coping skills
  • Listening Mindfully: During times of stress, we can ground our minds by paying attention to the sounds around us. If you listen closely, the world is full of sounds.  Close your eyes while listening to everything you hear, even your breathing. If you can, go outside and do this exercise. 

    Feel It: When we are under stress, we can relax our senses by touching different textures and focusing on how these textures.  Move your finger through a large bowl of dry rice, run your hands across different pieces of fabric (velvet, silk, corduroy, linen), or pet your dog or cat. 

    You’re a Winner: Think of something that you’ve done that you are proud of. Draw a picture of a medal and write the good thing that you did on the medal. 

    Noodle: Think of yourself as a noodle.  First, make your muscles hard and straight like an uncooked noodle. Quickly count to 10.  Then, let your body by a limp, loose, cooked noodle. It’s funny to walk or dance like a loose noodle. 

    Breathe In Calm, Breathe Out Yuck: Think of a color that you find relaxing and imagine that you’re breathing in that color.  Then, think about what color your yucky feelings remind you of and imagine breathing out that color.

    Merry Go Round: Visualize yourself running around on a playground merry-go-round while thinking your racing thoughts.  Hop on, and allow your thoughts to get slower and slower as the merry-go-round slows down and it's safe to hop off and walk away from the thoughts. 

    Shake It Out: Use this fun strategy to release energy or tension in your body.  Reach both arms up with your hands flat and count to 10. Then, drop your arms and head to the floor, and then shake out your arms. 

    Finger Exercises: Rhythmic movements can help us relax during times of anxiety.  Put your thumb and fingertips together one by one and then release them one by one.  You can do it quietly or by counting to 10.

    Exercise: Moving is one way that we can use our body to make ourselves feel better.  Exercise helps improve mood, reduce stress, and build confidence. You can do push ups, sit ups, jumping jacks, do a silly dance, etc. 

    Color It: Different colors can remind us of different feelings.  Choose crayons or markers with colors that remind you of how you are feeling and draw them.  When you feel relaxed, draw another picture colors that you find relaxing. 

    Happy Pictures:  If you are feeling sad or upset, one way to make yourself feel better is to look at pictures you like.  These could be pictures of superheroes, sports, or something else you really enjoy. You can even cut out the pictures and create a collage of all the things you like. 

    Feeling Strong: The image of a tree can help us feel strong and confident.  Think of yourself as a tree standing tall. Draw the tree with a strong trunk- adding its roots and leaves and pictures yourself standing like the tree.

    Soft Stuffed Animal: When you want to relax your body, pretend you are your softest animal or toy. Lie down like the toy, walk like the toy, and live as softly as the toy. 

    Balloon Breathing:  When we are stressed out, our breathing becomes faster. To calm ourselves down, we can use balloon breathing, which slows the breath.  Imagine that your belly has a balloon in it. Make it your favorite color or a relaxing color.  Visualize the balloon filling up with air when you breathe in and shrinking when you breathe out. 

    You In The Zoo: Draw yourself as your favorite animal with all the qualities that you would like to have (like strength, speed, wisdom, courage).  It could be a wise owl, a brave lion, or a strong bear. 

    Comic Strip: It feels great to laugh! Think of a funny thing that happened to you or that you say on TV.  Create a colorful comic strip about it!

    Focusing On The Good: When you’re having a rough day, one way to help yourself feel better is to think of at least three good things that happened to you that day.  Write them down and think about how these good moments made you smile or improved your mood.