WORDS | DR. AMANDA EASTON, PHD, CRC, LCPC
Coping skills are critical for feeling mentally healthy and stable. Without coping skills, many people will experience symptoms of mental health disorders, like anxiety or depression, where others might develop a mental health disorder. Finding the right coping skills for you can be the difference between being able to manage work, school, and play or not. Some awesome coping skills to try out are:
Breathing Exercises: Breathing exercises can be as simple as taking a large inhale through the nose for 3 seconds, and then exhaling through the mouth for 3 seconds. Make sure you are filling up your entire belly with air and repeat for a few minutes. There are also some super cool breathing apps, like Breathe2Relax.
Thought Challenging: Ever have a situation where you are thinking in terms of all or nothing? For example, telling yourself that everyone in the room is looking at you, or you’re simply not good enough? Try thought challenging! Thought challenging is when you challenge negative thoughts with a “challenging statement” like, “I am okay, and I know I can do this.”
Exercise and Eating Well: The power of exercise and eating well goes a very long way in terms of mental health. When we exercise, endorphins are released and provide an uplifting and energetic feeling. The same goes for eating well! If we decide to eat high fat and sugary foods all the time, we are likely to feel lethargic and drained. Eating well balanced and nutritional foods help our brains and bodies to function at their best.
Spirituality: While you don’t have to be religious, having a sense of a higher power or spirituality can be very beneficial when trying to manage a depressed or anxious mood. There are a couple of ways to think about this. One being that you attend an organized religious platform where prayer and practice might be the focus. Another way of thinking about this is maintaining one’s own sense of spirituality without an institution or organization. Regardless, the routine and practice are what make spirituality a beneficial coping skill for many.