4 Steps to Cope With Depression and Anxiety

 It’s no secret that we all struggle at times with anxiety and depression. Maybe it’s the business of the holidays, finances this time of year, or even family stressors. Having  anxiety and sadness can take a toll on us in many ways, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and like life is unmanageable. It can also impact our ability to function and our ability to connect and interact with others. Learning to cope with depression and anxiety when it gets too much can be rather difficult.

Unfortunately, when we live our lives with feeling too much anxiety and ultimate sadness,  it affects all aspects of our lives. We may find it difficult to focus and feel like life is out of control. We may feel irritable and alone. It’s easy to operate in this fast paced way when you are under so much anxiety. We may feel reactive to things and become easily sad and mad at others, or even ourselves.

Not only does living this way affect how we feel and react but if affects our behavior too. When we are constantly affected by symptoms of anxiety and depression we tend to avoid things in our lives that really need our attention. We may avoid from a place of fear and anxiety or from lack of motivation, apathy or depression. Whatever the case, it’s not healthy.

man sitting on a bench at sunset with his hand on his head

Maybe it looks like this for you when you have trouble coping with anxiety and depression: 

You feel overwhelmed all the time, you even have physical symptoms like your heart beats in a pounding way. You wonder if you’re having heart palpitations and if something is really wrong. Getting help seems way too overwhelming and you don’t know where to start -but the stressors keep coming and seem to pile on top of one another. You hope this will go away, but it doesn’t… it just seems like it’s getting worse you worry that other people are starting to notice.  You can’t take the pressure… it’s just too much- and you feel like you’re going to lose it at any moment. 

Or… it may play out like this: 

You have low motivation, you don’t want to admit to anyone… You long for connection with others but can’t seem to make it happen.. You seem more  irritable these days. You just want to be left alone but at the same time you feel so lonely. You just want this feeling to go away…or to understand it and know how to cope. The truth is, you know these are symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, you don’t know what will help.

Unfortunately, when we feel this way, we want to avoid everything… at all costs. Perhaps we don’t “feel” depressed or anxious because we aren’t outright crying or feel “sad”. We don’t understand what’s going on. When we avoid our own feelings they tend to continue and even increase. This is because we aren’t dealing with the main problem and when more of life’s situations happen, it just piles more onto our plate. Sometimes we can even feel symptoms of anxiety and depression together at the same time. 

Eventually, you end up feeling like life is out of control and unmanageable. 

This is very common and it is important to know you are not alone. Many people we see at our Simi Valley mental health clinic struggle with depression, anxiety or both…. And it is very common for both to be present. So many people struggle to manage their life with these symptoms and it can feel like an uphill battle. It is okay to not know what to do… or to feel like nothing will help. These are normal feelings… however it is important to know that there is help and these feelings can change.

It’s true that symptoms of anxiety and depression can affect your entire life paralyzing your day to day activities. It may even feel hopeless at times.  However, if you can learn strategies on how to recognize and manage these symptoms and even ask for help when you need it, you will find that your life can improve in a multitude of ways. When we can effectively manage our tension and stress we can live a much more balanced and functional life. 

Teen with a hood on sitting alone on a rock near a beach

What can happen if I don’t get the help I need to cope with depression and anxiety?

Before learning strategies to effectively deal with your symptoms of anxiety and depression, your life may feel isolated and alone. You may struggle with self-care and feeling good enough. You may struggle with wanting to do important things but get overwhelmed and put it off or avoid it for another day. Perhaps your connections with others are affected also, and you don’t know how to get help or what will help at all.

Living this way will feel out of control and you may notice your anxiety and depression symptoms just increase. You may feel embarrassed or even shame that it’s gotten this far and not know how to get your life back.

What will it look like after I get help to cope with anxiety and depression: 

After learning the strategies on how to recognize and manage symptoms of anxiety and depression, you will feel like you have much more control over your life. You will feel  lighter and like you are equipped with the tools to manage tough situations that may come your way. You will have the opportunity to learn and explore the best methods for you in coping with these feelings. Implementing self-care and compassion, can help you to take the steps to live the life you want.

4 Steps to Cope with Anxiety and Depression and Get to Feeling Much Better in Your Life

While it’s true, you may be feeling alone, overwhelmed and like nothing will help. The key is to understand your symptoms …and how avoiding these feelings only makes things worse. Making changes in your life is not as difficult as it seems- but with the right strategies you can take the steps in improving your mental health. Take a look at these steps to cope with anxiety and depression and make the changes in living a much more functional and rewarding life.

Step 1 Take a Good Look at Your Thoughts

One of the main reasons people get stuck in patterns of depression and anxiety is the way they think. It is important to explore such things like if your thought patterns are helping or hurting you. 

Maybe you have considered yourself sort of narrow minded or pessimistic. Perhaps you make a mistake and then you begin to see yourself as a failure. Or maybe you conclude that someone is reacting to you negatively without really knowing what they are thinking.  Thinking in this fashion can really get in the way of how we think of the world, which can result in a failure to see the whole picture in your life.

Once you can begin to see your way of thinking clearly and learn to make adjustments where needed, you will begin to see real change in your life. You will begin to catch unhealthy ways of thinking and stop them and opt for more healthy methods of thinking. You will also begin to understand the impact of your thoughts on your life and those around you.

Here at Simi Psychological Group, we will explore the direct relationship between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. I will help you to identify patterns of thinking that are not serving you and explore where these negative or unhealthy thoughts came from and what you can do to take control of these patterns. Together, we will embark on a journey of changing your thoughts that have a direct effect on your feelings and your behaviors.

Step 2 Use Relaxation Techniques

Sometimes our anxiety and depression gets so intense that we start to feel it physically. You may feel tension in your neck and shoulders, stomach pains or even heart palpitations. These physiological symptoms may be enough to alarm you into thinking that you have a medical issue, sending you to a doctor and only furthering your anxiety and depression because now you are worrying about your health too! Now not only are you anxious but now you may have a medical problem too? It’s a vicious cycle. 

Instead try relaxation techniques to help manage your underlying symptoms. With my clients, I explore alternatives for relaxation such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, and progressive muscle relaxation.
In addition, we will explore the root of why you are feeling this way and work to repair old sources of tension, anxiety and depression. 

Not only will you feel more relaxed but you will start to become more aware of when your symptoms arise and be able to utilize many methods to manage your symptoms. You will learn how to let go of old stressors that are holding you back.  Once you can identify and learn to make peace with some of what you are feeling, you will realize that you have much more control over your mental health than you thought. Relaxation techniques will also be a big support to help you get a better nights sleep.

Step 3 Practice Being Assertive in Your Relationships

Sometimes our depression and anxiety increases due to the way we communicate with others. We may feel uncomfortable, or even responsible, when others are upset. Maybe we are holding onto resentments or feelings of anger but afraid to tell people how you really feel, for fear of their reaction. 

Being authentic and direct may help in situations like this. Learning to be assertive and communicate effectively (versus passive aggressively) can help relationships function in a way that is a healthier, resulting in improved connections. You will begin to feel better about your relationships with others and feel that you are communicating more clearly. You may even notice that people seem to “get you” more than before. As a result, you feel like you are being more authentic, while getting your needs met too.

Together, I will help you maintain assertiveness in your life in a variety of ways. You will learn effective communication skills such as learning how to say “ no,” setting boundaries (unapologetically) and how to “hold space” for differences among others. Living this way, will help in how you express yourself … as a result, you will notice a decrease in your symptoms and will feel more empowered too.

Step 4 Practice Self Care for Your Mental Health

When you don’t practice self-care, you may be missing out on an important way to feel better. You may be unknowingly forgetting your own needs. As a result, you may have feelings of shame, negative self-talk and overall damaging ways of treating yourself. Would you talk to a friend like that?

Learning more about your symptoms of anxiety and depression can absolutely benefit you. You will begin to take steps to manage your life and identify when you need extra support. You can absolutely change your life and live in a fully functional and happy way. You will notice that you feel better when you put yourself first and care for yourself as you would care for a dear friend. As a result, you will discover your own likes and what fuels your soul because self care is about learning more about yourself too.

In therapy, I will show you ways you can improve your own self-care and start feeling better. Together we will explore the ways you may be ignoring your own needs and work to improve the way you care for yourself. We will work on making YOU the priority and learn how to nurture yourself and have compassion for your own situation. As a result, you will identify ways of empowering yourself and how to be gentle with yourself too.  

woman standing alone in a yard

You don’t have to suffer alone with depression or anxiety

In conclusion, when you suffer from depression and anxiety, there are many ways to cope. Examining your ways of thinking, communicating in an assertive way and  taking care of yourself through proper self care can really make a difference in how you feel about yourself. Learning about yourself in this way can absolutely help the way you feel and help you begin to live the life you want. 

You don’t have to go through this self exploration process alone. A trained mental health professional can provide you support and introduce to even more coping skills. Most people who have symptoms of anxiety or depression do feel better, but it may take time and work.

Begin Anxiety Treatment or Depression Therapy in Simi Valley

At our Simi Valley therapy practice, we offer Child therapy, Teen therapy, Anxiety Treatment, Depression Therapy, Marriage Counseling, and Neuropsychological Testing. We are now offering online therapy for most services.

If you would like to learn more ways to cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression and feel better… please call Simi Psychological Group for a free consultation. We are here to help you live the life you dream of.  CALL 805-842-1994 today! 

Written by,

Reena Becerra, Ph.D.

woman psychologist with long dark hair

As a therapist, I believe that through self-compassion, inspiration and hope it is possible for anyone to reach their deepest and truest goals.

 My counseling specialties include working with children, teens, and families that struggle with Anxiety, ADHD, Depression and relationship issues in marriage counseling. I also have a strong passion for working with adults with a history of trauma. Healing, self-love and acceptance and growing through transformation, are all within reach. Learning to truly love and connect with one’s self and others is a true gift and it is my honor to be on this journey with you. Read more




  1. Derek Swain

    Thank you for mentioning how wanting to distance yourself from others and lacking motivation can be indications that you are dealing with depression. Ever since her father passed away, my wife has been ignoring me whenever she gets home from work, and I have recently noticed that she occasionally locks herself in our bedroom and cries before falling asleep. Maybe depression therapy could help improve her mental state.

    • Simi Psychological Group

      I appreciate your comment and I’m sorry to hear you wife has been struggling since the loss. It sounds like she is going through a hard time now and could use some support. Please feel free to reach out to us. I’d be happy to talk some more with you about this and offer some guidance for next steps.
      Dr. Novak

  2. Toby Ryan

    I found it helpful that you brought up how anxiety and depression may cause you to avoid completing important tasks that need to be taken care of. My uncle has been having trouble finding the motivation he needs to go to work ever since his wife passed away due to health complications, and I am worried that his depression may be discouraging him from getting out of his bed. Maybe I should find someone that can help my uncle as soon as possible.

    • Allison Ranck

      Hi Toby, I’m very glad you found this information helpful. I can understand why your uncle may have trouble finding motivation since losing a loved one. Depression can be debilitating and hard on us in those moments. If he is interested, I would recommend for him to speak with a therapist.