Coping Strategies

Overview

Which strategy is right for me?
A Brief Strategy Overview
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Mindfulness
Grounding & Breathing Exercises
Professional Help

Coping with mental illness is no easy task. Figuring out what works for an individual is particularly difficult because it’s largely personal; what works perfectly for one person may not work as well for another. It’s also really important to note that any particular coping strategy may not work right away. Many of the options take time, practice, and effort. Unfortunately, there simply is no quick fix for mental illness. Even more important to note, in many cases, mental health issues are a life long struggle. However, this shouldn’t deter anyone because although it is difficult, with the right coping strategies and an open mind, handling mental health can not only become second nature, but even potentially enrich your life in many other ways.

Which strategy is right for me?

This is perhaps the most frustrating question for two reasons, a) there is no right answer, it’s really just trial and error, and b) there’s no magic answer and no chart that says if you have illness a try method b. Given that this is trial and error the reality of things is that certain strategies will fail and it can be extremely discouraging. But don’t be discouraged, this is the part where it’s vital to get back up and try a different method.

Along with realizing failure, it’s also important to realize what might appear to be failure, but isn’t. If one method doesn’t work perfectly on the first try, don’t stop there; this isn’t failure. Coping strategies take time and practice. It can take weeks or even months to even begin to feel a difference. As a personal note: I have personally used mindfulness and grounding techniques for years. It took a good amount of time to actually feel a difference, but at this point it’s essentially second nature to me. Don’t give up.

A Brief Strategy Overview

 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is one of the most popular methods of developing personal coping strategies and has been proven to be extremely effective for a large number of mental illness including anxiety and depression. It’s focus is in identifying problematic patterns in an individual and then developing positive strategies to change and disrupt these problem patterns. Generally this is done alongside a professional, however this can be without the aid of a professional. It’s important to note, that while this method can be extremely effective, it’s purpose isn’t to cure a diagnosis as a whole, but rather pick one particular issue and find methods of handling that. For example, someone with anxiety using CBT might use it to help identify and shutdown intrusive thoughts that they have throughout any given day.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness has become a very popular coping method coping with many different symptoms of various mental illness. Mindfulness uses many methods of CBT to identify various patterns of behavior or thought and then incorporates mindfulness skills to handle these patterns. The most prominent idea in mindfulness is the idea of being “mindful” of your body and mind. The focus is to become aware of all the thoughts and feelings within your body and mind without reacting to them. This sort of meditation is largely a method of reflecting and identifying that will eventually lead to being able to modify the reaction to various thoughts and feelings to be more reflective than reactive. Mindfulness is something that is often done without noticing in day to day life.

Grounding & Breathing Exercises

— Coming soon —

Professional Help

— Coming soon —