Coping Skills Development

Everyone attempts to cope with life’s stressors. Most people utilize a mixed bag of strategies, which could probably be put somewhere on a spectrum. Toward one end are healthier coping skills, and toward the other end are unhealthy coping skills. To be more effective in life and cope better, we encourage you to work on using coping skills that are on the healthier side of the spectrum, but provide you common strategies on both sides of the spectrum so you can see what you might be doing. Circle the ones you use routinely.

Healthier Coping Skills

I confront the situation head on

I distance myself from the situation

I control myself

I use relaxation techniques

I act to take care of things myself

I learn or develop special skills

I call a friend

I call a supportive family member

I keep on trying and trying

I become very tolerant

I try to get all the facts

I debate things within myself

I learn more about what happened

I involve myself in daily tasks

I try to see the situation as positive

I accept responsibility when appropriate

I set healthy boundaries with others

I sleep or nap to build up my reserves

I do something creative

I pray and rely on my higher power

I dream

I make do with what I have

I do art work

I write in a journal

I work at a hobby

I find a mission

I seek out social situations

I talk with others about the event

I find someone who will listen

I seek out emotional support

I find help to complete certain tasks

I find help with problems solving

I try to reassure myself

I find physical release

I plan

I watch TV

I turn to my higher power

I turn to the safest person I know

I identify the sources of my fear

I pray

I find others who have been through the same thing I have

I go to therapy

I join a support group

I educate myself

I remind myself that things could be worse

I try to find meaning in what happened


Unhealthier Coping Skills

I become very aware of the needs and feelings of others

I distance myself from myself

I escape through dissociation or forgetting

I escape through drugs or alcohol

I call an unsupportive friend or family member

I imagine the worst possible outcome

I see myself as bad

I see myself as a failure

I shame myself

I create rigid boundaries

I use fantasy to escape

I take care of others, not myself

I minimize the importance of what happened

I use humor and jokes as a defense

I trap myself

I overwork

I do busywork

I abuse others

I neglect myself

I repeatedly injure myself

I make suicidal threats/gestures

I help others

I just don’t think about it

I lose sight of the facts

I blame myself

I split into alternate selves

I avoid daily tasks

I lie

I manipulate

I over-control myself

I lay guilt trips on others

I don’t sleep

I over-control my environment

I create chaos around me

I become perfectionistic

I do criminal or illegal acts

I see the world in a negative light

I become over-dependent

I develop compulsive behavior

I become obsessed about things

Did you notice a theme or pattern to your style of coping? If you find yourself utilizing more of the unhealthy coping skills, we would encourage you to come in and speak with a counselor who can help you try to help you transition toward more healthy coping skills.

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