Monthly Archive February 2016

ByStacy Garcia, MA, LPC, NCC

42 Cognitive Coping Strategies That Will Work Your Mind and Help Regulate How You Feel

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.

Cognitive Coping Strategies

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

  1. Make a gratitude list.
  2. Keep a daily positive experiences journal.
  3. Brainstorm solutions to a problem you’re facing.
  4. Make a pros and cons list.
  5. Keep an inspirational quote with you.  Cognitive Coping Strategies
  6. Find different inspirational and meaningful quotes and start a notebook so you can read them whenever you want.
  7. Write a list of goals.
  8. Create a vision board.
  9. Make a bucket list.
  10. Make a “forget it” list.
  11. Take a class (online or on a campus).
  12. Act opposite of negative feelings you’re experiencing.
  13. Write a list of your strengths (and refer to it often).
  14. Complete a crossword or word search puzzle.
  15. Play a word game on your phone or on your computer.
  16. Make a to do list.
  17. Write.
  18. Journal.
  19. Make a list of your best qualities.
  20. List things you’re proud of.
  21. Start your memoir.
  22. Start a blog. Cognitive Coping Strategies
  23. Research your family tree.
  24. Start a dream journal.
  25. Write a letter.
  26. Call or write your senator to discuss an issue that’s important to you.
  27. Learn a new skill (like typing, bookkeeping, etc.).
  28. Learn 10 new words.  Cognitive Coping Strategies
  29. Learn photography.
  30. Do a puzzle.
  31. Play a videogame.  (Minecraft is an excellent game that works your brain!)
  32. Count things.
  33. Study and learn a foreign language.
  34. Study and learn sign language.
  35. Join a book club.
  36. Check out a book from your local library.  Cognitive Coping Strategies
  37. Research something you’re interested in or would like to learn more about.
  38. Color a mandala or a page from an adult (or child’s) coloring book.
  39. Learn how to play an instrument.
  40. Practice playing an instrument.
  41. Learn how to read sheet music.  Cognitive Coping Strategies
  42. Learn how to code.

Hope these help!  Check back for future posts about other types of coping strategies!

ByStacy Garcia, MA, LPC, NCC

54 Diversion Strategies to Help You Cope

Diversion Coping SkillsCoping skills (also called self-regulation skills) are great.  Seriously.  They have the potential to be effective in a number of ways.  Feeling sad or depressed?  Find a coping strategy that helps lift your mood.  Feeling angry?  There are coping skills to help with that.  Are you feeling anxious?  There are strategies you can try to help you feel better.  Feeling a sense of emptiness?  There are techniques for that too.  Just feeling upset in general?  Yep, there’s coping strategies for that as well.  Feeling bored?  Choose a coping skill to help you get out of that funk.

There are numerous types of coping and self-regulation strategies.  Some work better for children and teens; others work better for adults.  Some techniques are more effective with helping to fight urges to self-harm.  Other techniques are more helpful when you’re feeling depressed or anxious.  And then there are others that can help calm you down when you’re feeling angry.  There are even strategies out there that help individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts.

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different coping skills out there that a person could try.  Just check out Pinterest and Google.  That’s a good thing because most people find that not every coping skill will prove effective for everyone every time.  A coping skill that helps your friend may not help regulate your feelings at all.  What helps you control your anger might not be as effective at lifting your mood when you’re feeling depressed.  That’s okay because there are lots and lots of coping skills out there!  If you learn that one technique doesn’t help, look for another.  Don’t completely trash a skill though.  Sometimes it takes more than one or two tries to notice that something really helps, and what may not work today may help significantly a few months from now.

What Are “Diversion Strategies?”

In this post you will find a list of 54 diversion strategies that you can try to help cope with those overwhelming emotions we all feel sometimes.  “Diversion strategies” are coping skills that will allow you to stop thinking about the situation contributing to your distressed emotions, at least for a period of time.  These techniques aren’t necessarily meant to be the final solution, but they can be quite useful in keeping you safe, distracting you until you have a little time to think more clearly, etc.  These strategies are particularly useful if you can recognize the warning signs of those overwhelming emotions.

Try them out.  If one doesn’t seem very helpful in regulating your emotions, try something else.

54 Diversion Strategies to Help You Cope

  1. Pet your pet.
  2. Learn how to play an instrument.
  3. Play an instrument.
  4. Write or journal.
  5. Draw or doodle.
  6. Paint.
  7. Color.
  8. Try photography.
  9. Act.
  10. Sing.
  11. Dance.
  12. Take a shower or bath.
  13. Garden.
  14. Pull weeds.
  15. Mow the grass.
  16. Take a walk.
  17. Go for a drive.
  18. Watch TV.
  19. Watch a favorite movie.
  20. Go to the movie theater to watch a movie.
  21. Watch cute or funny cat videos on YouTube.
  22. Play a game.
  23. Go shopping.
  24. Clean or organize a room.
  25. Read a book.
  26. Read the newspaper.
  27. Read a magazine.
  28. Do a crossword or word search puzzle.
  29. Take a break or vacation.
  30. Read the comics section of the newspaper (or buy a comic book and read that).
  31. Change your clothes.
  32. Take a short nap.
  33. Paint your nails.
  34. Find your pulse.
  35. Floss.
  36. Get a haircut.
  37. Play with Play-Doh or something squishy.
  38. Explore Pinterest.
  39. Change your profile pic.
  40. Re-watch your favorite TV show.
  41. YouTube for a while.
  42. Take quizzes on www.buzzfeed.com.
  43. Stargaze or cloudgaze.
  44. Bake cookies.
  45. Make a nice meal.
  46. Go outside.
  47. Play a videogame.
  48. Clean.
  49. Reorganize.
  50. Do laundry.
  51. Rearrange your furniture.
  52. Build a fort.
  53. Record each minute/second/breath you take.
  54. Count things.
Hope these help!  Check back for future posts about other types of coping strategies!
Skip to toolbar