Healthy Coping Skills

Whether you are experiencing stress from school,
job, relationships, or just life in general…
Taking care of yourself is VITAL.

“You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

Everyone experiences stress and anxiety at different levels from time to time. Brought to you by Mental Health America, here are some simple tips to deal with these feelings.

Sometimes stress can be a good thing-it helps with motivation to study for a test, performance in sports, and can help if we are in a dangerous situation. When stress starts to affect your basic physiological needs (sleep, eating, focusing, behavior, etc.), healthy coping skills are essential.


This Self-Care Wheel was inspired by and adapted from “Self-Care Assessment Worksheet” from Transforming the Pain  A workbook on Vicarious Traumatization by Saakvitne, Pearlman & Staff of TSI/CAAP (Norton, 1996). Created by Olga Phoeniz Project: Healing for Social Change (2013). Dedicated to all trauman professionals worldwide.

Intention, or Sankhalpa in yoga, gives us a way to navigate the reaction-spectrum of fight or flight and to explore the grey areas between. We acknowledge that the MIND is going to dictate how we handle the intensity of life, re-program that message (samskaras, in yogic lingo) through intention, resulting in a different outcome. The future literally gets re-written. And so do the resulting thoughts.

Intention actually CHANGES the outcome, which changes your life. We see ourselves able to handle intense moments with clarity, grace, calmness, and most importantly presence. And being present is the only way to see the truth. It is the only way to acknowledge the innate joy that is your birthright.


Breathing is essential, especially for de-stressing. Remember to breathe from your BELLY. To practice breathing using your diaphragm/from your belly, lay on the floor and place a Kleenex box on your belly. Breathe in for 3 seconds, breathe out for 3 seconds. When you breathe from your belly, you should see the Kleenex box move up and down.

  • Straw Breath
    • For anxiety.
    • Breathe in for 3 seconds, breathe out as if you have a straw in your mouth.
  • Ujjayi Breath
    • For overall stress.
    • Breathe in for 3 seconds, audibly sigh from the mouth.
  • Lion’s Breath
    • For anger or frustration.
    • Breathe in for 3 seconds, audibly sigh from the mouth, while sticking your tongue out. Yes, like a lion!

Meditation and Brain Exercises

Using left brain/right brain exercises, such as taking a walk, tapping your hands on a desk, and overall using your limbs can help calm down the pre-frontal cortex (the decision-making part of your brain). Acknowledging your 5 senses can also help reduce the heart rate and clear the mind.