50 Positive Coping Skills To Try When Times Get Tough

50 Positive Coping Skills To Try When Times Get Tough

Talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy you need.
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Being that May 22nd through May 26th is Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought I’d write this to help those who are suffering with mental illnesses learn to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, self-harm and whatever else they are dealing with.

There is a misconception fed by the mainstream media’s mockery of self-help and therapeutic strategies that ‘coping’ is only necessary in the wake of significant trauma or tragedy. Furthermore, we as a culture have grown to believe that coping only looks one certain way -- talking out our feelings reclined on a big, brown leather couch. And that is oh-so far from the truth. Healthy coping skills are any actions you individually take to lower your stress level in a healthy, nondestructive manner in any situation. That situation can be something life-altering, like the loss of a friend or family member, or it can be something as small as stressing over a test. Coping can look completely different for every person depending on their anxiety level in the situation and their personality. It’s time to remove the stigma from coping skills. We all use them more often than we may know. Coping is really just doing something for yourself to help curb stress and to help distract yourself from negative thoughts and urges. You are worth it, so allow yourself to explore what works for you. Some people hate shopping. Do what you love for your own mental health. The stress can wait. Here is a list of 50 healthy and positive coping skills:

  1. Read
  2. Go shopping! Retail therapy is the best therapy!
  3. Clean or organize your area
  4. Exercise! Go for a run or even a walk. Physical activity is important when dealing with mental health.
  5. Study
  6. Make a gratitude journal. There is always something to be thankful for!
  7. Scream into your pillow. Sometimes all you need is a good scream to help you feel better!
  8. Call a friend. A best friend is basically like a therapist, but for free :)
  9. Eat healthy foods
  10. Get enough sleep
  11. Get involved in a worthy cause
  12. Volunteer
  13. Enjoy nature
  14. Write a list of strengths
  15. Journal. I always feel better after I write!
  16. Take a hot and relaxing bath
  17. Cry
  18. Laugh
  19. Go for a Starbucks run. A venti mango black tea or strawberry acaí refresher can always make me feel better!
  20. Watch a movie or your favorite show on Netflix. I’m currently watching Scandal and I highly recommend it!
  21. Spend time with friends or family
  22. Listen to music
  23. Give yourself a mani-pedi and makeover
  24. Draw, paint, or color
  25. Sing, dance, or act
  26. Write poetry or songs
  27. Make your bed
  28. Sit in the sun
  29. Squeeze an ice cube
  30. Chew gum
  31. Suck on a peppermint
  32. Drink tea
  33. Yoga
  34. Rearrange your bedroom
  35. Self-care
  36. Make friendship bracelets
  37. Find a quiet and safe place
  38. Wash and style your hair
  39. Watch the clouds float by
  40. Stargaze
  41. Bake
  42. Contact a hotline or therapist
  43. Meditate
  44. Take deep breaths
  45. Accept and become aware of what you cannot control in a situation, and focus on what you can control
  46. Create a schedule for your day
  47. Go for a drive
  48. Make realistic goals
  49. Stop dwelling on the past
  50. Think positively

There are plenty more positive coping skills, but these are the ones I have found most helpful when dealing with hard times.


If you or anyone you know is struggling, please take advantage of the following:

Mental Illness Hotline: 800-950-NAMI

Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863

Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433

Eating Disorder Association Hotline: 800-931-2237

National Mental Health Association Hotline: 800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: W Grane

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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I'm The Person Who Always Says 'Yes' And I'm Tired Of It

I'm sorry for being blunt, but being a people pleaser is a tiring job.

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Being a people pleaser runs in my family. My mom and I talk about this weakness of ours all the time, especially when we are both worn out from saying "yes" too much.

When it comes to academics, I always go above and beyond to ensure I did everything correctly in order to please the professor or teacher. If there's ever an instance where I feel as if I can't meet or complete a task, my anxiety takes over and out comes a handy-dandy panic attack. Typically, this ends with tears rolling down my cheeks, a headache, and someone telling me to worry about myself and to not stress if it's hurting me too much (if they see me panicking, that is).

Me going to check off "handy-dandy panic attack" in my handy-dandy notebook after a long day.

As a high schooler, the game of saying "yes" was easy and somewhat manageable. In college, however, that game has changed, and it has changed drastically. There was something about non-stop work that was added in… not a fan.

I don't know why saying "yes" has always been instilled in me, but I cannot think of a time when I was not constantly saying "yes" to others. The moments you will always catch me saying "yes" are moments when it comes to helping someone. Sometimes I interject myself because I feel guilty if I don't offer the help.

Of course, there are instances when I truly mean the offer I give, but then there are other moments when I highly regret asking. There have been plenty of times where I have gotten myself into too many outings at once and my extroverted-introverted self becomes beyond angry with myself.

If I say "no" to someone, there's this sense of guilt that hangs over my head for at least a week and it doesn't go away.

While I enjoy making others happy in (almost) any way possible, I believe it is time for me to start saying "no." This does not mean I will be saying "no" to every single thing someone asks me to do, but rather, I'll take a second to think about how much time and energy will have to go into the whole situation before diving in headfirst.

My new slogan will be "Just say no… sometimes."

Instead of stressing over every detail of an assignment for class, I'll stress over the major details rather than the microscopic ones. Before I interject myself into a situation, I will take a moment and think about whether my help is even necessary or wanted. This will be no easy task, especially for this anxiety-ridden people pleaser, but I am going to do the best I can. The over-achiever in me needs to sit down, take a chill pill, and over-achieve in the category of saying "no."

For those who also say "yes" way too much: breathe. The world will be okay without our help, even if it feels like it won't.

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