How Do We Cope with Depression Triggers?

May 6, 2024 Dawn Gressard

Coping with depression triggers generally requires practicing specific skills. It isn't always easy to continuously do so, especially when the skills should be practiced proactively. However, practicing coping skills and being self-aware of how to cope with depression triggers could help some either avoid a depressive episode or experience a less severe depressive episode. 

Tips for Coping with Depression Triggers

Along my major depressive disorder recovery journey, I have come up with a few tips on coping with depression triggers that have helped me along the way and will hopefully help you. 

Be Proactive with Coping Skills for Depression Triggers

First, I have found that it is essential to be self-aware and begin to recognize your most common depression triggers in order to cope with them more effectively. Is it a person, specific calendar day, holiday, place, song, movie genre, or something else? Regardless of the trigger, having coping mechanisms ready and a wellness plan in place is critical. Self-awareness is also vital. 

For example, Memorial Day is coming up in a few weeks, and for many veterans, it can be a trigger for depression. Therefore, to lessen the chance of falling into depression or having a depressive episode lasting as long as it usually does, the veteran must have a depression-trigger coping plan in place. It could be having lunch or dinner with a loved one, creating a busy schedule for the day, participating in Memorial Day activities, volunteering at a hospital, or taking a self-care day. The trigger may not be overbearing if the veteran is proactive. 

Be Mindful When Coping with Depression Triggers

Mindfulness is often misconstrued as meditation, but it's much more than that. Yes, meditation is a way to be mindful, but there are other ways to practice mindfulness. I know I have not perfected the art of meditation because I either fall asleep or my mind wanders all over the place. However, I think it is all about being in the moment and enjoying what life is now, not the past or future. So, even if it is just breathing exercises or standing out in nature for a few minutes, take time to stop and take a moment for yourself to reflect on the good things going on now. Look for the silver lining, per se, to be present in the now. Being mindful takes practice; it doesn't happen overnight. 

Challenging Negative Thoughts When Coping with Depression Triggers 

Challenging your negative thoughts stems from being mindful. For instance, when triggered, I tend to get emotional and thus tend to jump to conclusions and blow things out of proportion. Being self-aware and mindful allows me to stop and rethink how I comprehend the trigger or trauma. I have to stop and ask myself what is truthfully going on. In other words, challenging your negative thoughts means being mindful of the situation at hand and that you are in a situation where you could go into an emotional spiral if your thinking doesn't change. Changing negative thoughts when coping with depression triggers requires thinking logically. Then, much like mindfulness, it also takes a lot of practice. 

Coping with depression triggers is not an easy task in any way, shape, or form. Plus, even with practice, there will be triggers that may catch us off guard. Life happens. Yet, if we are proactive and mindful and attempt to change our negative thinking into more logical thinking, we can lessen the amount and severity of future depressive episodes. 

I would like to hear what you all think and if you have any tips on coping with depression triggers. 

APA Reference
Gressard, D. (2024, May 6). How Do We Cope with Depression Triggers?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Dawn Gressard

Dawn Gressard is a freelance Veterans Affairs benefits, mental health wellness, and suicide prevention writer and a trainer of a peer-supported suicide prevention and crisis intervention program. Find Dawn on X, Instagram, LinkedIn, and her personal blog.

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