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Readers Respond: What Coping Skill Works for You?

Responses: 11


Updated March 24, 2009

We all have healthy coping skills that we can turn to in difficult times. But sometimes it can be hard to think of a skill when we are in the thick of a crisis, and sometimes the old standbys just don't work. When the going gets tough, what coping skill works best for you?

How to Feel Better

Find something that smells safe, like a guy friend's shirt, or nice blanket or candle.
—Guest Cassie


I find when I'm the most stressed, or highest peak of depression or anxiety; writing what's going on in my head often gives some perspective. Also, when my partner and I are on the outs and I get frantic or have a 'psychotic' episode, writing a letter instead of fighting and being outwardly irrational helps me to respond properly to whatever the problem is.
—Guest urge


I use almost every one of the things mentoned in the other posts. Guess that means I really AM a member of the club! I have found that using the black/white aspect of our personality can be turned around in many cases to be used productively. For example, one day I was reading the Bible. It said that "fits of rage" were a no-no. Because of my belief system, I internalized that thought. Rage, where it had once been simply a "reaction," not something that was right or wrong, became black-and-white WRONG to me. So strong was my B/W thinking that I was able to just STOP doing that, because I was convinced it was wrong, strongly motivated by the intensity of the B/W thing. This has also helped me stay out of some trouble. :-)

gentle confrontation

There is a point at which what we cope with has to be looked at and not just evaporated with the coping technique of our choice. If it is meant for me to cope, then I should be learning to adapt to the reality that I will be facing the dragon all of my life, so why not figure on ways to deal with it in constructive ways? I find artistic expression to help me AFTER I have processed what I need with my therapist. Or I read, journal, set myself away from the situation to avoid impulsive or critical thoughts. The company of positive people helps as well....
—Guest womanbewise


I listen to music a lot, I mean most of the day! I have used this since I was a child. Having been abused this helped me enormously. I then had sexuality problems in my teens and again I used music all the time. Even though Im going through a bad patch at the moment I still use music.
—Guest maria


I practice guided relaxation with music to take my mind off my emotions to my body.


I take issue with some of these coping mechanisms. I suppose in the end it's up to everyone to experiment for him or herself, and if these work for others, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. But I find mechanisms like listening to music and taking a walk to be just avoiding the issue. I found that talking to people, even those I love, often makes things worse because I get more involved in what's upsetting me. What helps me the most is mindfulness meditation, which was mentioned. Along those lines, I did like the strategies of "riding it out" and getting a bigger perspective on your space by putting an ice cube in your hand. But music and walking and such can just be distractions and you'll end up more upset when the issue isn't dealt with.
—Guest Rooster

Animal Therapy

I often spend time with animals, especially baby ones. If you don't have a pet you can go to the pet shop to see the animals there.
—Guest Katie

creative outlet

Find an art form you've always wanted to do. Last fall, I registered for a beginner's drawing class. I didn't think I was artistic at all and envied anyone who could express themselves creatively. This type of thinking brought me down time after after time. But after every session, I felt a sense of accomplishment and focus. It was hard to hide it because my best friend would meet me and tell me I was glowing. I also recommend connecting with active people. It may be hard and sometimes your pride will stop you from asking to join someone for a walk, run, cycle, etc...but it so worth it.
—Guest beatnikbaby

Getting out of the house

I take a long walk, take my computer to Starbucks, go to the library -- I just try to get out. A long walk with a friend is best because I get both company and exercise.
—Guest nancy


When I am at my lowest low, the only thing that helps me is to get out of my "pity party" a little bit and help someone else. The holidays are really hard for me, so this year I volunteered serving christmas dinner at a shelter for homeless women. I started the day feeling lonely and sad, but by the end of the day I felt like I had actually done something important, and I felt grateful for things like a roof over my head. Now I try to volunteer at least once a month to keep things in perspective.

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