What are Coping Skills?

Coping Skills

Coping Skills

Coping skills are the methods and means by which people deal with stressors. These techniques often help us cope with difficult situations, make changes, and be able to solve problems in positive ways.  

Coping skills don’t have to be clinical. While exercises like deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and mindfulness can be very beneficial, we often participate in many daily activities that serve as a means of coping.   

Sometimes practicing positive coping skills can be simply participating in activities that we enjoy. We can often dismiss our favorite activities as non-therapeutic, but they can be just as helpful in a stressful time as any skills we’ve explored before. With this in mind, let’s discuss creating “coping skills toolbox.” 

Coping skills toolkit is a physical place to store therapeutic skills and positive activities that can help us regulate when we experience overwhelming or negative emotions. This concept is being used in some hospitals to help medical providers de-stress, and we can replicate something similar for ourselves at home.   

A coping skills toolkit created by filling any container (like a mason jar or small box) with items to help you deal with difficult emotions. Kate Rhodes, LPC recommends dividing her toolkit into categories she calls “the 5 Rs”: “Relocate, relax, reframe, refocus, redirect.” 

Relocate: It could include photos of places that you find relaxing, which could be a favorite hiking trail, the home of a loved one, or a photo of your dream vacation destination.   

Relax: Kate recommends writing down a collection of her favorite grounding techniques (such as progressive muscle relaxation), worry stones, and essential oils, or massage rollers.   

Reframe: You could add a journal to practice reframing your negative thoughts and practicing the thought-shifting exercise mentioned in our last mental health moment.   


You can include prints of your favorite yoga poses or a music playlist to help you feel relaxed.   

And finally, in the Redirection category: consider adding art supplies, coloring books, puzzles, or books, really anything that can act as a way to refocus your attention on something else. 

Coping Strategies And Significance 

Stressors such as serious illness and death are part of life, and people are, in principle, sufficiently equipped to deal with difficulties. The confrontation with these life events is drastic for all people, but there are big differences in how one relates to these problems. There is no one particular way of behavior to handle the situation. People develop a style that best suits their lifestyle and personality. 

People are naturally inclined to a certain style of dealing with problems; we call this coping. Coping styles can be roughly divided into fight and flight, with an emotional and a rational variation within both styles. Coping takes place at different levels: cognition, emotion, and behavior. Differences can be observed, for example, when someone appears verbally rational and adequate, but shows something different in behavior. 

The counselor and client should gain insight into the coping style: is it adequate and appropriate? If it turns out that the coping is not sufficient (anymore), investigate the possibilities and wishes for change. 

With a serious diagnosis, there is a loss: of health, mobility, of perspective. This is where the grieving process begins. This process is at the service of processing a violent life event and finding a new balance. People experience a whole range of emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, powerlessness, and often people wonder what the meaning is of being sick, why. Mourning, meaning, and processing have common ground. During the grieving process, the social worker provides a sounding board and helps the client find his direction. 

The social worker must make an inventory of which emotions and (value) assumptions play a role. Does the client get a good idea of ​​the disease and the treatment options at all? Look at how people have filled out their lives up to that point and what they have experienced as meaningful in it. Values ​​that were previously self-evident must be reinterpreted and placed in a new perspective. 

In practice, you can encounter several situations in which there is inadequate coping. Denial after the shock of the diagnosis may be adequate, provided that a different coping style is brought to the fore afterwards. If people continue to deny, it can become wrenching, especially in relationships with loved ones. Conversely, if a certain coping is imposed from the environment, this can also lead to problems. An example of this is the environment that continues to persuade the client to remain positive, thereby depriving him of all the space to also express doubts, fears, and uncertainties. 

In partner relationships, coping styles can be complementary or at odds with each other. When the balance is disrupted, for example, due to serious illness, partners can sometimes no longer “understand” each other. Space and some relief can immediately arise when people receive recognition for their coping style and experience that they are allowed to differ from each other in this. You don’t have to work towards the same style as partners, but they must be able to deal with the differences. The social worker can offer support in this regard. Respect for the client’s coping style is important, as is recognition for how someone has done it so far. Together you can then look for opportunities for change. 

As a social worker, you can guide clients whose ‘old’ coping style is no longer entirely satisfactory in the search for ‘new’ coping styles, for example, through psychoeducation and exercise. Clients may experience that there are other ways of dealing with the situation that is more adequate. Opposing and/or inadequate coping styles can be very energy-intensive. 

Coping Skills for Kids 

Children experience a wide variety of emotions, just like adults do. They may feel bored, anxious, sad, disappointed, embarrassed, and scared, to name a few. While many of us experience any number of emotions from day to day, we don’t need to teach us how to deal with them or how to deal with them. 

Children need to learn skills to always manage their emotions healthily. It’s crucial to teach them coping skills that can help them face their fears, calm themselves, and cheer themselves up. 

Why Do Kids Need Coping Skills? 

Without healthy coping skills, kids can probably take action – basically sending a message saying, “I’m going out of control and myself out of control.” They are also more likely to turn to unhealthy coping strategies as they age, such as alcohol and food. 

Adolescents who do not have healthy coping skills can also cope with coping. 

For instance, instead of working on math homework that he doesn’t understand, an adolescent who uses avoidance coping might play basketball with his friends to avoid doing his homework. 

Not being able to give up their duties may strengthen their academic problems. He’s likely to fall further behind in school because he hasn’t taken steps to learn how to deal with the anxiety and frustration he experienced while trying to get the job done. 

Tips for Your Child’s Mental Health 

Emotionally Focused vs. Problem-Oriented 

If your child is feeling stressed out about a new club they join, can you teach them to better manage their stress or say they can leave the club? Both strategies can help him feel better. 

Emotion-focused coping skills are skills that help children cope better with their emotions so that they feel less stressed. These skills are essential when children can’t change the situation – like dealing with pet loss or not making the basketball team. These skills can also help children learn how to tolerate stress better. 

Problem-focused coping skills include taking action to change the situation. These skills can include ending an unhealthy friendship or telling a teacher about a bully. These skills can be helpful if a child has some control over the situation. It is important to ensure that your child has both types of coping skills. 

Emotionally Focused Coping Skills 

Emotion-focused skills can include doing things that help your child feel better (like calming down when angry or cheering up when upset). However, these skills can also include doing something that offers a temporary distraction so that they can get back to the problem when the higher level feels (like taking a quick break when angry). 

The following are healthy emotion-focused coping skills for kids. 

Labelling Feelings 

Just being able to say “I’m angry” or “I’m angry” can help suffer from an uncomfortable emotion. Give your child language; they need to describe their feelings by reading a book, looking at “feel faces” posters, or talking about emotions. 

Then, ask him to describe how he feels when dealing with a harsh feeling. 


Exercising can be a great way for kids to take off their excess energy when they are nervous and to boost their spirits when they get low. 

Strengthening exercises (like weight lifting) and aerobic exercise (like running) can be excellent ways to help kids regulate their emotions. 


Whether your child likes to paint with watercolors, color in a coloring book, doodle, sculpt from clay, or create a collage, the artwork can be a perfect coping strategy. 


Reading can be a temporary distraction. When your child is finished reading, they may feel better equipped to deal with a problem because they feel calm and rejuvenated. 

Play a game 

If your child can’t just stop thinking about something bad at school or something they are dreaming of seeing in the future, do something to make their mind nervous. 

You can help change the channel in the brain by playing a board game or throwing a ball outside, doing something active. Then he will be able to think about other things instead of dwelling on everything that makes him feel bad. 

Positive Self-Talk 

When your child feels sad, talking to himself will be very negative. They may think things like “I’ll embarrass myself” or “None of the other kids will talk to me.” 

“What would you kindly tell a friend who has this problem?” Teach him how to speak to him kindly by asking. Encourage him to make the same promises to him. 

Placing on a Mood Booster 

Try to make a list of the things your child likes to do when they are happy – like dancing, singing, hitting a ball, or joking. These are her mood enhancers. 

Then, when you’re feeling down, encourage him to do something on his soul booster list. Even if she doesn’t want to do it at first, doing something fun can help her feel better. 

Build a Calm Kit 

Fill a shoebox with objects that encapsulate your child’s senses, like a stress ball for squeezing, a lotion that smells good, and a picture that he likes. Ask your child about things that help calm down when upset, such as coloring books and crayons. 

Then, when he is anxious, angry, or overwhelmed, encourage him to keep him calm. This allows him to take responsibility for calming his body and brain with the tools he has been waiting for. 

Seek help 

When your child is dealing with something, “Who can help you with this?” Ask. Help him realize that multiple people can help him. 

A homework problem can be solved by calling a friend who can explain the problem differently.  

Knowing that it is not appropriate to seek help, children will feel empowered. They will know that they don’t have to know everything on their own, and it is not okay to ask for support. 

Participate in the problem-solving process 

There are many ways to fix the problem. Sometimes, kids feel stuck and don’t recognize the actions they can take. 

While your child is dealing with a problem – they don’t know what to wear to dance or keep forgetting to do their chores – sit down and solve problems together. 

Create the Pros and Cons List 

If your child is having trouble making decisions, help him or her create pros and cons list, such as playing the flute or playing the violin. 

Write down possible positive and negative notes about each option and help her review the list. Seeing things on paper can help him make a better decision about what he wants to do. 

Skills For Coping With Stress 

Ability To Lose 

The content of the skill: the ability to adequately respond to failure, rejoice in the success/victory of a friend. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) The child has lost the game; 

b) The child was unable to do something that the other child did. 

When the skill is not formed, envy and resentment accompany the whole life of such a child; he is busy with self-affirmation, tirelessly, and without understanding the means. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. The child focuses on himself and gets upset, but this does not last long. 

2. He draws attention to the mistake, can ask an adult about it: “What did I do wrong? What should you consider next time? ” 

3. Then the child turns his attention to the friend who won, or to his work, and his mood improves: “You did it great!”, “What a beautiful drawing you have!” 

4. The child is happy with the one who won. 

Ability to deal with someone else’s property 

The content of the skill: the ability to ask permission to take a thing from its owner, handle someone else’s thing carefully to return it to the owner safe and sound, be ready for refusal. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) the child likes some kind of toy from another child; 

b) the child wants to ask for something from an adult that he wants to take. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. The child is interested in who owns the property that he wants to use. 

2. He knows that permission must be asked from the owner: “Can I take you…?” 

3. He also does not forget to inform what he is going to do and when he plans to return the thing to the owner. 

4. The child takes into account what he was told in response and, regardless of the person’s decision, says “thank you” to him. 

Ability to say “no.” 

Skill content: the ability to convincingly and firmly refuse in a situation where you are not satisfied with what you are offered. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) older children suggest that the child deceive an adult or peer; 

b) older children “incite” the child to use things that do not belong only to him, without the permission of the parents. 

When the skill is not formed, the child finds himself in conflict situations, is “substituted” by other children. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. The child can intuitively feel “I don’t like this!” when an inappropriate offer is made to him, even if he does not understand why (based on feelings of anxiety and embarrassment). 

2. If the proposal is made by a mother or an adult whom he trusts, the child can explain why he refuses. If this is a stranger, he simply refuses and leaves. Saying, “No, I don’t like this.” 

Ability to adequately respond to the refusal 

Skill content: the ability to understand that the other person is free to agree or refuse your request without feeling guilty. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) The child politely asked a peer for a toy and was refused; 

b) The child asked his mother to buy him a new computer game, but the mother disagreed. 

When the skill is not formed, the child compulsively and aggressively demands what he wants, takes offense, and complains. He does not know how to ask politely; his requests resemble demands or orders. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. A child in a situation of refusal does not fall into effect but, having thought, repeatedly addresses the person more politely. 

2. If he again received a refusal, he may ask why the person does not want to do what he asks for. 

3. The child is not inclined to be offended in a situation of refusal; he knows that people are not obliged to fulfill all our requests. 

Ability to cope with a situation of ignorance 

Skill content: the ability to ask another for cooperation, and in case of refusal, to find an independent occupation. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) No one pays attention to the child’s appeals; everyone is busy with their own business; 

b) Children are too keen on the game, and they ignore the child’s requests to take him into the game. 

When the skill is not formed, the child is touchy, obsessive, capricious. He doesn’t know how to gain authority from peers. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. A child who wants to take part in an everyday activity can politely ask the children about it. 

2. He can repeat the request if it seems to him that he was not heard. 

3. If he is not noticed again, he may find something to do on his own. 

Ability to deal with the embarrassment 

The content of the skill: the ability to notice an awkward situation, feel that you are embarrassed, and try to fix the problem in some way. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) The child is asked to tell a rhyme with a large number of strangers; 

b) The child spilled juice on the tablecloth while visiting; 

c) The child interrupted the conversation of the adults and was pointed out to him. 

When the skill is not formed, the child is afraid and avoids public situations, is embarrassed, and silently experiences a crisis of discomfort. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. The child is naturally embarrassed in an awkward situation, maybe blushes looks down. 

2. He understands that he is embarrassed and ponders what can be done to cope with the embarrassment: 

3. He either apologizes for the awkwardness, either refuses an offer to do something, or doing something else, but trying to fix the situation and not completely lost. 

Ability To Cope With Accumulated Stress Through Physical Activity 

The content of the skill: the ability to listen to yourself and feel that he needs relaxation, to find a way to discharge himself physically. 

Situations in which this skill can manifest itself: 

a) The child is distraught because of a loss in the game and runs around the playground; 

b) The child is upset that he was not allowed to see the film and hits the pillow. 

When the skill is not formed, after experiencing stress, the child does not move but freezes, which is why the stress does not go away for a long time. In another case, it is emotional release through whims and tears. 

The steps that make up this skill: 

1. The child feels that he is overwhelmed with negative emotions and is ready to discharge physically. 

2. He finds a way to discharge himself through active physical activity. 

a) Beat the pillow;  
b) Dance vigorously;
c) Something else.


It is crucial to include variety in our means of coping so as not to exhaust any form of self-relief.  

Coping skills toolkits can be made for people of all ages, and creating these toolkits can be a fun and meaningful activity to complete with children at home and can help them learn that they can have control over how to drive great feelings.  

Also read Interpersonal Skills for Job

What are Coping Skills?

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