Use these easy 100+ coping skills for anxiety, depression, anger, stress, and more to help you stop a meltdown, reverse a downward spiral, or prevent an explosion. These coping skills can help quiet your mind and your body to help you find a calmer place in yourself and climb back toward the light. Read and click through (recommendations are in the links) and try what interests you. Use what works and ignore the rest. Then feel free to print this list or copy your favorite ideas on sticky notes and post them where you’ll see them when you need them.
2. Put on temporary tattoos. This can be soothing and expressive, and they aren’t all frilly or sub-par.
3. Move your body. Walk, stretch, wiggle, or do a quick yoga video. Feel your body while it moves. Get out of your mind and into your body. It really helps. If your energy is super low or you’re struggling with chronic pain, do some gentle yoga and modify it as needed.
4. Write (poetry, stories, journal, blog, letters to your future self, etc). You can write about your feelings, or about something completely random. It can be expressive, distracting, or soothing. You decide. Use a guided journal if you don’t know how to get started.
5. Draw, scribble, or doodle on paper. This can help with anxious energy or a need for distraction.
6. Be with other people. Being around other people can help you feel more connected and less alone, and meeting new people, while anxiety-proviking, can lead to lasting friendships which are good for your health.
7. Watch a favorite TV show. Choose something comforting or uplifting, and not something that will feed a negative mood.
8. Post on discussion boards, and answer others’ posts. You can use Facebook groups, or help people out on Yahoo questions or Ask.com. There are limitless opportunities.
9. Watch a movie. Choose a funny distraction, or something that makes you cry (if you need to cry), or whatever will lift or change your mood.
10. Watch funny or cute YouTube videos. Laughter is good medicine.
11. Play an online/video game. This is a good distraction technique as long as it is not overused.
12. Do a Sudoku, word search, or crossword. Use your brain for something new and immersive.
13. Do schoolwork or research a topic that interests you. This can stretch your brain in new ways and get you out of your head.
14. Play a musical instrument or sing. Music is healing, it can increase your confidence, and it’s just plain fun.
15. Paint your nails, give yourself a facial, do your make-up or hair.
16. Study the sky. Watch the clouds. Stargaze. Feel a part of something bigger and re-enact childhood shape-spotting in the clouds.
17. Punch a punching bag. This can be a good outlet for many emotions and exercise is good for your mental health.
18. Hold an ice cube. This is a good grounding technique to bring you out of your mind and back into your body. If you are feeling scattered or restless or numb, try this.
19. Let yourself cry. We all need to cry sometimes. Better out than in, I always say.
20. Have an orgasm. (No links for this one. Sorry!)
21. Take a nap (if you are tired). Avoid if sleeping excessively is one of your symptoms.
22. Take a hot shower or relaxing bath. Self-soothing and self-care combined.
23. Play with a pet. It doesn’t even have to be your pet. (But get permission first.)
24. Go shopping, within your budget. Limit yourself to gift cards to stick to your budget.
25. Clean something. Your room, the stove, etc. Changing your environment can change your mood, and a cleaner and more organized space can bring some peace inside your mind as well.
26. Knit, crochet, embroider, cross-stitch, or sew. You can do these mindfully or mindlessly, immersing yourself and distracting yourself.
27. Read a good book. There are just so many. A great distraction or escape, or an opportunity to learn.
28. Listen to an audiobook. Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks
29. Listen to a podcast. Preferably one you find funny or entertaining. Let your mind go fully to what you are hearing.
30. Listen to music. Sing along, too, if you like!
31. Try some aromatherapy (candle, lotion, room spray). Many people report feeling benefits to their mood and energy with certain scents.
32. Meditate. Try a guided meditation. Go slow and don’t expect perfection. Meditation is a practice, and it is never perfect.
33. Learn how to finger-weave. A fun and repetitive skill that keeps your hands busy, settles your mind, and creates something all at once.
34. Pet a purring cat.
35. Ask an old person to tell you a story. Contact an elderly relative or visit a senior center and make someone’s day!
36. Ask a child to tell you a story.
37. Learn a story and practice telling it.
38. Color in an adult coloring book.
39. Follow a guided meditation or visualization.
40. Practice a guided relaxation.
41. Go somewhere very public and people-watch.
42. Bake cookies.
43. Alphabetize your CDs/DVDs/books.
44. Paint a picture. Or a wall.
45. Rip paper into tiny pieces.
46. Shoot hoops, kick a ball, juggle, dribble.
47. Write a letter or send an email.
48. Plan your dream room (colors/furniture/accessories).
49. Hug a pillow or stuffed animal.
50. Focus mindfully on your feet, a cup of tea, a rock, etc.
51. Dance like nobody’s watching.
52. Make hot tea, hot chocolate, milkshake or smoothie.
53. Play with modeling clay or play dough or oobleck.
54. Build a pillow fort. Seriously. Body pillows work the best, just FYI.
55. Go for a drive with music playing and the windows down.
56. Complete something you’ve been putting off.
57. Draw on yourself with a marker.
58. Learn a new skill or take up a new hobby.
59. Look up recipes, cook a meal.
60. Look at art.
61. Create or build something.
62. Write a list of your strengths.
63. Write a list of words you’d like people to use to describe you.
64. Rearrange your room.
65. Get together with friends and play a game.
67. Make a list of blessings in your life.
68. Go to a friend’s house.
69. Start collecting something.
70. Clean up trash at your local park.
71. Perform a random act of kindness for someone.
72. Jump on a trampoline.
73. Watch an old, happy movie.
75. Talk to someone you feel closest to.
76. Ride a bicycle.
77. Feed the ducks, birds, or squirrels.
78. Color with crayons, markers, or colored pencils.
79. Memorize a poem, play, or song.
80. Do some gentle stretching.
82. Add to online wish lists.
83. Explore Pinterest or DeviantArt.
84. Hunt for your perfect car or home online.
85. Reorganize your wardrobe by color.
86. Watch fish.
87. Make a playlist of your favorite songs.
88. Plan your wedding/prom/other event.
89. Hug a friend or family member or pet.
90. Search online for new songs/artists.
91. Play with face paint or face paint crayons.
92. Plant some seeds. Get your hands dirty and bring forth new life.
93. Try to make as many words out of your full name as possible.
94. Sort through your photographs. This can be healing and cathartic, but it may also be triggering, so proceed with caution.
95. Play with a balloon. Rub it on your hair to make ti stand on in, play catch with it, make it squeal. Do all those annoying things you did when you were a child!
96. Give yourself a scalp massage, or a hand or foot massage.
97. Play with toys or dolls. Isn’t this dollhouse cool?
98. Message, email, or call an old friend.
99. Look up new words and use them.
100. Write yourself an “I love you because…” letter.
101. Write a letter to someone that you may never send.
102. Make a list of goals for the next week/month/year/5 years.
103. Smile at five people or more. You’ll feel better and you’ll brighten other’s days, too.
104. Visit the mountains or forest. Let nature heal you.
105. Spend time by water in nature (stream, river, lake, ocean).
106. Play with little kids. They are an excellent lesson in mindfulness and staying in the present moment.
107. Go for a walk (with or without a friend/pet).
108. Drive around and find baby cows/horses to watch. There is not much better than watching baby cows run. Silly little rectangles with legs they are.
110. Clean your room, closet, or junk drawer.
111. Try to do handstands, cartwheels, or backbends. (Or touch your toes.)
112. Learn some tai chi.
113. Teach your pet a new trick.
114. Learn words in a new language. Try out Duolingo – it’s free!
115. Write a list of your strengths. You’ve survived this far in life, so you have strengths.
116. Write a list of words you’d like people to use to describe you.
117. Rearrange your room. Give it a fresh feel and yourself a fresh perspective.
118. Get together with friends and play a game. This one is a blast.
119. Breathe slowly and deeply for 10 breaths. Practice other breathing exercises, too.
Which of these 100+ coping skills for anxiety, depression, stress, and more work best for you? Please feel free to add suggestions or comments below, and thanks for being here!