50 Positive Coping Skills

Coping Skills

Coping skills can be hard to remember in times of stress or crisis, but they can ground us, distract us, relieve anxiety, and so much more. They are an important part of learning to live with trauma and mental health symptoms. They are not the solution to all of our problems, but they help us get through each day between the times we are receiving help and doing the work to heal. I hope this list of coping skills finds you well when you are in need of ideas or reminders! 🙂

List of 50 Coping Skills

  1. 1. Journaling
  2. Find some tips for journaling at https://journaltherapy.com/journal-cafe-3/journal-course/.
  3. 2. Deep breathing
  4. Take deep breaths. Lock your fingers and put your hands behind your neck if that helps or rest your hands on your belly. Breathe in for five to ten seconds and out for five to ten seconds.
  5. 3. Tapping
  6. Learn more about tapping and how it can help at https://www.tappingsolutionfoundation.org/howdoesitwork/.
  7. 4. Progressive muscle relaxation
  8. Learn more about progressive muscle relaxation and how it can help at https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/uz2225.
  9. 5. Take a walk
  10. Take a walk and really take in your surroundings (what are you seeing, smelling, hearing, feeling).
  11. 6. Listen to music
  12. Keep a running list of go-to songs that help you; put them on a playlist if you can.
  13. 7. Exercise
  14. Exercising releases natural endorphins that help make us happy.
  15. 8. Meditation
  16. Learn more about how to meditate at https://www.mindful.org/how-to-meditate/.
  17. 9. Gratitude journal
  18. Keep a daily journal of things you are grateful for; write down something new every day.
  1. 10. Call a supportive person in your life
  2. Call a friend, a loved one, a counselor, an advocate, anyone you feel comfortable talking to that is a safe and positive person in your life.
  3. 11. Watch a movie or TV show that makes you laugh, or that you know you like
  4. Laughing is scientifically proven to help us; it’s not just a cliche saying. I have also found that watching a movie or TV show that I know I like and that I have seen before, is comforting because I know what’s going to happen. It helps relieve my anxiety, even if I just have it on as background noise.
  5. 12. Draw or paint
  6. Drawing and painting can be a great way to express ourselves, especially if we have experienced trauma. Talking about our trauma can be difficult, so this provides an alternate way to let it out.
  7. 13. Read a book
  8. Read a self help book, a motivational book, or just a book you find interesting that allows you to escape for a little bit.
  9. 14. Make a list of 10 things you love about yourself
  10. This helps build self-esteem and is something we can look at when our trauma or mental health leads us to start thinking negatively about ourselves.
  11. 15. Make a list of 10 things you are proud of
  12. It’s easy to focus on our mistakes, all the things we want to do, or where we would like to be in our recovery. Writing down what we are proud of allows us to focus on our successes, big and small, and be proud of how far we have come.
  13. 16. Ground yourself using your senses
  14. This can be especially helpful if you are experiencing anxiety or PTSD symptoms. Look around at your surroundings and name five things you can see, four things you can touch or feel, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. This helps bring you back to the present moment.
  15. 17. Hold ice cubes or chew on ice
  16. This sounds super weird, but can actually work. Holding or chewing ice can help keep you in the present moment if you are reliving past trauma or experiencing severe anxiety.
  17. 18. Cleaning
  18. Cleaning is relaxing to some and allows us to focus on something we have control over.
  19. 19. Spend time with loved ones
  20. Spend time with the people in your life who love and care about you.
  21. 20. Cook or bake
  22. Find some new recipes you want to try or make some comfort food.
  23. 21. Write positive affirmations
  24. Write down some positive affirmations and put them some where you will see them every day.
  25. 22. Make a vision board
  26. Combine your creativity with your aspirations. Write down things you want to accomplish, things you want to do in the future, places you want to visit, etc.
  27. 23. Set a goal
  28. Set a goal for yourself, long or short-term, and make a plan for how you can reach it.
  29. 24. Color
  30. Coloring is a great coping skill. It is a way to practice mindfulness and allows the fear center of our brain, the amygdala, to relax.
  31. 25. Do something kind for someone else
  32. Helping someone else will always leave you feeling good.
  33. 26. Look at funny memes
  34. Again, laughter is truly some of the best medicine.
  35. 27. Play a game
  36. Play a board game, a video game, something on your phone or computer.
  37. 28. Visualize a positive memory, your happy place, or a positive future
  38. Learn more about visualization at https://www.happybrainlife.com/blog/2019/5/14/the-power-of-positive-visualization.
  39. 29. Squeeze a stress ball or spin a fidget spinner
  40. Always keep one near by, so that you can use it when you start to feel anxious.
  41. 30. Make a collage
  42. This can be another creative way to express yourself and who you are, or to express your feeling.
  43. 31. Take a bath or shower
  44. Taking a cold shower can be refreshing and pull us into the moment. Or, it can be nice to take a hot bath, light some candles, listen to music, and just relax.
  45. 32. Light a candle or inscent
  46. Using our senses, including our sense of smell, can help us remain present. I also just feel better and more relaxed when I have a candle or inscent lit.
  47. 33. Join a support group
  48. Getting support from other people who share similar experiences to us, can make us feel less alone and possibly give us new ideas of things we can do to help ourselves.
  49. 34. Find a hobby
  50. Find something that you enjoy doing, that makes you happy, and routinely make time for it.
  51. 35. Make a to-do list and check things off as you complete them
  52. Making a to-do list and checking off completed tasks can give us a sense of pride and accomplishment, even if those tasks may seem small, it can help.
  53. 36. Write a letter
  54. You can write letters to people who have hurt you, younger versions of yourself, or people you have lost. Write to them as many times as you need. Write to them when you have something to say, emotions or thoughts you need to release.
  55. 37. Do a craft
  56. You can find lots of good craft ideas on social media and the internet. Many of them can be done with everyday items you have around your house.
  57. 38. Dance around your house to some of your favorite music
  58. Let your body be free.
  59. 39. Take a drive
  60. Driving and listening to music is my happy place. Maybe it is yours too.
  61. 40. Play with a pet
  62. If you don’t have a pet, play with a friend’s pet. Or, go to a local shelter or pet store and look at all the cute animals.
  63. 41. Write a poem, rap, or song
  64. Yet another form of creative expression. 🙂
  65. 42. Start naming people and things you love out loud
  66. This can bring you back to the good things in your present life and take you away from the pain of your past or the mental health and trauma symptoms you are experiencing.
  67. 43. Do a word search or a puzzle
  68. Keep your mind busy and exercise your brain.
  69. 44. Draw or write on your skin
  70. This may sound strange to some, but can be extremely helpful for anyone who has used cutting as a coping skill in the past. It can be a release to draw or write on your skin in the places you used to cut.
  71. 45. Go some where public
  72. Sometimes, we just need to be around other people, even if we don’t directly interact with them. Go to the park, the library, a coffee shop, wherever you feel comfortable, and just focus on being in the moment.
  73. 46. Use your imagination
  74. Write a story or make up a game. Sometimes, it helps us to take a break from whatever is going on and just be child-like, have fun. It can also help us by creating a scenario where we control the outcome or the ending. And, it’s something fun if you have children, younger siblings, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, etc.
  75. 47. Build with legos, mold clay or play with play-dough
  76. This doesn’t only help because it distracts us and can be fun, but also because doing things with our hands uses our sense of touch and keeps us present.
  77. 48. Rearrange or organize
  78. Like cleaning, rearranging and organizing can make your space feel better, in turn making you feel better, and it is something you can control.
  79. 49. Write down ideas or make a plan of how you could help with an issue you are passionate about
  80. Focusing on our passions ignites a fire within us. It also gives us the ability to help others by using our own experiences and journeys.
  81. 50. Call or text a crisis line
  82. If you are in crisis, or even if you are just struggling and don’t know who else you can talk to, call or text a crisis line. If it is an emergency and you are suicidal or going to hurt yourself, call 911.

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