Healthy Coping Skills

by Natasha J. Stewart

Healthy Coping Skills are a necessary part of our everyday life.  We usually use coping skills without even realizing that we are.  However, when emotional issues arise such as self-injury, suicidal thoughts, addiction, depression, etc... it is more important than ever that we use coping skills to keep ourselves safe and healthy! 

You might wonder how someone can believe going on a walk or drawing a picture can help- the point of coping skills is not that they will cure your problems or take away the urges, but that they will occupy your mind and time until the unsafe feelings pass. 

The key is this:  You Will Not Feel That Way Forever!  If you can safely wait through the urges- They Will Pass!  Every time you say NO to injurying, the addiction loses power!  You might not be able to tell at first, but as time passes, the urges will become less intense and farther apart!


A List of 117 Healthy Coping Skills...

Download a printable list of these healthy coping skills here



healthy coping skills image

  1. Practice deep breathing- in through your nose, out through your mouth
  2. Do a puzzle
  3. Draw, paint or color
  4. Listen to uplifting or inspirational music
  5. Blow bubbles
  6. Squeeze an ice cube tightly
  7. Go to the library
  8. Visit the animal shelter
  9. Pet your cat or dog
  10. Clean or organize a space
  11. Make your bed
  12. Play a game on the computer
  13. Turn on all the lights
  14. Sit in the sun and close your eyes
  15. Throw rocks into the woods
  16. Suck on a peppermint
  17. Chew gum
  18. Sip a cup of hot chocolate or tea
  19. Compliment someone
  20. Read
  21. Listen to inspirational tapes
  22. Practice a relaxation excercise
  23. Jump up and down
  24. Write yourself a nice note and carry it in your pocket
  25. Play solataire
  26. Do the dishes
  27. Go for a brisk 10 minute walk
  28. Dance to music
  29. Call a friend
  30. Invite a friend over
  31. Organize your CD's
  32. Write postive affirmations on note cards & decorate
  33. Go outside and listen to nature
  34. Rearrange your bedroom
  35. Work in the garden or flower bed
  36. Plant a flower in a pot
  37. Sew, knit, crochet
  38. Do yoga
  39. Watch a funny or inspirational movie
  40. Make a collage with pictures of your favorite things
  41. Make a collage showing a positive future
  42. Journal
  43. Write a poem
  44. Paint your nails(not red or black)
  45. Make a gratitude list
  46. Scream into a pillow
  47. Swim, run, jog, bike
  48. Jump rope
  49. Smell a flower & touch the petals
  50. Play a musical instrument
  51. Do a good deed
  52. Shoot hoops
  53. Sing your favorite song outloud
  54. Count backwards from 500
  55. Brush your hair 100x
  56. Squeeze a stress ball
  57. Use some good smelling lotion
  58. Think of 3 food for every letter or the alphabet without skipping any
  59. Write down how your feeling & why, read 1x & put it away
  60. Visualization- close your eyes and imagine yourself in a beautiful place- how does it smell, what do you see, what do your hear, what do you feel...
  61. Write something positive about yourself for every letter of the alphabet- decorate it & hang it where you will see it every day
  62. Slowly eat one piece of your favorite candy
  63. Write a letter to someone
  64. Do extra credit homework
  65. Volunteer
  66. Offer to walk a neighbor's dog
  67. Find a safe, quiet place to sit & stay there until you know you can be safe
  68. Look at pictures in a nature magazine
  69. Write a fairy tale
  70. Draw a cheerful picture outside with sidewalk chalk
  71. Pray
  72. Recite the serenity prayer
  73. Print your favorite Bible verse on a card & memorize it
  74. Decorate your locker
  75. Decorate your mirror with positive affirmations and your favorite photos
  76. Do a crossword, seek & find, or sudoko puzzle
  77. Visit an inspirational website (try www.values.com)
  78. Write a thank you note to your best friend
  79. Call a hotline
  80. Put on your favorite outfit
  81. Do your makeup
  82. Read the comics
  83. Draw a cartoon
  84. String a necklace
  85. Make friendship bracelets & give one to someone who looks lonely
  86. Slowly sip a glass of cold water
  87. Go on a walk & take photos of flowers on a cellphone or digital camera- challenge yourself to find 15 different kinds
  88. Bite your pillow as hard as you can
  89. Talk to a stuffed animal
  90. Clean 1 room of your house
  91. Ask a friend to meet you at the park
  92. Wash & style your hair
  93. Go to McDonalds & order a ice cream cone off the dollar menu
  94. Wash & style your hair
  95. Buy or check out a fun magazine & read it front-to-back
  96. Window shop
  97. Shred blank sheets of paper
  98. Talk into a tape recorder
  99. Play a board game with a friend or sibling
  100. Throw a foam ball at an empty wall
  101. Stare at a picture- notice all the details & create a story using those elements
  102. Play hacky sack
  103. Draw random designs & color them in
  104. Turn your designs into cards
  105. Go to the movies
  106. Go to the mall & people watch
  107. Write a list of compliments about a friend or teacher & give it to them
  108. Make & decorate a foam or paper frame for your favorite photo
  109. Write an inspirational quote on your mirror with an eyeliner pencil
  110. Read a joke book
  111. Pick out 5 of your favorite jokes & tell them to 3 friends
  112. Play with silly putty or modeling clay
  113. Make an inspirational banner for your room
  114. Blog
  115. Write poetry
  116. Submit your best piece of poetry to this website
  117. Think of 10 more coping skills to add to this list


Print this list- decorate it & hang it where you can see it.

Download a printable list of these coping skills here

These are just suggestions for healthy coping skills - you may find some that you really like or some that don't help at all!  Try enough of them until you have a list of at least 10-15 solid coping skills that you can turn to in times of crisis!  Then do them even if you don't want to!  Stay safe!!

~Natasha





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