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Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life 

  • Terri K. Lankford, LPC, NCC, LCAS

Coping Skills 101 : The Basics Part II

If you're just coming across this as the latest post Please feel free to go HERE to read Part I.

So... now that you have a better understanding of what Coping Skills are for... Have you got all that. Now what do you do with it?? How do you know if what you’re doing is helping or hindering you?

Below is a starter list of examples of Positive and Negative Coping Skills.

Take a Look.

Mark the ones you already do.

Notice if you tend to be marking more of the negative rather than positive or vice versa.

Then go back through and pick three that you could try the next time you feel like you're getting sad, overwhelmed, or just in a space where the day isn't going well.

Positive Coping Skills

Here's a list of coping skills that will help you when you are feeling strong emotions such as anger, anxiety, or depression. These activities are not likely to create more stress or problems, so these help you be more resilient and stress tolerant.


  1. Write, draw, paint, photography Play an instrument, sing, dance, act

  2. Take a shower or a bath

  3. Garden

  4. Take a walk, or go for a drive

  5. Watch television or a movie

  6. Watch cute kitten videos on YouTube

  7. Play a game

  8. Go shopping

  9. Clean or organize your environment

  10. Read

  11. Take a break or vacation

Social/Interpersonal (with others)

  1. Talk to someone you trust

  2. Set boundaries and say "no"

  3. Write a note to someone you care about

  4. Be assertive

  5. Use humor

  6. Spend time with friends and/or family

  7. Serve someone in need

  8. Care for or play with a pet

  9. Role-play challenging situations with others

  10. Encourage others

Cognitive (of the mind)

  1. Make a gratitude list

  2. Brainstorm solutions

  3. Lower your expectations of the situation

  4. Keep an inspirational quote with you

  5. Be flexible

  6. Write a list of goals

  7. Take a class

  8. Act opposite of negative feelings

  9. Write a list of pros and cons for decisions

  10. Reward or pamper yourself when successful

  11. Write a list of strengths

  12. Accept a challenge with a positive attitude

Tension Releasers

  1. Exercise or play sports Catharsis (yelling in the bathroom, punching a punching bag)

  2. Cry Laugh


  1. Get enough sleep

  2. Eat healthy foods

  3. Get into a good routine

  4. Eat a little chocolate

  5. Limit caffeine

  6. Deep/slow breathing


  1. Pray or meditate

  2. Enjoy nature

  3. Get involved in a worthy cause

Limit Setting

  1. Drop some involvement

  2. Prioritize important tasks

  3. Use assertive communication

  4. Schedule time for yourself

Negative Coping Skills

Here's a list of coping strategies that will cost you in the long run. These do more harm than good in most cases and can make life more stressful.


  1. Procrastination

  2. Abusing drugs or alcohol

  3. Wasting time on unimportant tasks

Interpersonal (with others)

  1. Blaming

  2. Isolating/withdrawing

  3. Mean or hostile joking

  4. Gossiping

  5. Criticizing others

  6. Manipulating others

  7. Refusing help from others

  8. Lying to others

  9. Sabotaging plans

  10. Being late to appointments

  11. Provoking violence from others

  12. Enabling others to take advantage of you

Cognitive (of the mind)

  1. Denying any problem

  2. Stubbornness/inflexibility

  3. All or nothing/black or white thinking

  4. Catastrophizing

  5. Overgeneralizing

Tension Releasers

  1. Tantrums

  2. Throwing things at people

  3. Hitting people

  4. Yelling at others

  5. Destroying property

  6. Speeding or driving recklessly


  1. Suicide

  2. Self harm

  3. Developing illnesses


  1. Making fun of yourself

  2. Self-sabotaging behaviors

  3. Blaming yourself

  4. Indulging

  5. Spending too much

  6. Gambling

  7. Eating too much

  8. Setting dangerous fires

  9. Continually crying

Subscribe to Join the Rise & Thrive Tribe in order to gain access to FREE 4 page PDF Version of Coping Skills BASICS Blog Pt I & Pt II as a Resource for your continued Personal Development!!


More Resources

Powerful strategies for managing stress and bringing your life into balance. This is a comprehensive discussion of ways to cope.

List Of Coping Skills For Depression.


Welcome to Embrace | Overcome | Create Your Life.


I’m Terri Kiser Lankford, owner of the Rise & Thrive Counseling Practice, a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor (in NC), and the host here at Rise & Thrive Counseling, PLLC and the Embrace| Overcome|CreateYourLife Blog.


I’m also an entrepreneur, Syltherin, foodie on a fitness journey, complete book nerd, photography novice who happens to think music is life. 


Warning! This site is about motivation, health & wellness, and self love.  but its also about various mental health issues and may talk about subjects such as suicide, self-harm and other touchy subjects at some point. This site is not intended for youth and may be “too much” to some.


Nothing on this site should be considered a medical recommendation. I am not a doctor. Anything of interest should be discussed with your doctor or therapist, or me (in person) if you are my current client.  No guarantee of accuracy is expressed or implied. (Sorry, I have to say that.)


All writing and mental health information here are accurate to the best of my knowledge at the time of publication. However, keep in mind my opinion, and available information, changes over time.

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