5 warning signs of depression and how to cope with them

Have you ever felt an overwhelming sadness that you just can't shake off? Have you ever lost interest in things that you used to enjoy? If so, you may be experiencing symptoms of depression.


You’ll find below five warning signs of depression and some tips on how to cope. It’s important to check you’re giving yourself good enough nutrition, sleep, exercise, and social interaction first, as a lack of any of these things can cause depression.

1. A loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed

A loss of interest in things that you’d previously enjoyed is a red flag. This loss of enthusiasm and passion to do things is one of the main signs of depression. With the name, anhedonia, the inability to experience pleasure, you feel unmotivated, disinterested, and like you can’t be bothered. It’s easy to mistake this feeling for laziness, and others may perceive it as such. Forcing yourself to do things doesn’t automatically generate happiness, however closing yourself off will only nurture the depression.

Instead of waiting for motivation to take part in an activity, write a list of activities you find easy and previously enjoyed. Take it slowly but put some in your diary as non-negotiables. You may find creating a routine is an easier way to do this. This will maintain a rhythm of ‘getting out of the house’ so when the anhedonia passes you do not have to jump that hurdle too.

2. Feeling depressed or hopeless

Feeling depressed or hopeless is a slightly ironic symptom of depression. Of course, everyone experiences feelings of sadness or a low mood throughout life. Depression is different from feeling sad. Often, it’s described as a lack of feeling, a numbness. If you feel down, hopeless or depressed and this feeling lasts for a couple of weeks it is a warning sign of depression.

A gratitude journal might help you focus on the things you have rather than the things you don’t have. When you feel this way you’ll need to dig deep to find some things to feel grateful for. Spend time immersing yourself in the natural world and familiarise yourself with the sounds, sights, smells and tastes. Use your hands to experience the textures. If this is new for you it might take you time to genuinely appreciate it, but it’ll come.

3. Disrupted sleep

A disrupted sleep pattern is a sign of depression, this is either sleeping too much or having trouble sleeping. There is a chicken and egg situation with sleep because a lack of sleep can cause depression. In this situation try to maintain a sleep rhythm by getting up at the same time each morning and getting into bed at the same time each evening. Stop using any (bright) artificial lighting, including screens a couple of hours before you want to fall asleep. Ideally around 7 – 8pm and give yourself a sleep opportunity of 7 – 9 hours each night.

A hypnotherapist experienced in sleep issues can help you learn self-hypnosis techniques to improve your sleep.

4. Exhaustion

People with depression often feel exhausted with little energy. Just getting out of bed can take so much energy you have little left to do anything else all day. My earlier point about nutrition and exercise is paramount here. Although depression does cause a lack of energy if your body does not get the nutrition and movement it needs you’ll suffer with a lack of energy.

Check in with a nutritional therapist and if possible, work with a hypnotherapist who can help you feel more desire for nutritious options.

5. Change in eating habits

As previously mentioned, a hypnotherapist can help you make healthier choices when you eat. Another red flag for depression is a poor appetite or overeating. As per the suggestion for anhedonia, create a plan. Commit to creating a weekly meal plan. You can even use the same plan on rotation – though to avoid boredom you might like to create a two-week or three-week plan.

Do a weekly food shop so you have all the foods you need and only the foods you need to prevent overeating or filling up on non-nutritious options. When you have a meal plan it becomes non-negotiable, it also doesn’t require any energy beyond the making of the meal.

Research shows a connection between nutrition and mental health, eating the foods your body needs and not the damaging foods will reduce your feelings of depression. Work with a nutritional therapist and a hypnotherapist to know what foods are right for your body and increase your motivation to eat them.

In my next article, I’ll cover five more signs of depression and what you can do to cope with them. If any of these things resonate with you it’s important to speak with someone about it. Your doctor, a friend or family member or a private practitioner listed on the Hypnotherapy Directory who has experience in working with depression.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Farnham GU9 & GU10
Written by Juliet Hollingsworth, MSc
Farnham GU9 & GU10

Juliet is a trauma-informed therapist. Her passion is helping people reach their potential through a combination of hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology. Juliet works online and face to face with clients across the world. (DHP Clinical Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy. MSc Consciousness, Spirituality & Transpersonal psychology.)

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