    • Identify a friend or family member that has been supportive in the past. Talk with them about the things that are triggering your feelings of depression.
    • Be open with them and listen to what advice they may have. The people you trust are there to support you.
  2. 2
    Seek a mental health professional. If your feelings of depression are persisting for weeks or months, seek help from your health care provider or a therapist. Professional support will help you in the present and the future. They can help you to learn effective coping skills for depression triggers.
    • Find a therapist who is trained in helping people to cope with emotional triggers such as depression, anxiety, or anger. Ask if the therapist has experience in using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
    • Contact your health insurance about behavioral health providers that are covered under your insurance. Some therapists may be in your healthcare insurance network.
    • Contact a counseling center about low cost options in your area.
    • Talk with your school about counseling options, or your employer about if they have an employee assistance program that may cover the cost of a few counseling sessions.
  3. 3
    Discuss medication options. Your primary doctor may be able to assist with symptom management using medications. You can also request a referral for a psychiatrist for further medical evaluation. Often a combination of therapy and medication can work best to address depression symptoms. [6]
    • Discuss with your primary care physician about any current medications or a family history of depression or anxiety.
    • Understand that medications may not work overnight, but if you stick with them, you will be able to see the effects. Any side effects should be discussed with your doctor.
  4. 4
    Connect with others who are facing depression. Getting support from peers can be reassuring as you cope with depression. Sometimes when a trigger has recently occurred, it is important to reach out quickly to someone who has been through the same feelings. There are many support groups and peer support phone lines to help you.[7]
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    Love yourself. Remember that this is your life and your body. Love and cherish it each day. Be compassionate with yourself. Avoid being too hard or critical of yourself. Often our biggest critic is ourselves.[8]
    • Be confident that you can overcome these emotional triggers of depression.
    • Remind yourself each day of at least three things you like about yourself.

Method 3
Recognizing Your Triggers

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    Examine any recent high stress situations. A new challenge or a difficult situation can trigger negative emotions such as sadness, fear, and anger. If the high stress situations continue to persist or build up over time, this may lead to feelings of depression. You may feel unable to handle or cope with the recent events and possibly feel out of control. High stress situations include:[9]
    • Family conflict
    • A recent or ongoing illness
    • Problems with work or co-workers
    • Problems with school or other students
    • Financial stressors such as debt, managing bills, or a recent loss of a job
    • Relationship problems such as lack of intimacy, poor communication, or a break-up
  2. 2
    Notice your thoughts and reactions to these events. Think before you act. Consider how an event leads to a negative thought which in turn leads to a negative emotion. Your emotions are triggered by events, and sometimes you may react or over-react to the event due to negative thoughts that become triggers.[10]
    • Think about how emotions are connected to both situations and your own thoughts.
    • Some situations may warrant feelings of sadness, such as a recent death in the family. This may lead to depression.
    • Other events may seem to be worse than they actually are. For example, if a teacher states that you are doing good work overall, but gave you a C rather than A, this may make you momentarily sad, but should not trigger depression by itself.
    • Depression is not a momentary feeling of sadness. Depression is something that affects to your daily living and your emotional behavior. Clinical depression lasts for more than two weeks.[11]
  3. 3
    Evaluate any recent life transitions. Big changes in your life or your family's life can have an impact on how you feel about yourself. Sadness may set in if you feel less confident about yourself, your career, your family, or your future. All people experience some form of life transition. Think about how you can focus on your strength and resilience during these times:[12]
    • A recent death or a decline in health requiring more assistance
    • Job loss or a new career path
    • The end of a relationship or marriage
    • Moving away from your friends and family
    • Having friends or family move away
    • A change in roles such as becoming a caregiver for an elderly parent
    • A loss of independence such as no longer driving
  4. 4
    Assess current or past trauma. Our past affects the present. If you have had a traumatic experience as a child, this may impact your current or future feelings as an adult. A traumatic experience can happen no matter what age or your background, but each person may be affected differently by that experience. Think about if there are current places, people, or situations that trigger feelings of depression or anxiety associated with a past event.[13]
    • Avoid the temptation to ignore or avoid your feelings associated with trauma.
    • Avoid self-blame. Be strong and get support for those past experiences.

Article Info

Categories: Depression