Developing Healthy Coping Strategies

Life can be stressful. Relationships, careers, health -  whatever your particular mix, chances are you face stressful situations. Being able to navigate uncomfortable emotions during stressful times will help you feel better physically and physiologically and will increase your ability to perform at your best. In this blog post we will explore some healthy and unhealthy ways to manage stress.

Redirect your emotion

Healthy coping strategies help soothe unpleasant emotions. When experiencing difficult emotions such as, anger or sadness, do something enjoyable or new to redirect your attention. Here are a few examples of activities to try:

  •       Cook a new recipe
  •       Paint, color or draw
  •       Meditate with aromatherapy
  •       Write about how your feeling
  •       Go for a walk in nature
  •       Organize your closet
  •       Call a friend
  •       Watch a funny movie or television show
  •       Drink warm tea
  •       Listen to music
  •       Read a book 

Things to avoid

Unhealthy coping strategies should be avoided, especially during times of stressful turmoil. While they may comfort the immediate emotional pain, unhealthy coping strategies mainly serve to create a bigger problem. Here are a few examples of coping strategies to avoid:

  •       Drinking alcohol
  •       Using drugs
  •       Overeating
  •       Oversleeping
  •       Shopping outside of your budget
  •       Venting excessively

What works best?

Now the fun part, experimenting and learning what works best for you. A friend’s coping strategy may work to soothe their unpleasant emotions, but may not necessarily be the best fit for you. Use trial and error to learn what works and what doesn’t. Be proactive in developing your comfort toolkit. After a long day test out an activity, check in with your emotions, how did it make you feel? Rate the activities that are most enjoyable so when a stressful situation pops up you will be prepared with your healthy coping skills. 

The following books are a starting point to some of the wonderful resources available at Markham Public Library. 

Until next time, have a wonderful day   

Developing Healthy Coping Strategies


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