Coping Strategies and Techniques


"Scientists can see how resilient brains respond to emotion differently, found Martin Paulus, scientific director and president of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research in Tulsa, Okla."

"Paulus says that in his research he has seen differences in the brains of people with anxiety or depression that suggest they have a hard time letting go of emotions and are often too engaged in emotional processes."

"And just like working your biceps or your abs, say experts, training your brain can build up strength in the right places-and at the right times-too."

Excerpts from "Bounce Back" by Mandy Oaklander. TIme Magazine, Frontiers of Medicine, June 1, 2015


Maintain Your General Health

Taking care of your body is an important first step toward mental and emotional health. Below is a list of ways to improve your physical health: 


"What's more, scientists have identified at least a dozen ways that people can up their resilience game, which Charney and Southwick detail in their 2012 book, Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life's Greatest Challenges, to be updated this year with reams of new research on the topic. 'For resilience, there's not one prescription that works,' Charney says. 'You have to find what works for you.'

So far, researchers have found that facing the things that scare you relaxes the fear circuitry, making that a good first step in building resilience. They have also found that developing an ethical code to guide daily decisions can help. Studies have shown that traits scientists once thought of as nice but unnecessary-like having a strong network of social support-are critical to resilience."

Excerpts from "Bounce Back" by Mandy Oaklander. TIme Magazine, Frontiers of Medicine, June 1, 2015


Engage in Regular Physical Activity

Many activities have been shown to reduce stress whether it involves team sports, group activities, or individual activity. Find a way to squeeze some regular activity into your day. Consider:

Engage in Regular Mental Activities That Reduce Stress

Drawing of a labyrinth


More Advice on Reducing Stress


From: "Worried? You're Not Alone" by Roni Caryn Rabin, New York Times, May 9, 2016

Link to full article


...some coping strategies:

  • Divide and conquer Try to come up with a solution to a worrisome problem by breaking it down into four parts: defining the problem, clarifying your goals, generating solutions and experimenting with solutions. Grab a pen and paper and brainstorm, the report suggests. Studies have shown this approach can help ease depression and anxiety.
  • Practice mindfulness Choose a routine activity or part of the day and try to experience it fully. Set aside concerns, and try to be "in the moment."
  • Schedule a worry session Pick a designated time of day to mull your problems. If a worrying thought enters your mind outside of your scheduled worry session, jot it down so you can think about it during your scheduled worry time. Then get back to your day.
  • Practice accepting uncertainty .Notice your thoughts and label them (as in, "there is the thought that I can't manage"). Let go of tension in your body; soften your forehead, drop your shoulders and relax your grip.


Maintain and Connect with Your Social Support Network

A personal support network is essential for building and maintaining your resilience. You need to build and maintain relationships with family members, friends, peers, and co-workers. Encouragement and support from these relationships is extremely effective in helping you work through stressful periods. Your peers can be a vitally important component of your support network, because they are likely to be experiencing similar stresses. Consequently, they are able to validate your feeling, empathize, and perhaps provide good advice as to how to deal with specific problems and situations.

Peer Support Groups

You might consider establishing your own peer support groups in a way that is best suited to the time and space limitations of you and your peers.

The following information on Peer Support and Education is adapted from


Today there are support groups for any number of things: caregivers, dieting, exercise, grief, illnesses, mental health, etc. What these groups have in common is that they consist of people who share a common experience. Peer support can be informal or more organized with regular meetings. The key thing is for the support group to focus on listening to and supporting one another and sharing information and advice.

Peer support helps in at least four ways.

  1. Emotional support
  2. Practical advice
  3. Practical help - like an exercise partner or a ride to the doctor
  4. Increased confidence from seeing others like you succeed at self-care

And it is a two-way street, meaning that you provide support, advice, and information as well as receiving it. You can provide peer support as well as receive it.


The key skills to providing peer support are: