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
Practice deep breathing- in through your nose, out through your mouth Do a puzzle Draw, paint or color Listen to uplifting or inspirational music Blow bubbles Squeeze an ice cube tightly Go to the library Visit the animal shelter Pet your cat or dog Clean or organize a space Make your bed Play a game on the computer Turn on all the lights Sit in the sun and close your eyes Throw rocks into the woods Suck on a peppermint Chew gum Sip a cup of hot chocolate or tea Compliment someone Read Listen to inspirational tapes Practice a relaxation excercise Jump up and down Write yourself a nice note and carry it in your pocket Play solataire Do the dishes Go for a brisk 10 minute walk Dance to music Call a friend Invite a friend over Organize your CD's Write postive affirmations on note cards & decorate Go outside and listen to nature Rearrange your bedroom Work in the garden or flower bed Plant a flower in a pot Sew, knit, crochet Do yoga Watch a funny or inspirational movie Make a collage with pictures of your favorite things Make a collage showing a positive future Journal Write a poem Paint your nails(not red or black) Make a gratitude list Scream into a pillow Swim, run, jog, bike Jump rope Smell a flower & touch the petals Play a musical instrument Do a good deed Shoot hoops Sing your favorite song outloud Count backwards from 500 Brush your hair 100x Squeeze a stress ball Use some good smelling lotion Think of 3 food for every letter or the alphabet without skipping any Write down how your feeling & why, read 1x & put it away 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... Write something positive about yourself for every letter of the alphabet- decorate it & hang it where you will see it every day Slowly eat one piece of your favorite candy Write a letter to someone Do extra credit homework Volunteer Offer to walk a neighbor's dog Find a safe, quiet place to sit & stay there until you know you can be safe Look at pictures in a nature magazine Write a fairy tale Draw a cheerful picture outside with sidewalk chalk Pray Recite the serenity prayer Print your favorite Bible verse on a card & memorize it Decorate your locker Decorate your mirror with positive affirmations and your favorite photos Do a crossword, seek & find, or sudoko puzzle Visit an inspirational website (try www.values.com) Write a thank you note to your best friend Call a hotline Put on your favorite outfit Do your makeup Read the comics Draw a cartoon String a necklace Make friendship bracelets & give one to someone who looks lonely Slowly sip a glass of cold water Go on a walk & take photos of flowers on a cellphone or digital camera- challenge yourself to find 15 different kinds Bite your pillow as hard as you can Talk to a stuffed animal Clean 1 room of your house Ask a friend to meet you at the park Wash & style your hair Go to McDonalds & order a ice cream cone off the dollar menu Wash & style your hair Buy or check out a fun magazine & read it front-to-back Window shop Shred blank sheets of paper Talk into a tape recorder Play a board game with a friend or sibling Throw a foam ball at an empty wall Stare at a picture- notice all the details & create a story using those elements Play hacky sack Draw random designs & color them in Turn your designs into cards Go to the movies Go to the mall & people watch Write a list of compliments about a friend or teacher & give it to them Make & decorate a foam or paper frame for your favorite photo Write an inspirational quote on your mirror with an eyeliner pencil Read a joke book Pick out 5 of your favorite jokes & tell them to 3 friends Play with silly putty or modeling clay Make an inspirational banner for your room Blog Write poetry Submit your best piece of poetry to this website 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!!
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