Does the way I respond to stress affect my depression?

Techniques for Managing Stress You will be better able to manage stress in your life if you:

  • learn to relax
  • find ways to change negative thinking
  • build a support system

All of us have stress in our lives. While you can't always control the factors that cause stress, you can control your reaction to stress. If you take action to manage the stress in your life, it will be easier to deal with the symptoms of depression.

In the pages that follow, you will find proven techniques for learning to relax. Learning to relax is one of the most important steps you can take for managing stress and being better able to deal with your symptoms of depression.

There are other actions you can take that will also help you manage stress. Learning to change negative patterns of thinking is one.

Building a support system will also enable you to better handle stress. With a support system, you are less likely to feel you are alone when things get rough. Also, your support system can help you keep what you are feeling and what is happening around you in perspective. 

Learn to Relax

Relaxation can not only help you through difficult periods, but over time, it can reduce your overall stress. Studies have shown that relaxing on a regular basis can decrease anxiety, speed the effectiveness of psychotherapy, and reduce your dependency on drugs and alcohol. Relaxing can reduce the agitation that's often an early warning sign of a mood swing.

There are plenty of ways to relax. You can use the techniques described here. You can also take a relaxation or meditation class at a hospital, local college, community center, or mental health agency. There are also plenty of self-help instructional videos and audiotapes that can help you relax. You can often find these tapes at health food stores, libraries, or music and video stores. Once you learn the techniques, you can also make your own audiotapes.

You can use the following techniques to help you learn to relax and better deal with stress.

Deep breathing

Alternate nostril breathing

Progressive muscle relaxation


Guided imagery