Coping with your feelings is a skill you can work on and develop. There’s no better time to start than today. Developing coping skills takes practice to get good at it, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Here are five coping skills to try that might help you feel better when you are having difficult emotions.
Move your body
Movement is a great way to release endorphins (a chemical in your brain that makes you feel good!) and improve your mood. It can also help you sleep better, make you feel more confident, and even improve productivity. Movement can look like many things, including:
- Going for a walk
- Playing a sport
- Riding a bike
- And so much more!
It’s easy to forget that we live in a beautiful world, and it’s also easy to get stuck indoors. When you are stuck indoors, stress can build up and make you feel even worse. Getting outside is one of the best ways to break out of your comfort zone and get some fresh air–and it has the potential to help you feel better! If you don’t have time for a full hike or bike ride right now (or if those activities aren’t really your thing), try sitting on a bench or walking around slowly while enjoying nature’s beauty around you. Getting outside and in touch with nature has many physical and mental health benefits. Plus, as a bonus, you get Vitamin D from the sun. Not having enough Vitamin D has been linked to depression like symptoms. Luckily, the sun can provide lots of Vitamin D to help improve your mood.
Listen to music
Listening to music can help to distract you from from negative feelings. It can also have a positive effect on your mood.
- Listen to music that you like. Listening to music you enjoy may help to put your mind at ease and make you feel better about yourself and the world around you.
- Listen to music that makes you feel good. There are many different types of songs out there, so try listening to some upbeat or soothing tunes. You may want something with lyrics too – some people find that this helps them connect emotionally with the song while others just prefer instrumental tracks because they don’t distract from whatever else they’re doing.
- Try listening to bilateral music. This is music that alternates between ears, this is something that is used in therapies such as EMDR and Brainspotting and can be soothing.
Take a few deep breaths
Breathing is one of the easiest coping skills to try. You breathe all day, but how often are you actually focusing on what you are doing? You can find many breathing exercises online. One simple breathing exercise is to close your eyes, put your hands on your stomach, and take five deep breaths. Complete each breathe with five seconds in, a three second hold, and five seconds out. Do this as many times as you need. The great thing about using your breathe as a coping skill is that it is always there with you. Whether you are sitting in class, out with friends, or laying in bed, this is a coping skill that is always there for you when you need it.
Write about your feelings
Journaling about your feelings is a great way to understand them better. Journaling can take many different forms.
- Write down what happened that upset you. This can be hard at first, writing down all the details will help clarify what exactly happened and how it made you feel. This may seem like re-living the experience over again, however, this time around, it’s done on your terms: You choose when to stop writing; no one else can tell what’s going on inside of your head (or heart).
- Try a CBT skill by using a thought log. You may want to try to challenge and change negative thought patterns using a thought log as useful tool. This will help you to understand the connection between your thoughts, feelings and behaviors.
- Draw a picture. Journaling doesn’t have to be just writing, drawing can be helpful too.
- Use a journaling prompt. If you are struggling to decide what to write about, journaling prompts can be a useful tool.
Coping skills can help you feel better when quickly, a Mindhues therapist can help you solve the source of your feelings.
It’s important to remember that coping skills don’t solve the source of your feelings. They can help you feel better when you’re having difficulty feelings, but they won’t eliminate the problem altogether. Coping skills are also just one tool in your toolbox for dealing with difficult emotions–they aren’t a magic cure. A Mindhues therapist can help you get to the root of the issues you may be having.