How to Create Coping Skills That Don’t Suck

If you’re still hoping to find a quick fix to abnormal anxiety, stop.

I understand your frenzied hunt for answers; why you spend so much of your time looking for special solutions that will put your mind at ease, but that’s not how it works. There’s nothing special about fixing bad anxiety.

You need to search for a solution, there’s no doubt about that, but there’s no way that you should spend years on that search. Instead, find coping skills that interest you, make them your own, and then practice them. That’s it.

Good anxiety management leads to decreased symptoms, fewer negative thoughts, and guides you towards full recovery.

So if random Google searches won’t work, what will? It depends. It depends on what works for you. What I can say is that your solution, your coping skills, must be simple. If they require a lot of steps, or fancy equipment, forget about it.

The second thing is that your coping skills have to be original. That doesn’t mean starting from scratch; it means adapting coping skills to suit your needs – whether that’s through mixing, matching, increasing, decreasing, whatever it takes until it works for you.

Here’s 3 Coping Skills that worked for me:

1. Morning Nirvana

Meditation has to be the best coping skill nobody uses. This is because people assume it’s hard, or that you need to be connected to Buddhism to make good use of it, but that’s not true.

You don’t need to shave your head and sell all your furniture to benefit from meditation. What you need is patience. People suck at being patient because the world is an adderall driven mess. That, however, is no excuse to ignore this silent blessing.

Here’s my version:

Step 1.

Meditate first thing in the morning. You’re busy all day and all night doing god knows what, so take away all potential excuses for not meditating by setting your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier than normal, wipe the crust from your eyes and you’re good to go.

Step 2.

Sit on the edge of the bed and give yourself a few minutes to wake up. Once you’ve powered on take a few deep breaths – no fancy positions, or chants, just continue to breathe normally and, with purpose, relax.

Step 3.

The goal is to be still for 10 minutes, never-mind the thoughts bouncing around in your head, never-mind your job or whatever is ahead. Whether it’s with your eyes open or closed, the goal is to be tranquil.

What makes a good coping skill is something that brings you peace with the least amount of resistance. For example, there’s no way that I’m going to roll out a yoga mat, stretch, light incense, then get busy on meditating. That’s not me.

I’m too lazy for that. Instead, I just adapted a quick meditation skill that now works for me. Now morning meditation may not work for you at all, maybe you need to do it at midnight in your garage; the time and place is irrelevant, what matters is that it works for you.

2. Stepping On Anxiety

Walking isn’t just great exercise; it creates space for clear thinking.

The only hard thing about taking a walk is overcoming laziness. One easy work around is to try and take walks somewhere you’ll enjoy like a park, hiking trail, or any place that fits you.

I tend to walk in a park because it’s nearby and away from a major street that runs near my place. I don’t know about you, but I’m not walking down a high traffic street, but I will walk in a quiet park. I took the “take a walk” tip and adapted it to my style.

3. Mighty Slayer of Fear

Have I ever told you how much writing about anxiety helped me to recover? No? Well, it did. Writing was far and away the most effective way of processing my fears and understanding my problem.

It revealed a lot of my thinking flaws and allowed me to sort out all the gibberish my brain produced. There’s something special about writing down your thoughts and then going back to deal with the guy who wrote that stuff!

Heh. Yes.

You are complex. There are parts of you that you don’t understand and writing about your issues will help you gain a clearer picture of yourself. You can do a lot with clarity; with it you’re pretty much guaranteeing an honest conversation with yourself about what’s going on and how to put an end to it.

You don’t have to go public with all your inner thoughts, either. A good journal will suffice.

Keep It Simple

The coping skills I’ve used are dead simple. They’re also mine. That’s not to say that there aren’t hordes of people using these coping skills for themselves, but I made them my own, which made them doable.

In that regard, what makes a good coping skill is something that brings you peace with the least amount of effort.

I have no clue what coping skills would work for you and I certainly won’t pretend like I do. But getting better is not about copying someone else and hoping that you’re lucky enough to get the same result.

It’s more helpful for you to remember this: If you’re focused and creative with the information that you consume you can create coping skills that work, and more important, that you will actually use.

If you have any questions please post these in the comments section below.

Email Newsletter

Sign up to receive free email updates.

  • jjp

    This wise advice and very practical also . . . we are very lucky that you decided to push thru the doubt about the value of your blog . . . it helps me, it helps others. You have a gift. Thank you for allowing us to see it. and thank you for help me.

  • Lauren

    Awesome. Thanks! I’ve been doing these things… kind of… already… with some trepidation. This just confirms (again) what I need to do.

  • KimmieA

    Hi Paul and everyone reading! As usual, thanks for the wonderful post. I just wanted to add my therapist kept telling me that exercise would help with my anxiety and heart palpitations. I finally started doing something I love – swimming. I found a hotel in my area that offers a little ‘gym’ membership so you can use their indoor pool and the hotel gym. Swimming is just such a wonderful experience. I was very anxious when I first started, thinking what if I have a heart attack and there’s no one here, or any number of things like that. Now I just go and marvel at the lovely clear blue water and the sun shining in making patterns in the water. I can either swim hard or just float around and relax. I’ve also met some really nice people who are there at the same time that I go. This has been such a wonderful thing for me, and it does help with the anxiety and body tension.

    So find something, anything, that you really love to do and get back to it, whether it’s swimming, walking, yoga, running, anything that gets you moving.

    Sorry to be long, but another trick I’ve used is making a voice recording on my phone for to use if I’m having a bad time, especially when I’m out. I just made a recording reminding myself of a specific time when I felt horrible in a similar way (usually driving) and how if I just waited, eventually it would end and I’d be okay. Somehow hearing your own voice telling you you’ll be fine works better than hearing someone else say it. :)

  • Nicole

    Great post! I also have found meditation to be really helpful, but it does take some practice.

  • Ben

    Thanks for your insightful articles Paul

  • Kiniko

    You have no idea how much of a blessing finding your blog has been. Thanks for sharing all these things you have learned over the years. After a lot of searching the internet for answers, I can finally breathe easy!