Positive Coping Skills Thread

EveHarrington

MyPTSD Pro
Hi!

While reading another thread I was thinking about coping skills and how it would be good to have a discussion about what personally helps you. I did a search and didn’t find a recent post like this so I decided I’d start one. I’m interested in learning about what others do, so please don’t hesitate to post even if your coping skill may be outside of the typical (but is still a positive coping skill and not a negative one).

I’ll start with mine…

1) Distraction. This is a good skill to use but I find myself using it too much so it can morph into avoidance (which I really do not want to do). I’ve been overusing this skill and that’s why I want to gravitate towards other skills. To me, distraction is just doing something mindless like watching a movie or surfing the internet.

2) Deep Breathing. This really helps me calm down but I usually forget to do it.

3) Meditation. It took me a long time to develop this skill but when I do it, it works 100% of the time at helping me to calm down. It may not completely take away my anxiety, but it always helps (and it’s better than any other skill I have, but again I forget to use it!) The meditation guides never helped me and I had to develop my own way of doing it.

4) Staying Busy. Sometimes it’s cleaning, sometimes it’s doing work, sometimes it’s just getting out of my home and going somewhere/doing something. Extra bonus if I’m attempting to accomplish something and it’s not just busyness as it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Simply doing things helps with my mind spirals and bad thoughts as I’m focused on something else.

5) Exercising. I’ve fallen off the wagon here, and I need to make this a priority.

6) Being around pets/animals. I’m sad as my cat has passed on and I don’t have him around to help me cope. I hope to get another cat though.

7) Journaling. I have an app that I use (that used to just be a website). I keep everything private so nobody can see it. (Or you can journal here which has the benefit of peer feedback.)

8) Mental Imagery. There are so many ways to do this but I have one go to place in my head that I always go, with a “friend”.

I know I have a lot more. I have a book where I write down my coping skills and I need to find it. I know it’s somewhere around here and I think I wrote down the skills I learned in the hospital.
 
Grounding exercises. This was very important early in my treatment.

Taking walks & being outdoors. This is the biggest one of all.

Journaling, but not to excess.

Because I have strong parts, checking in and figuring out who is upset.

Making a to-do list. I think this is a form of distraction, but also a way to stay focused on positive things.
 
this morning i am using mindfulness. i didn't sleep well last night, overslept this morning and am definitely a few fries short of a happy meal. i am mindfully cutting myself some slack, avoiding decisions which are not urgent and working to save critiques of the folks i am tempted to snap at for rubbing me the "wrong" way.
 
My best coping skill is "glimmers". I live with PTSD, Panic Disorder, and Major Depression. I am grateful to have a small place in the country that provides me with many challenges and distractions to calm my chronic hyperarousal. At daybreak, I feed the livestock. The animals depend on me so I can't pull the covers over my head as much as I'd like to and leave them to die of thirst or starve. A little over a year ago my therapist introduced me to the concept of "glimmers", and I have made it a habit to look for them. Glimmers are common little things that bring a bit of happiness if only for a minute, like watching the horses run and buck when it's cold or the mist rising up in the paddocks at sunrise. It can be newly hatched chicks or strawberries ripening. Just simple things that take my mind off last night's terror or the shame I feel remembering the look on someone's face after they witnessed me having a flashback or panic attack. I struggle with feelings of hopelessness every day, and these little glimmers give me a reprieve if only for a few moments.
 
If I want to DO things especially things I stopped doing or have trouble doing I:

- Break them down into simple easy steps.
- Schedule each step.
- Stick to the schedule.

Somehow - when it's one little thing instead of one big thing its easier to do. If something happens like I have a really bad day or two after therapy or some other event that makes doing that step more anxiety or stress inducing than it should be, I reschedule. If there is more to not doing that step - I take it to therapy to figure out why.
 
Being in nature is a favourite. I take out Swan & duck food to my favourite park, take photos of anything that catches my eye too. Is very soothing.

Putting on s ent or using an oil burner / wax melt burner is another. I love nice smells, they do cheer me up.

Kitchen discos are good too. Love dancing. And luckily Jo one cam see me dancing in my kitchen.

Slow Deep Breathing is good, right down into the belly. And on the out breath I drop my shoulders, let go of any tension.

Meditation, expecially I like meditation on sounds.

Drop the story, go to the body (or, if that'striggering, go to sounds, noticing anything I can hear). Is good for rumination. Just repeatedly taking my focus off whatever story my mind is telling me, and re putting my focus on what I can sense.

When I feel stuck/ overwhelmed, I use a form of behavioural activation which I call just one thing. Something really tiny, like getting up and washing a fork. Anything small enough that it can't possibly feel like too much. Helps get me unstuck. And I usually can keep on doing stuff once I've started.

Something a bit energy accounting - I ask how many spoons have I got? Plenty of spoons / some spoons / spoon deficit. Gives me an idea what I'm working with. So if I'm low on spoons I make sure I'm not expecting too much of myself.

Also, a recent thing I've been doing is having a rest in the afternoon even on good days. Helps me not get burnt out.
 
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