Positive Coping Skills

By BetterHelp Editorial Team|Updated July 10, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
You may have heard of positive coping skills before, or perhaps you already perform these positive coping skills without realizing it. Every day we are forced to deal with a barrage of emotions. Some of these emotions are felt more intensely, while others are fleeting. Sometimes, we might even be faced with emotions that seem to be almost always present. These emotions may overwhelm us sometimes, or change our days unless we try positive coping skills. Some of these emotions include sadness, anxiety, fear, and stress. Dealing with these emotions in large amounts daily requires strategy and a conscious effort to keep these emotions at bay. Positive coping skills can be helpful tools in managing all emotions.

In most instances, when dealing with these emotions, we can feel supported by developing healthy and positive coping skills and messages.

Would You Like To Learn Positive Coping Skills?

A coping skill or strategy is a reaction that is often involuntary, which a person may adopt sub-consciously to deal with a recurring situation. Most coping skills are not adopted consciously. These sub-conscious coping mechanisms are usually more hurtful in the long term to the individual who has adopted the coping strategy than they are helpful. Most positive coping skills are honed and developed over time to become beneficial to the individual who is adopting them. There are several different categories of positive coping mechanisms available, and in this article, we will discuss a few of these coping mechanisms. It is important to develop a healthy, positive coping skills for less stressful daily living.

Social And Interpersonal Coping Skills

Science has proven that inter-personal relationships and social support go a long way to counteract the effects of stress on a person. Connecting with people close to you is one of many important positive coping skills you might already be proficient at. Relating with friends and just unwinding goes a long way in helping a lot of people unwind from a stressful situation and is one of the natural skills many of us possess. Also, participation in social groups is part of positive coping skills that can help you relax and feel rejuvenated and understood. These social situations help all parties involved to have a support system in case certain feelings overwhelm them from time to time. Social and interpersonal positive coping skills do not necessarily have to be something as complex as having a group of friends with several activities. However, that in itself is not a bad coping skill. For some people, a social coping skill may be as simple as having weekly dates with someone that they trust. Social interaction can be limited to one specific person or several people, mainly depending on what you think will make you feel most supported in the moment. This may seem like normal social time or time with friends, but these gatherings are part of positive coping skills. Other social and interpersonal coping mechanisms may include volunteering joining a book club, or even adopting and caring for a pet. Remember, the end goal here is to ensure that some form of interaction can be used to bring you into the moment, which is part of positive coping skills known as mindfulness.

Healthy Diversions Skills

Positive coping skills allow you to divert your thoughts from an overwhelming situation to something much small yet equally mentally tasking. Most diversion coping mechanisms are used as a temporary solution for much more lasting coping mechanisms. A lot of times, people can select their diversions for coping naturally. A diversion can be watching a recipe video on YouTube, or selecting a movie to watch. In some cases, people dance or sing loudly for some time as a way to release stress. Reading a book is also a perfect positive coping mechanism. Whatever you may decide on or naturally identify as a diversion coping mechanism, your diversion should be positive coping skills. As good as naturally finding a positive coping system may sound, it is still a great idea to identify and apply a diversion proactively. By identifying a diversion that you feel will be beneficial to you, maintaining control of your diversion becomes possible. Taking a walk, frequent vacations, reading a book, going shopping, volunteering, or watching a tv show are all good ideas of positive coping skills that you could adopt.

Cognitive Coping Skills

Cognitive positive coping skills involve training the mind to identify negative emotions and stress-inducing situations. When you identifies negative patterns of thinking, you have an opportunity to challenge them. These patterns can lead to an increase in stress or negative thoughts, often unnecessarily. Words like “should” and statements, which are often conclusions of over thinking or self-judgement, are all identified clearly. The purpose of this mental exercise is to help you fully identify potentially negative thought patterns, which may ultimately lead to negative emotions and bad feelings. Identifying and redirecting these thoughts can be an important part of positive coping skills. Although this is mostly a mental activity, feel free to document these thoughts, visual documentation may serve as a reminder for a situation where it is difficult to put your mind in the right headspace. Simply identifying these thoughts and recognizing that they are not reflective of you as a person is an important part of these positive coping skills.

Coping: Identifying And Replacing Thoughts

After identifying all of these negative thoughts and the patterns you can move to the next stage. You can now begin to replace these negative thoughts with positive ones. Thoughts like “I can’t do this” are replaced with positive affirmation saying, “I am competent.” It is advisable to have several positive affirmations to address negative mental situations. Having several truths which you can tell yourself when you begin to feel a way that you have identified as being negative. Some exercises that you may engage in include keeping a daily positive journal, making a gratitude list, making a list of daily positive affirmations, making a ‘forget it list” for the thoughts you want to put out of your mind, etc. All of the activities you may engage in as cognitive coping should be aimed at reducing the negativity in your thoughts and replacing these negative thoughts with positive thoughts. These cognitive positive coping skills can go a long way in supporting your sense of self.

Tension Releasing Positive Coping Skills

One of the most effective ways to distress is to be involved in one form of tension relieving activity or another. In most instances, stress may build up in individuals up to the point where they need an outlet to express their frustrations. In such a situation, some form of exercise which leaves the individual feeling exhausted and refreshed is usually a good tension reliever. Finding and adopting a tension relieving coping mechanism is personal to every person; there is no one-size-fits-all hack to this coping strategy. Since stress is not something that you can predict or hold back, it is essential to have a coping skill that can be applied anywhere. Most people develop short and long term stress coping skills and techniques. One short term tension coping skill that is easily adoptable by anyone is meditation. Taking a moment to calm your mind and focus on the here and now is a good strategy for letting go of stress.

You may need to allow your mind to actively pay attention to smells, sound, and touch sensations to de-stress yourself. Another one of tension releasing positive coping skills can be as easy as receiving a hug from a loved one. Hugs have been proven to relieve stress. Science has shown that getting a hug from a loved one releases a hormone known as oxytocin, which is associated with higher levels of happiness and lower levels of stress.

One effective long term tension coping skill is listening to your body and giving it what it needs. Eating nutritious foods, getting enough rest and sleep, making sure you drink enough water, and using mindful movement several times a week go a long way in regulating your body and your emotions. When your body feels nourished and balanced, you may find it much easier to engage in positive coping skills often.

In the long term, this particular coping technique allows your body to feel better and react to situations better. Physical activity is also a great tension in positive coping skills. Joining a gym taking a self-defense class or learning some martial arts are great ways to vent in a controlled environment. These activities go a long way in balancing out your emotions. In most cases, selecting a physical activity to engage in works perfectly as one of your positive coping skills.

Praying, Meditation, and Enjoyment in Nature

Would You Like To Learn Positive Coping Skills?

Connecting with your inner self or a higher prayer on a spiritual level is a great coping mechanism for many people. Focusing on the connection that you have with nature or with a higher power can be enough to take your mind off all negative emotions, which may threaten to cloud it. There is an inner desire in every one of us to feel worthwhile and connected to the universe, and the skill of meditation can help. By satisfying these needs, there is a calmness that exudes from within which help you focus and gives you clarity.

Sometimes all you need to deal with the stress of life is a little faith.

How BetterHelp Can Help

At BetterHelp, trained professionals and specialists are available to help you select what coping mechanism works best for you. Our licensed professionals are also available to be your support system as you lean into selecting a coping mechanism. Your mental health is very important, and you may find that additional support from a therapist helps you to maintain a healthy mental balance. If you are managing stress or a mental disorder, there is a possibility that you can manage this condition by adopting any of these coping strategies without the need for further treatment. If you're curious about trying online therapy, contact our experts and BetterHelp, who will help you select the best path to striking a mental health balance. 
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