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50 Healthy Coping Strategies

Life is hard. And if you’re anything like me, you might freeze up and wonder what to do with yourself when the walls come crashing down. It happens. (Imagine the shrug emoji here.)

In my experience, this is the perfect time to employ a healthy coping strategy. A coping strategy doesn’t have to be something directly related to mental health. Instead, it can be something as simple as whipping up some chocolate chip cookies or going for a walk outside. Almost anything that makes you feel better without harming you, your environment, or those around you can be considered a healthy coping mechanism. If you find yourself feeling a little sad, a little anxious, or a little lost, here are some ideas.

  1. Listening to music

  2. Watching something funny or hopeful on Netflix

  3. Exercising

  4. Playing with a pet

  5. Talking to a friend

  6. Journaling

  7. Watching Vine compilations on YouTube

  8. Cleaning

  9. Breathing exercises

  10. Drawing

  11. Cooking or baking

  12. Noticing one thing around you for each of the 5 senses

  13. Sending a nice message to someone you care about

  14. Reading

  15. Making fun plans for the future

  16. Going for a walk

  17. Starting a vision board (on paper or on Pinterest)

  18. Writing a letter (you don’t have to send it!)

  19. Riding your bike

  20. Going for an aimless drive

  21. Hiking (and maybe getting a little bit lost)

  22. Aromatherapy

  23. Writing out a step-by-step game plan for how to solve a specific problem

  24. Making a new playlist

  25. Jotting down your worries and putting them in a box to address later

  26. Taking a long shower or bath

  27. Counting the things you’re grateful for

  28. Performing a random act of kindness

  29. Picking up trash at a local park or beach

  30. Calling a “warm line” (The NAMI HelpLine will find you resources in your area! 800-950-6264)

  31. Taking a 30 minute power nap

  32. Doing a puzzle/playing a “brain game”

  33. Meditating

  34. Listening to an ASMR video

  35. Practicing positive statements

  36. Looking around and mentally describing things to yourself in great detail

  37. Getting some sunshine

  38. Cuddling with a romantic partner

  39. Thinking of positive or neutral outcomes

  40. Molding something out of clay or kinetic sand

  41. Following an online tutorial (makeup, origami, etc.)

  42. Helping someone complete a task or chore

  43. Becoming involved with a community organization

  44. Crying

  45. Brewing and sipping some relaxing tea

  46. Facetiming with family far away

  47. Planting some seeds (you’ll get to watch them sprout and grow over time!)

  48. Rearranging the furniture in your room

  49. Spending time somewhere public, like a shopping mall or busy park

  50. Chat with people who can relate in an online discussion group

Whether it’s a quick, one-time activity that helps you breathe easier or a mechanism you use every day, the right coping strategy can be a lifesaver. What coping strategies have you successfully used when you’ve been in a tough spot?

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