Types of Coping Skills

Coping skills help you identify and replace negative thoughts. This video series explores different coping skills you can use in daily life.

PTSD Part 5: What Are Coping Skills?

Estimated watch time: 5 mins 


Coping skills are what you can use to face stress and challenges, and ultimately solve problems. They do require practice to regularly integrate them into your daily life. In this guide, learn specific coping strategies and skills to bring into your daily life.

Video Materials:


What are coping skills?

This lesson will focus on coping skills.

Coping skills are strategies that help people deal with mental health challenges in order to achieve positive mental health and wellbeing. Coping skills are also methods a person uses to deal with stressful situations. They may help a person face a situation, take action, and be flexible and persistent in solving problems.

Types of coping skills

The following is a list of coping skills that you may want to explore and apply to your life. Catching negative thoughts and replacing them with healthy ones, setting and maintaining appropriate and healthy boundaries between you and others. De-stressing with soothing activities like:

  • Reading
  • Puzzles
  • Listening to music
  • Eating healthy
  • Sleeping the right amount
  • Finding things that make you grateful
  • Creating moments of joy in each day
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Mindfulness meditation
  • Journaling or beginning a gratitude journal
  • Grounding techniques such as the five, four, three, two, one method
  • Guided imagery or visualization
  • Breathing exercises
  • Aromatherapy
  • Physical activity such as working out, palates, yoga or walking
  • Art therapy
  • Laughing

How can you incorporate coping skills into your daily schedule? Most people think you have to set aside a large amount of time to meditate, journal, practice mindfulness or exercise. The truth is, you only need to allot a few minutes a day to start. Once you get into the habit of using your newfound coping skills, the rest is easy.

The first step is to recognize that your mental and emotional well-being are important.

The second step is to make the time for yourself. Schedule yourself on the calendar like you would a doctor appointment or important meeting. Think of this as a date with yourself.

The third step is to just do it. Let’s talk about ground techniques…

Grounding is best practiced while you are feeling calm and before you feel you are in crisis mode. Focus on the present moment and be careful to not dwell on past memories or overwhelm yourself with thoughts of the future.

Use the five, four, three, two, one method. Five things you can see. Four things you can touch or feel. Three things you can hear. Two things you can smell. And one thing you can taste.

Many people have difficulty remembering how to breathe when they are stressed, depressed, anxious and the like. Some forget to breathe and they’re breathing slows down and gets stuck. Others breathe too rapidly and they hyperventilate, which could cause them to become lightheaded, dizzy or faint.

I would like for you to allow yourself to be in the moment and focus on your breathing. I’m going to take you through a short breathing exercise.

Take a deep breath in through your nose…………

Then slowly blew it out through your mouth…………

One more time…………….

And as you exhale………

Allow your mind to clear…………

Your eyes to close………..

And feel that this time is just for you……..

Take three deep, abdominal breaths. And feel as if you are releasing all of the thoughts and tension of the day with each exhalation……….

Allow your abdomen to expand on the inhalation. And contract on the exhalation.

Give yourself permission to sit in this moment of stillness and peace.

[Pause 5 seconds]

When you are ready, you can open your eyes feeling relaxed and eager to face the rest of your day.

Practice this several times a day so that it becomes a part of your daily routine.

In our final lesson, we’re going to review the concept of post-traumatic growth.

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