What are coping skills?

What are coping skills? Who needs them? Do you have to have some kind of mental disorder like depression, anxiety or ADHD to use them?
Coping skills are methods of dealing with difficult or stressful situations that help to maintain your mental health. Anyone can use them – someone having a difficult day at work can benefit just as much from coping skills as someone who suffers from constant depression.
Effective coping skills can range from coloring in a coloring book to exercise to fidgeting with a colorful pompom. These skills are anything healthy and safe that can refocus your mind and give you an outlet for your thoughts and energy. For example, someone with anxiety may choose to read. This can take them out of their own mind and into a fictional story. Others might find it difficult to read when they are overwhelmed by their anxiety, in which case reading may not be a coping skill for them. However, yoga may be, or meditation, painting, playing piano, using play dough.
But what if these options are not available to you outside your home or therapist’s office, such as at work or school? Have no fear; you can find subtle coping skills to use in these situations. If you are the kind of person who benefits from a “fidget” or something you can play around with in your hand to release your energy (good for people with ADHD or people who can’t sit still for long periods of time – these people tend to pick at their desks, draw in the corner of their notebook, bite their fingernails, or constantly seek something to do while they’re working) you may benefit from the pompom suggestion. Keeping a small pompom in your hand under your desk to play around with will keep you from picking at anything else, and can refocus your energy. You can also find a squishy pencil grip or funky eraser to do the same with. This is even subtler as you may be more likely to have these items around.
If you are the kind of person who seeks to refocus their mind instead of their body, journaling may be for you. If you have the time and space to do so at work or in class, you might consider taking the time to write your thoughts onto a piece of paper. For some, they feel that their overwhelming thoughts are being taken out of them and transferred to the paper. This is a pretty simple and accessible coping skill. Alternatively, if you’re the kind of person to chew your fingernail or the insides of your cheeks throughout the day, try chewing gum. When driving, for example, some people have no other way to release their energy while sitting in the car. Work your mouth and chew some gum!
Coping skills can be used by anyone of any age, anywhere. Successful coping skills vary from person to person and should adapt to your personal
needs. Try a number of things and use them as often as needed to help ease whatever is plaguing you. You’ll never know what works until you try!b172e73dfafbcb17b8936309eeff572d


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