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Coping Skills

There are many alternatives to the self-destructive behaviors many of us engage in. Often these are called coping skills. Throughout my stay at the hospital I am now at, I've learned to successfully employ these coping skills. Later you can read about which coping skills are better when, how to come up with your own coping skills, and what you should include in a safety plan. For now, you can simply (ha, I know, it's not always simple...) try these whenever possible. First, though, it's important to recognized your warning signs.
Once you've realized that you need to employ a coping skill, here are some of your options:

Coping skills that almost anyone can use
Call a friend
Write poems
Sing a song
Listen to music
Talk to someone
Write in a journal
Play a game
Bounce a ball
Drink a glass of water
Stare at a picture; notice all the details and/or make up a story about it
Throw a foam ball against a vacant wall
Write all your thoughts on an empty sheet of paper
Go online
Write a letter
Play an instrument
Write the lyrics to a favorite/meaningful song
Chew gum
Lay flat on your bed and focus on a point on the ceiling

Coping skills which should not be used if you have OCD
Clean your room
Throw out a deck of cards; pick them up in order
Wash dishes

Coping skills that are not good for EDs
Go for a run
Play your favorite sport
Do some jumping jacks, sit-ups, etc.
Go for a walk

Coping skills that are not good for SM
Snap an elastic on your wrist
Light a candle and watch it melt
Take a hot/cold shower

When you start using these coping skills, you may find it helpful to keep a log. Later you can look at what worked in what situations, and why. It could include:
Warning signs you notice
How you feel before you use the coping skill (thoughts, feelings, urges, etc.)
Why you think you feel the way you do
What coping skill(s) you tried
How you feel afterwards
Urge monitoring (intensity of urges before and after coping skills are employed)
Whether or not you acted on your urges
How you felt before and after acting on urges and why

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