Coping strategies (also referred to as coping skills or self-regulation skills) carry enormous potential to be effective at calming us down, helping us cope with life’s situations, and assisting with regulating our wide array of emotions. There are SO MANY types of coping and self-regulation strategies. Some work better for children and adolescents, while others are better suited to be used by adults. Individuals generally find that some techniques are more effective than others, depending on the situation, the emotion one might be feeling, or what you’re trying to achieve by utilizing a skill. There are numerous coping strategies out there that a person can try, if they’re just willing to give them a shot. Most people find that not every coping skill they find suggested on Google or Pinterest or even in therapy proves to be effective for everyone every time. A coping technique that your friend may use to help him calm down when he’s angry might not be as effective for you when you’re mad. That’s okay because there are LOTS AND LOTS of coping strategies out there! If you find that one technique doesn’t seem to help, look for another. Just don’t ever completely trash a skill though, as sometimes it takes more than a couple tries to notice that a strategy really helps, and what may not work today may help significantly in the future, and vice versa.
So, What Exactly Are “Cognitive Coping Strategies?”
In my last post, I introduced a list of diversion strategies to help people better cope with their emotions, as well as distressing events they may be experiencing in their lives. In this post you will find a list of 42 positive cognitive coping and self-regulation skills that you can try when you’re in need of something that involves using some brain power and thought processes in order to help influence the way you feel and/or behave. You will likely find that some strategies may be more appropriate for adults, while others might prove more appropriate for children and teens. Trying all of them, however, won’t hurt you as long as the task is within your skill level (for example, a five-year-old may find it difficult and equally frustrating if she tries to learn how to code). These techniques can be utilized by anybody, though some skills will probably appear more appealing than others.
Try them out. Let me know in the comments section if they help, or maybe you have some of your own ideas that you would like to share! Remember, if one strategy doesn’t seem particularly helpful, try something else.
42 Cognitive Coping Strategies That Will Work Your Mind and Help Regulate How Your Feel
- Make a gratitude list.
- Keep a daily positive experiences journal.
- Brainstorm solutions to a problem you’re facing.
- Make a pros and cons list.
- Keep an inspirational quote with you.
- Find different inspirational and meaningful quotes and start a notebook so you can read them whenever you want.
- Write a list of goals.
- Create a vision board.
- Make a bucket list.
- Make a “forget it” list.
- Take a class (online or on a campus).
- Act opposite of negative feelings you’re experiencing.
- Write a list of your strengths (and refer to it often).
- Complete a crossword or word search puzzle.
- Play a word game on your phone or on your computer.
- Make a to do list.
- Make a list of your best qualities.
- List things you’re proud of.
- Start your memoir.
- Start a blog.
- Research your family tree.
- Start a dream journal.
- Write a letter.
- Call or write your senator to discuss an issue that’s important to you.
- Learn a new skill (like typing, bookkeeping, etc.).
- Learn 10 new words.
- Learn photography.
- Do a puzzle.
- Play a videogame. (Minecraft is an excellent game that works your brain!)
- Count things.
- Study and learn a foreign language.
- Study and learn sign language.
- Join a book club.
- Check out a book from your local library.
- Research something you’re interested in or would like to learn more about.
- Color a mandala or a page from an adult (or child’s) coloring book.
- Learn how to play an instrument.
- Practice playing an instrument.
- Learn how to read sheet music.
- Learn how to code.
Hope these help! Check back for future posts about other types of coping strategies!