What Are My Coping Skills?

BE PRACTICAL
Do you have directions? Contact numbers? A plan or goal? Money? The right clothes? Phone charged? Snacks/water? Enough time to get some place? And, do you need to be overthinking things (what can you reasonably let go of)?

REACH OUT
Know who supports you and let them in – tell others what you are going through.
Foster rapport; reach out to strangers if necessary; connect with helpful others.

COMMUNICATE
Ask nicely. Experts will help you more if you say, “Would you be willing to . . .” I’m wondering if you could educate me about this . . . “ “I’d be so grateful if . . . “ “This isn’t my area of expertise – what is your recommendation?”

PRACTICE SELF CARE
Breathe! Sleep, hydrate, and be well-nourished.

PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION
“Channel” a wise, compassionate adult, and comfort your anxious self.
Be soothing, calming and understanding towards yourself.
Be forgiving to yourself or others.

BE DIRECT
Articulate needs / use direct rather than indirect communication.
Advocate for yourself / ask for help.
Utilize resources.

PRACTICE IMPULSE CONTROL
Act less impulsively – try not to hurt others or yourself.
Think before acting, such as your tone of voice or the words you are saying.
Don’t agree right away. Say, “Let me think about it – I’ll get back to you.”
Don’t overshare with the wrong people.
Slow down; take a break.
Don’t trade short-term relief for long-term negative consequences (e.g., escape/avoidance).
Don’t try to cope with drugs or alcohol.

BE FLEXIBLE
See alternate perspectives; practice empathy by putting yourself in others’ shoes.
Consider options and be flexible; go with a different plan if necessary.

BE PREPARED
Put in hard work: study, prepare, and don’t procrastinate.
Find the right experts and once you trust them, really follow their recommendations.

BE “GOOD ENOUGH”
Notice avoidance, procrastination and perfectionism, and don’t let them sabotage you. Just move forward and be “good enough.”
(Perfectionism makes it hard to approach things, while being good enough paradoxically helps you to do your best).

ADJUST YOUR THINKING
Only let your mind focus on something tangible or concrete – like making reservations, writing a to-do list, budgeting money, or researching something you need an answer to.

LABEL THE THOUGHT/ COME BACK TO THE PRESENT
Intangible thoughts, like worry, won’t help you, so don’t let them take you for a ride.
Practice being an Observer:
Say, “Worry, there is worry.” Or, “That’s a ‘what if’ thought.”
Bring your attention back to what you are doing, or redirect to another activity.
Tune in to your senses in that moment (sights, sounds, smells, etc).
Say, “Back to now.”

TRUST YOURSELF
Remember that you only show up in the Now, not in some imagined future scenario.
In the present moment, the moment you will always be in, you will have access to information that makes it more possible to respond.
For these two reasons – that 1) You will be there; and 2) you have all the information you need – you can trust yourself.

STAY HOPEFUL
Don’t wait for confidence to come before taking risks.
Fake it till to you make it.
Or, fake it till you become it.
Other: ________________

© Heather Stone, Ph.D. 2016

About Heather Stone

Heather Stone, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, is located in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. As an anxiety disorders specialist and subject matter expert, Dr. Stone provides Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, counseling, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for the treatment of anxiety, worry, stress, panic, agoraphobia, postpartum depression and anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, insomnia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
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