Our Favorite List Of Coping Skills

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Our Therapists Favorite Mental Health List of Coping Skills

Whether someone is feeling some level of sadness due to depression, overwhelmed from anxiety, or experiencing general stress, most psychotherapists in Pennsylvania will often encourage their client to rely on some basic or foundational coping strategies. This will usually start with being able to identify or “name it” skills to build the client’s awareness. Whether that is what they may be thinking, emotionally feeling, physically feeling, or behaviorally doing. Although awareness is the first step to gaining some control back into their lives, clinicians will encourage individuals to use some form of coping strategy. Here is a list of coping skills we at Edward Jenny & Associates recommend our clients to try.

Diaphragmatic “Belly” BreathingPerson on beach practicing diaphragmatic breathing. If you're feeling stuck, check out out list of coping skills in Pennsylvania. These are some of our psychotherapists favorite tools. If you need additional support begin out anxiety support group, anxiety treatment, or depression treatment today!

Our first skill on our list of coping skills is helpful when you might be feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or even experiencing a panic attack. Clients will talk about how breathing skills are sometimes or somewhat helpful. What we usually find is that people either take normal or shallow breaths a few times before giving up. Instead, we talk about belly breathing that requires using the diaphragm, which is a large muscle that sits below the lungs, to help take a deeper than normal breath into our lungs. Here are some tips to do it.

1 Step: Put one hand on your chest and another hand on your stomach

2 Step: Notice the rise and fall of either your hand or stomach as you take an in-breath

3 Step: If you’re noticing your hand on your chest moving more, we want to focus on taking deeper breaths and filling our belly during each breath.

4 Step: “Belly Breaths” involves slowly breathing in through the nose, drawing the breath down toward the stomach. The stomach should push upward against the hand, while the chest remains still

Practice doing “belly breathing” for 5-10 minutes at a time throughout your day. It may also help to rate your stress between 1-10 before engaging in this strategy and then re-evaluating your stress after doing it. More times than not you’ll often see a reduction

STOP MethodStop sign. If you're feeling stuck in life, then check out our list of coping skills in Pennsylvania. We work with adults and offer coping skills for adults struggling with relationships, anxiety, depression, and more. Call now for psychotherapy support!

Every now and then we may get caught up with our emotions or lost in our thoughts. This is often common when we might be experiencing rumination from anxiety, feelings of hopelessness when depressed or becoming so emotionally activated when you’re feeling angry or frustrated. It’s during these moments a strategy for helping bring you back to a focus and into the present moment is important. The STOP Method is one approach to achieve that quickly to re-orient yourself.

First, imagine and envision looking at a stop sign. How many sides are on a stop sign? What color is it mostly? Notice the color of the outline? How do you spell the word on the sign?

Next, approach the intervention by thinking about the acronym STOP

Stop what you are doing

Take a breath (take a few breaths and maybe some diaphragmatic “belly” breaths)

Observe what you are thinking, emotionally feeling, physically feeling, behaving

Plan your next steps – now that you know what your current experience is like, is the next plan to use some type of other coping strategy or communication skill. 

It’s at this point it is helpful to recognize that the hope is you’ve given yourself the opportunity and space to be more proactive rather than reactive. Also, now that you’ve been able to stop the cycle of intrusive thoughts or emotions, you’re in a better position to focus on what matters most for you at that moment.

Five Senses Grounding Technique

Like the STOP Method, this strategy is also helpful when we may notice we’re having a hard time with our thoughts or so wrapped up by a memory/experience, which is often seen when people are deep in their depression, anxiety, or trauma. The hope is to use your current environment to help bring you back to the present. 

To engage in this strategy, follow this quick intervention of naming a few things around you

First, Name 5 things that you can SEE

Next, Name 4 things that you can FEEL

Then, Name 3 things that you can HEAR

Name 2 things that you can SMELL

Then, Name 1 thing that you can TASTE

Lastly, list one positive thing about yourself

Again, the hope is to snap you out of your experience or stress for a moment. The difficulty that most people bring up is that it helps for a moment, but the thought or experience comes back. Remember this is to be expected. We’re not trying to get away from the thought or emotion. Rather, the coping skill is to bring you back to a focus so that you are more present. Plus, you can identify the next steps for improving your mood.

Four Square Breathing Box

Sometimes a skill is required to not only help ground yourself into the present moment, but you may also need a skill to start relaxing. This might happen when you’re having trouble staying focused, a panic attack, overwhelmed by anxious and intrusive thoughts, or generally just feeling nervous about something you may have to do. The four-square breathing box is an intervention that combines both relaxation and grounding strategies into one powerful skill. What’s needed is any business card-sized piece of paper or a post-it note. The best part of the intervention is that these items can be carried in your pocket. Or even in your wallet whenever you might need to use them.

Here’s a diagram of how you’ll want to label each side of the card.

We write “4s” onto each side to represent the four sides of a box, but more importantly, they’ll represent four seconds of a breath. To do this exercise, you’ll want to hold the card in one position and slowly breathe in for four seconds, rotate the card, now breath out for four seconds. Again, you’ll rotate the card, breathe in for four seconds, rotate the card again, and then breath out for four seconds. Continue breathing in and out while rotating the card for a few minutes or until you feel a decrease in your anxiety/stress.

Reason for effectiveness

The reason this skill is effective involves the function of using relaxation/breathing skills and a grounding technique when we may be feeling a little overwhelmed and out of control. We’re essentially trying to engage and regulate our breathing to be consistent while reducing any mental/emotional anxiety or any physical sensations that might be a result of stress. The skill also incorporates a grounding technique as you’re using something within your control (the card) to manipulate as you shift your focus onto the card and your breathing rather than the intrusive thought, anxiety, or physical sensations that you’re experiencing.

Worry Time

Many of us have trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep. This usually happens when we’re having some intrusive thoughts or concerns, trying to process what happened during the day, and/or when we’re trying to think about the following day or week. Similarly, this happens most frequently with people who may be struggling with anxiety, OCD, and/or depression. Whatever the situation is, it’s making it even harder to sleep because we’re getting ourselves worked up and worried. One strategy that could help in this area is called “Worry Time.”

This intervention requires you to have a pen/pencil and a journal or pieces of paper to write on. Now that you’ve got the right equipment, the skill can be used about one hour before bed or immediately after waking up. During that time, you’ll want to write anything and EVERYTHING you feel might cross your mind or things you feel you may need to think/worry about. Be as specific and detailed as possible to write everything down. Once the time is up or you feel you’ve written everything you needed to. Put the pen and paper away (put in a drawer or in a separate room if you have to and try to go to sleep. Potentially even do some type of relaxation exercise or meditation to aid in falling asleep.

The Purpose of This Coping Skill

The function of this strategy is to help you shift your focus onto sleeping rather than the things you may want to worry about. Like a mindfulness intervention of focusing on the present moment, if you have a worrisome thought, you’ll tell yourself, “I already wrote it down” or “I’ll write it in the morning” (if planning on using the intervention when you wake up for the day), so I’m choosing to focus on my sleep or the relaxation/sleep exercise. By giving yourself the time to write down some of your thoughts, emotions, or concerns, you’ve given yourself the mental and emotional space to acknowledge these are things. By addressing the issues you are experiencing you can spend more energy focusing on your sleep. 

Our List of Coping Skills Are Not the Final Solution to “Fixing” DistressCounseling spelled out in blocks. Needing Support? Learn some mental health coping skills for adults. Our online psychologists are here to support you. Learn from our therapists our favoring skills from our list of coping skill in Pennsylvania today!

No matter what coping skill you use, it’s helpful to remember that they’re meant to provide temporary relief and help you refocus or reframe what you may be thinking or feeling. Once you’ve been able to feel like you’re more in the driver’s seat than your emotions, it’s important to re-engage in the connections and activities that are important to you. This can include engaging in interest, connecting with a friend or loved one, or doing something that aligns with your core values. The more you do something that you enjoy, the more you feel like yourself and be yourself. 

Counseling Can Help You!

Our list of coping skills is only the tip of the iceberg of what psychotherapy and collaborative assessments in Pennsylvania can provide for you. Stress can often feel overwhelming and isolating, leading to feeling hopelessness, and having trouble overcoming challenges. Online therapy in Pennsylvania allows for a unique opportunity to explore and tackle new challenges.

We at Edward Jenny & Associates have worked with many individuals with similar shared experiences who have discovered their own inner resilience. These individuals have gone on to feel empowered to overcome daily challenges and go on to lead lives that are true to their goals and desires. 

We are here to support you!

If you are struggling with something not mentioned on this list of coping skills. It is important to remember that this list is not all-encompassing and if you have questions about your specific struggles, please feel free to call us with any questions.

You’re Not Alone in Your Stressors!

It is critical to mention that many people who experience these challenges also may experience thoughts of self-harm. This can be scary and confusing and something that may be difficult to bring up. We are here to help you through these challenges. Our therapists are here to ensure that you move towards a life that you find meaningful. One where you are able to cope with stressors as they arise.

Need Support?

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please know that there is help and we are here for you! If you are in immediate crisis and need emergency care, please call 911 or go to your nearest hospital. You can also call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Why Choose Our Online Therapy Practice?

This may also be the first-time individuals can independently seek out treatment or feel confident to admit to the challenges they face. We focus on trust, a strong therapeutic relationship, and collaborative care. We understand that individuals may experience one or many of the challenges listed above and strive to ensure that treatment is individualized to that person’s specific needs. 

Begin Treatment in Kennett Square, PA, or via Online Therapy in Pennsylvania

Counseling can help you move towards your aspirations and a life worth living. Our Kennett Square counseling center has caring therapists who specialize in psychotherapy, collaborative assessment, supervision, and consultation. Feel free to explore their profiles by following these links:

To start your counseling journey, follow these simple steps:

  1. Contact Edward Jenny & Associates
  2. Meet with one of our expert therapists
  3. Start working towards your best self and accomplish the goals that are meaningful for you!

Other Therapy Services We Offer:

At Edward Jenny and Associates, we also specialize in collaborative assessmenttreatment for depressionPTSD treatment and trauma therapycounseling for college studentscouples therapy, and assessment, and treatment for anxiety.

We also provide an anxiety support group for those who work better in a community setting. Additionally, we offer consultation and supervision for those seeking professional support. We look forward to working with you and developing better mental health in person or via online therapy in Pennsylvania!

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