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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Everything You Need To Know About BANG Energy Drinks

Say goodbye to your favorite pre-workout drink.
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BANG energy drinks from VPX Sports are the hottest new products for athletes everywhere. On every can, you'll find their catchphrase "Potent Brain & Body Fuel" and it gives you just that. Clean energy, laser-sharp focus, and no sugar induced crashes are just a few of the reasons these bad boys are flying off the shelves faster than retailers can keep them stocked. Haven't heard of them? Sound too good to be true? Let me answer your questions.

What is it? It's an energy drink that's kind of like your typical Red Bull or Monster. It's a perfect substitution for pre-workout supplements or coffee.

Who's it meant for? Anyone! A better question to ask is, "Who isn't this drink meant for?" On the can, you'll find a recommendation for no one under the age of 18 to consume the drink. You also may want to steer clear of it if you're sensitive to stimulants like caffeine.

What's in it? BANG energy drinks contain zero calories, zero carbohydrates, and zero sugar. But what you can find are BCAA's, CoQ10, creatine, and copious amounts of caffeine. These are things athletes often take as supplements.

What are BCAA's? BCAA's are Branched Chain Amino Acids. They are known to stimulate protein synthesis, increase muscle function, decrease your soreness after a workout, and even aid in repairing damaged muscles.

What's CoQ10? Coenzyme Q10 is found in the mitochondria of your cells and sparks energy production. It helps produce energy your body needs for cell growth and maintenance. People often take this as a dietary supplement when they feel tired or lethargic.

What's super creatine? Creatine does a great job in enhancing athletic performance by aiding growth of lean body mass (AKA muscle). When you take creatine orally, the amount in your muscles increase and helps regenerate ATP more efficiently. According to the nutrition label, this so-called "super" creatine is bonded to Leucine to make Creatyl-L-Leucine. On SupplementReviews.com, a VPX Sports representative allegedly said the following about the Super Creatine in the drink:

"The creatine in there is actually something very special...it is the world's only water stable creatine. It is Creatine-Leucine peptide. Think of this...if you mix creatine in water, it sinks and if you mix leucine in water, it floats....if you combine the two into a peptide, it creates a water soluble and water-stable form of creatine. It also has a fatty acid chain that makes it easier to cross the blood brain barrier. The focus of the super creatine is not for muscle function, but for cognition...by combining this form of creatine with caffeine, it works synergistically for mental focus."

How much caffeine is in one can? In one can of BANG, you'll be blessed with 300mg of caffeine. This is the equivalent to over three cups of coffee.

Is that even safe? Yeah, it is. In order for the caffeine in the energy drink to be lethal at any capacity, I would have to drink 30.7 cans.

So, what are the downsides? There are two things that come to mind. One is that consumers have no idea how much BCAA's, CoQ10, or creatine is actually in the drink. It could very likely be trace amounts too small to do anything beneficial. Two, BANG energy drinks do not go through the FDA approval process.

Is it really that good? Well, out of 113 reviews of the product on Bodybuilding.com, there's an average 9.6 overall rating. Most reviews comment on the quality of the energy, the cognitive focus, and the non-existent crash once the drink wears off.

What kind of flavors can I get? There are currently eight BANG energy drink flavors on the market: Black Cherry Vanilla, Cotton Candy, Sour Heads, Star Blast, Blue Razz, Champagne Cola, Power Punch, and Lemon Drop.

Where can I buy BANG energy drinks? You can find BANG energy drinks at Amazon, your local GNC or Vitamin Shoppe retailers, Bodybuilding.com, VPX Sports' website, some gas stations, and privately owned retailers.

How expensive are they? This depends on where you make your purchase. The cheapest place to purchase your BANG energy drinks is at Bodybuilding.com for about $2.00 per can. You can find similar prices on Amazon and at your local retailers. The energy drinks are most expensive through the VPX website where you'll pay about $2.75 per can.

How does BANG compare to other energy drinks? I'll give you some data on nutrition facts and you can make your decisions based on that:

16 oz. BANG: 300mg caffeine, 0g carbohydrates, 0g sugar.

16 oz. Monster Energy (regular): 160mg caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

16 oz. Red Bull (regular): 160mg caffeine, 56g carbohydrates, 56g sugar

16 oz. Rockstar (regular): 144g caffeine, 54g carbohydrates, 54g sugar

Cover Image Credit: Youtube

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5 Sun-Filled Factors Of A Less Stressful Summer

Summer's always been a breeze, but who knew it could be this great.

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It's so much harder to write in the summer than I expected. Usually, I'm able to pull something from my current events and birth a concept from it, but without the bustle of the university this summer I'm left with a small handful of friends who have also decided to stay in town. I still have ample amounts of fun and, if anything, am way less stressed, but nothing too worrisome or groundbreaking appears to be happening.

I can only assume that the lack of stress I find myself in can stem from a handful of things, and after giving it much thought might be able to help you have a less stressful summer or summers to come, too. These are the 5 factors giving me less stress this summer.

1. Living alone

Don't get me wrong, I love my best friends, and I am more than excited to live with them in the fall; however, living alone this summer has given me some serious lessons in discipline. When choosing to live in my college town alone this summer rather than with my parents in Maryland, most of the reasons included wanting to have control over healthy foods in the fridge, control over my schedule and chores, and control over my exercise.

Now living here alone, the only person I have to blame for any lack of that discipline and control is myself. I'm not going to lie to you and say I've already gotten it all under control, because I'm still learning how to practice this new self-discipline; however, I've already come a long way from when I first moved in a month and a half ago (I can't believe June's already over!). At first it was very much frustrating; however, unlike at home I had no one else to place the blame on, and it helped me create discipline in knowing that although I may often not think I do that I do in fact have full control.

Come fall, I am very excited to live with my two roommates who are also very health-conscious and understand the equal burden of responsibility for renting a house together. For now, I can at least throw my dirty clothes wherever I need to when I'm in a hurry.

2. Less people = less drama

Besides this summer, I cannot think of the last time my life was 100% drama free. I've never really had that much drama in my life, to begin with, and I still don't; however, some people just can't help but bring it to the table. I've usually been able to avoid those people, because no one wants to be friends with individuals who create drama; however, in a college town of (I think) 16,000 students, there's always going to be a little drama even if you aren't involved.

Very soon on into living here this summer, I noticed that hanging out and going out with friends was so much less drama-dense. There was no raging tattle-tale and no "you're-talking-to-my-ex" drama queens that it made it so much easier to let loose without watching your surroundings (however, always use safety discretion when it comes to alcohol). I have several friends who live only a backyard away from me, and it's nice to know I'm always welcome to come and hang out and go out with them when I feel like it. There's no drama to talk about, only drinks to be served. Of course, it's no raging house party, but it's nice to kick back for the summer.

3. No class...but just one

I was uncertain as to how exactly I was going to obtain three additional credits this summer to keep my scholarships, whether that be an internship or a class, but as of recently I've begun my online summer class and I'm enjoying it much more than I expected.

Although this class is only half the length of a regular class, which means the material is twice as dense, the stress is minimal because I'm taking no additional classes besides this one this summer. I've always been one of the handful of students who actually enjoys going to class and putting in the work every day, but I'm only human and usually the full workload has me googling answers online by the end of the semester; however, by only taking one class I can place all my attention on the singular class and *hopefully* receive an A.

4. Ample amount of time to earn money

At first, I had no idea how I'd be financing my summer. My family has financed my college career and my parents still will help me out during the school year, but until tuition bills come out next month I'm still on my own. A week after moving in, I was able to receive an internship I applied for and am about to start a second job waitressing. It was stressful at first to not know where my funds were going to come from, but now that the majority of my time is going towards working since I only have a single online class I never have to worry about if I have enough funds to go out. Not only do I have enough, but I should be taking that extra cash I have and time to be having fun because it's the little amount of time I have left over!

5. Last but not least, trying “the new thing”

The best part about all school breaks is the opportunity to try something new and to experiment with ideas and new living concepts. I have additional time in the summer to try new workouts that I may be too overwhelmed with figuring out during the time-constricted schoolyear. I have the surplus income to try new restaurants in town that I've never been to before. I have the time to acclimate to my house and complete my room before the schoolyear begins (article coming soon). And my favorite, I have time to see more of family.

Good luck the rest of this summer!

XoXo Isa

Cover Image Credit:

Isabelle Evelyn

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