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.

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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Forgiving Others Is Important, But Just As Important Is To Forgive Yourself

None of us are perfect, and that is what makes us human.
“Free yourself from your past mistakes, by forgiving yourself for what you’ve done or went through. Every day is another chance to start over.”

Forgiving others is important, but sometimes you need to forgive yourself too. None of us are perfect, and that is what makes us human.

We feel like we mess up friendships, relationships, opportunities, etc. Have you ever just been sitting and thinking and all of a sudden everything that's ever gone wrong comes back and haunts you? You sit there over analyzing every single detail until you're upset and depressed. It could have been something that happened years ago, but there you are, thinking about it and how you wish you had a do-over.

Don't beat yourself up.Take those as learning experiences and keep going. If I learned anything in my sociology class my freshman year of college, it was that "all emotional pain lasts twelve minutes. Anything after that is self-inflicted." Allow yourself time to learn and grow into the person you were meant to be and want to be.

Change doesn't happen overnight, so ride with the process, even if some bumps occur in the along the way.

"Forgive yourself first. Release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in your mind. Don't become a hostage to your past by always reviewing and reliving your mistakes. Don't remind yourself of what should have, could have or would have been. Release it and let it go. Move on." Les Brown

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Should Living With Anxiety Be Referred To As A New Epidemic?

40 million adults deal with anxiety per year, and why are these numbers so high?

Have you ever noticed the amount of anxiety floating around in the world?

Personally, anxiety has taken hold of my life on more than one occasion, but I've noticed that even as I cope with my anxiety others are falling victim to it. It's human nature to get anxious before first days, important events, or when things just aren't going your way.

However, there's a growing number of young adults who experience anxiety in their day to day lives. So, what's the cause to this growing "anxiety epidemic?"

I often wonder what causes my anxiety, and how that relates to others. Of course, I'm no doctor, but as someone who struggles with anxiety I wonder what makes my anxiety run. What does it fuel from?

One moment I could be laughing up a storm, and the next I get this overwhelming feeling of dissociation. Things escalated quicker than a Kevin Hart movie, and not in a good way. My normal moments were bombarded with breakdowns, anxiety rashes, and the constant desire to cry, but why?

Is this generation focusing too much on the bad part of life? Are we easily bothered? Has entitlement and privilege weakened our mental strength? Or is the world really just that scary?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults, aged 18 and older, are affected by anxiety PER YEAR. The most common is Generalized Anxiety Disorder, although Social Anxiety is very common in young adults as well. Even still, no one is really sure why these statistics are so high?

What's it like living with anxiety?

Being a young adult with a mild case of Generalized Anxiety Disorder isn't easy. An overwhelming amount of school work, or the slightest change in my day could spur a day full of stress. You expect the, "Are you okay?", "Is this one of your days?", or "Are you sick?" questions.

You settle into the idea that your face will probably never clear up because all you do is worry and eat junk food, and as a girl you always wonder if your anxiety disorder will keep you from having kids.

Personally, I think every thing that goes wrong is my fault. If you ask to ask me a question before asking me the question, I'm liable to start worrying. Also, don't expect me to talk about what's wrong because often times talking about my worries makes me susceptible to a cry fest.

You learn to cry, and appreciate the three different types of tears used to help you heal. It's not odd to lose your appetite, or go a day or two without eating. The spontaneous idea of throwing up isn't crazy, and it no longer worries you because this has become your life. You hide behind your bedroom door and cry in private, or you act all fine in public. Relationships are hard, maintaining trust is hard, but even more surrendering to God is hard.

Anxiety makes you question everything you know. I know that my God has me in His hands. I know that He has planned my life, my obstacles, my words before I could have even fathomed the idea of them. I know when I cry He catches my tears, and holds my hand. Anxiety is not of Him, and falling victim to it is not what He wants. Our God wants us to live loved, and joyful. He wants us to run into His arms instead of the fears of the world.

Philippians 4:6 says, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition."

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to you a future and a hope."

Psalm 18:6 says, "In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears."

These disorders tell us we are NOTHING. They tell us we are BROKEN, UNLOVABLE, INCAPABLE, MESS UPS.

This world tells us that we are UNSAFE. It tells us we are HELPLESS. STUCK. PERPETUALLY LOST.

But our God, He tells us we are loved. He tells us we are good. He shows us that we are worthy. He proves that we can be fixed. He reminds us that WE ARE NOT ALONE.

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." - Romans 8:28

Be still my friends. If you suffer from anxiety you are not alone. You are not broken, but you are loved. If you or someone you know suffers from anxiety please talk to someone. A therapist, a doctor, your family, but most importantly God. There are treatments and ways to a better life.

"What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?" - Romans 8:31

Cover Image Credit: Kat Smith

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