100 Coping Tips From Real People
It’s #mentalhealthawarenessweek and we asked YOU what your mental health coping tools were on our instagram, and here’s what y’all had to share. As a therapy matchmaking company, we know the importance of developing a game plan when you start to feel a little wobbly. A therapist can help you fill up your tool kit with everything you need to feel supported. If you’re interested in starting your therapy journey, head over to our personalized questionnaire to find your perfect match! We all lose our footing sometimes, and we all deserve a hand to pull us back up.
100 Mental Health Coping Tips From Real People:
Reminding myself EVERY emotion is okay, even if it doesn’t fit what I think I “should” feel.
Asking myself how my behavior/actions/thing serves me.
Booking yin class when my head is telling me I ‘should’ go to power yoga.
Deep belly breathing.
Dancing around my house.
Finding women in my new city to connect with.
Not drinking alcohol when you’re struggling mentally. Screw peer pressure.
Plants. Because when you can’t seem to keep yourself alive, it’s nice to know you can care for others.
Focusing on the things I can do in the moment - laundry, wash the dogs, etc.
During a panic attack my therapist had me repeat this: “my brain is just processing what has already happened.”
Making a list of “in order to survive” needs.
Blaring 90s rock, then classical music just to mess with other drivers.
EDMR, guided meditation, going to a coffee shop to read.
Showering and then taking as long as I damn need to massage in lotion.
Writing. Journaling. Calling my mom. Knowing I can fall back into my loved ones.
Quality time with my lover + pasta with Tiger Sauce (brand of hot sauce).
Changing my mentality from “I have to ___” to “I get to ___”
For anxiety: xanax + chex mix bag all to myself + Pride and Prejudice movie.
Mantra: you don’t have to be perfect.
Bob Ross on Netflix.
Moving my body
Finding time everyday to allow space to observe my thoughts.
Going outside to breathe fresh air.
Every DBT skill.
Finding quick mantras to repeat to myself when I’m anxious.
Post panic attack: mild soup or tea.
I have procrastination anxiety, so I try and hold myself accountable by planning ahead.
I replace the running mental list with a list of good things, like what i’m thankful for. It helps me focus and feel calm.
Being mindful of my emotional state, how my body is feeling, and my thoughts.
My dog! We rescued her when I was sick, and she lights up my life no matter what!
Start small and work your way up!!!
One. Thing. At. A. Time.
Fresh air, baths, candy, sleep.
Hygge! Living in Ohio you have to embrace the quietness of winter.
Tonic CBD oil.
Learn to dance with the anxiety. It’s a part of you - but only one part.
Taylor Swift’s cover of Riptide by Vance Joy (find it on YouTube!).
Cleo Wade poetry.
Literally everything Brene Brown has ever written.
Breaking up my negative thoughts by labeling them and interjecting “maybe not though?!”
Turning on The Office and use my weighted blanket. Works like a charm.
Amy Schumer’s stand up.
Setting a timer for 15 minutes and having it all to talk while the person with me waits to reply until the end.
Talking about memories.
“Fear is just a story we tell ourselves; tell yourself a different story.”
Journaling love letters to myself.
For nurses out there - taking an ACTUAL off-the-floor REAL LIVE BREAK at work.
Being reminded: “I’m still here. I am real.”
Having someone sit with me to watch me to make sure I don’t die.
Taking my glasses off.
A walk at night with crickets chirping.
Being naked under a blanket.
A reminder that a panic attack has NEVER lasted forever. Ride the wave.
Fruit, cold af water, wind blowing on my face.
Warm baths and pizza.
Think very very very small picture to avoid getting overwhelmed. Take baby steps.
Therapy - it helps more than it hurts.
When I feel an anxiety attack coming, I literally ground myself. I sit on the floor and breathe.
Keep your dogs close and your cats closer.
“What is meant for me will stay, what isn’t will go.”
When flashbacks hit I list all of the things I can think of in a certain category.
“Suffering = pain multiplied by resistance.”
Making lists of EVERYTHING: to do lists, feelings lists, lists of friends who make me happy when i’m sad.
Quiet time alone and connecting with people who make me feel safe.
Diving headfirst into an engaging work project!
Crying! In a damn dark corner!
Having someone listen to and validate my feelings.
Taking care of my plants, Fat Posi instagrammers, letting myself nap whenever I want.
Being truthful and open.
Long evening walks with my dog and a funny podcast.
Progressive muscle relaxation.
Solo dinner dates.
The thing that has helped my anxiety most is learning to cook and doing it often.
“No feeling is final.”
When I am in need of soothing, I start caressing myself and focusing on how it feels. I am a very "touchy" person, I express myself through touching and physical contact. When there's no one close to me nearby, I start gently touching my knee, my arms, my collarbones, my chest - these more "intimate" parts of my body. When I am heavily stressed (but not in the panic attack yet), I like to put my arms around myself to bring some sense of safety in my own body.
The Great Work Of Your Life by Stephen Cope.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle.
The Body Keeps The Score by Van Der Kolk.
if I stay in bed past 10 am, I am basically done for the day. The earlier I wake up, the lesser are chances of mental breakdown that day. This plus morning routine - no starting your day off with triggering content, no sad, heartbreaking, depressing songs in bed - neither before you get up nor before you go to sleep.
When I am in highly suicidal moment or have a panic attack - listen to me. When I tell you not to touch me - don't. When I tell you to tell me a story to distract my mind - tell me a story to distract my mind. It's best to have a serious conversation with your close ones on what you need in specific circumstances, prepare a list for different needs in different situations and require that they ALWAYS have it somewhere near them.
Breathwork/breathing exercises - breathing exercises are. the. best. I personally love the breathing triangles or squares, when you count second on each part of breath. For example, a full breathing triangle will look like this: you take a breath for 3 seconds, you hold a breath for 3 seconds, you exhale for 3 seconds, and you inhale for 3 second, and so on. You can try it out and adjust the amount of time you need to take a full breath but not suffocate yourself either. A full breathing square will look like this: inhale - 3 seconds, holding your breath - 3 seconds, exhale - 3 seconds, not breathing - 3 seconds, and again, and again. The most important thing in breathwork, no matter the exercises you practice - belly breaths! One nice, long, slow belly breath can do WONDERS.
When you feel a panic attack is approaching - tell somebody. Tell. Somebody. Please. I've never met a person who did not take this seriously and did not help me when I asked. If you know you have such people around you - it's time to let them go ASAP. And also, if I feel it coming, I start rubbing my chest with some pressure from my palm applied. What I need during panic attack varies from one to another. I have the privilege of having people who are very close to me and who can help me during panic attacks, so I usually call them. I often ask them to tell me stories to distract my mind, but that's a tricky request - some stories might help, some stories might be triggering.
Any movie or series that make your heart a little bit warmer. No sad movies, no dramas, no thrillers, nothing too intense - we're trying to calm your nervous system down, sweetheart, not make a firework display out of it.
A therapist is a doctor of your mind, but they are never mind-readers. How can they diagnose you, if you don't tell them your symptoms? They aren't your colleagues. They aren't your friends. They are not to take things personally; there are to analyze them. Every thought can be a symptom. You're in their cabinet to voice every single thought that's coming through you - no matter how little, insignificant or ugly it may seem to be. Nothing is insignificant in therapy; everything helps therapists help you. You are not there to hold yourself back. That's the one place you don't have to control yourself, you can bring it all - you can interrupt them, you can talk about every little emotions or thought concerning specific topic and they are there to listen. Once I understood this, I found a clue on what I actually need in therapy and now - for the first time in my life - I feel that I am ready to take one.
You are not here to suffer. You are not, full stop. You are as important as every single person is. We all share the same amount of space on Earth, we are all humans. If you suffer, if you have a bad day, if you have a cold, if you are mentally ill - you deserve help. You deserve to have somebody who will listen to it all attentively - the struggle, the illness, that bad day, that bad hair day, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, suffering - and take every single thing seriously. You deserve help. You're not alone even though it often feels like it. It doesn't really matter how much worse others might have it - if YOU are not feeling well, if YOU are suffering, you deserve help. You deserve, you deserve, you deserve it all.
Letting myself feel my anger. Anger is an active emotion, while sadness is more passive. Sometimes stomping my feet, writing “I am angry because…” and going on a RANT, asking a friend to listen as I rage, or screaming really loud can all bring me back into my body. There is a difference between feeling angry and acting on anger, when we skip over our angry feelings and don’t express them we just make our bodies uncomfy by letting it stir and get stuck in there!
Call someone who has known you for a long time and has seen you traverse hard times and overcome. Someone you feel safe with and who loves you unconditionally!
Remind yourself that mental health struggles are NOT the same thing as being lazy.
Remember you are not alone. These struggles are truly, absolutely, 100 thousand percent NORMAL, and that it is always, always, always okay to ask for help.
The hardest thing to do when our mental health is suffering is ask for help.
And though we encourage you to keep trying, we hope this list is something you can refer to and remember that one hundred people wanted to help you feel better in your body in mind. We all deserve our village of loved ones to lift us up when we need support.
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About the author:
Haley Jakobson is a writer of plays, poetry, and creative non-fiction. In her writing Haley explores mental health and wellness, sex and trauma, queerness, and bodies. When she isn’t scribbling on the subway, she is hanging out with the MWB team as their Digital Content Manager, and acting as the Artistic Director and co-founder of Brunch Theatre Company, an inclusive platform for emerging theatre artists to join the conversation. A poet in the millennial era, Haley reaches an audience of 10k+ readers on her instagram page. Haley lives in Brooklyn and is a gemini.