Coping Skills for Mental Illness

This page discusses coping skills.

Mental health problems can originally begin when prompted by external triggers, such as stress (either physical or emotional) prompt actual chemical changes to be made inside your brain.

The ultimate goal is to reverse or prevent these changes from ever being made in the first place, and give the individual tools so they can mitigate and control their own stress levels.

These types of skills are particularly important for this component of mental health.

Learning skills and utilizing them over time can help an individual to achieve and maintain good mental health over the long run.

Here are some good coping skills:

  • Meditation or Relaxation – These can include strategies such as deep breathing exercises or learning to modulate your own individual relaxation response. It can even include more advanced techniques such as progressive relaxation of the muscles. In whole, these techniques enable you to control stress levels and actually induce a relaxed state.

  • Set time aside for yourself – Ideally, you should have a period of relaxation and reflection to yourself every day, where you try to avoid the everyday tribulations of life. Treat this time almost like it was a miniature vacation, and stop worrying about everything around you.
  • Exercise – For many people, physical activity is a great way to burn off stress and relax. An additional benefit is the fact that exercising releases endorphins and other hormones which cause positive feelings; this can help counteract feeling stressed or depressed even more.
  • Read – For those who aren’t as interested in physical activity, try reading. Reading can help you by fully allowing you to remove your mind from the situation, and this can help you to stop feeling stress over many of the things which can happen to you in everyday life.
  • Get good sleep – Don’t forget that your body needs its own fair share of rest. Particularly during times of stress, you need to remember to get enough time to sleep each day.
  • Learn how to become more assertive - Learning assertiveness skills can have a dramatic effect on a person's social, work, and family relationships.

  • Learn how to deal with your anger - Learning anger management skills can be very helpful in coping with a mental illness. Anger issues can be involved in many illnesses and working through them could help you to be more relaxed, centered, and healthy.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of techniques you can use to help manage your stress levels, and develop your coping skills.

These skills that you just read about are foundational. 

If you've mastered these skills, move on to Advanced Coping Skills.

Talk with a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, or licensed clinical mental health counselor if you are interested in more information.

You need to make sure that if you are experiencing any symptoms of mental illness, that you seek the care of a trained mental health professional. They should be able to offer you advice and expertise in dealing with your individual issues and situation.

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Links on this Page:

Breathing Exercises

Assertiveness Skills

Anger Management Skills



Sleep Hygiene

Advanced Coping Strategies