Coping Skills Activities for Adults

Instructor: Quentin Shires

Quentin has taught psychology and other social science classes at the university level and is considered a doctoral colleague at Capella University.

In this lesson, how different coping skills can be used during difficult times will be discussed. It also discusses making plans to follow some healthy coping skills that will help you maneuver through stressful situations.

The Effects of Stress on the Human Body

Coping with difficult situations is something we do almost every day of our lives, raising the stress levels that run through our bodies. Think back to the last time you encountered a difficult situation or stress. How did you handle this situation? Due to the quick pace of our lives, we tend to cope by ignoring stress that we encounter and hoping that it will go away.

However, this is not the healthiest approach to coping and can actually wreak havoc on our bodies. Stress symptoms can affect both our body and behavior, providing us with headaches, fatigue, and upset stomachs, in addition to feelings of anger, social withdrawal, sadness, and depression. No matter how you encounter stress, it is essential to learn coping skills so you can deal with the stress head on, and minimize this debilitating phenomenon.

Adults and Coping Skills

Experts have agreed that adults tend to experience more stress earlier in the day compared to their younger counterparts, who tend to experience more stress in the early evening. Although difficult situations can occur at any time of the day, it is important for adults to know some healthy activities that can help them through the obstacles of life and help them deal with stress in a more effective manner. Healthy coping skills and activities can help channel negative energy and emotions into something more positive, allowing individuals to effectively navigate difficult life transitions.

Coping Skills and Activities for Adults

When thinking of different coping skills and activities, it is important to think of activities and coping strategies that can be effective in different realms of our lives. Therefore, activities should be placed into different categories that can be used depending on the situation that you are experiencing. It is important to know that coping skills may take a lot of planning or they can be used very quickly, depending on what works for you. Take a look at some of the different coping skills that you can use in various situations.

Sensory Coping Skills

Coping skills that focus on sensory experiences will definitely help if you need a calm mind as well as a need to focus on the here and now. These coping skills can be used instantly during stressful or difficult situations to help stay calm, remain focused, and think of ways to handle the issues that are being presented to you. When following sensory coping skills, allow your different senses to be used to help focus your mind.

Some activities and skills you should try include taking a hot shower or bath, wiggling your toes in soft, green grass or laying in the afternoon sun. If you are in a situation that needs your immediate attention, you can take a few minutes to focus by listening to your favorite music and concentrating on your breathing. When concentrating on your breathing, a simple exercise that is quick and easy is slowly counting as you deeply breathe in and out.

Pleasurable Coping Skills

Coping skills that are pleasurable in nature tend to take more planning, so if you are experiencing a difficult time in the day, ensure that you plan these activities as soon as possible. Pleasurable coping skills can include taking yourself out to eat at your favorite restaurant, watching your favorite movie, or completing an outside task such as a sport or gardening.

Mental Coping Skills

These types of coping skills are helpful in the sense that they can help you make immediate plans on how to deal with the situation. In difficult and stressful situations it can be extremely helpful to make a to-do list, take action on something you have been avoiding, or research a topic that can help you act on the situation. As well as helping you move through this situation more effectively, your brain will stay focused, allowing you to deal with stress effectively.

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