Our comprehensive guide for coping strategies

Life is filled with ups and downs, and it's natural to encounter moments that test our emotional and mental well-being. Here is a comprehensive guide on coping strategies designed to empower you in navigating life's challenges with resilience and strength.

Whether you're facing anxiety, hyper-arousal, hypo-arousal, or the lingering effects of trauma, this resource is here to provide you with a toolkit of effective coping strategies. Our goal is to equip you with valuable skills to foster emotional balance and enhance your overall well-being.

Explore the following sections tailored to specific mental health areas and discover practical, evidence-based coping mechanisms to help you thrive in the face of life's challenges. Remember, you're not alone on this journey, and by developing these skills, you're taking a proactive step towards building a resilient and healthier future.

Coping strategies for anxiety

Anxiety is a natural and adaptive response to stress or perceived threads. It is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear, often accompanied by physical sensations such as increased heart rate, muscle tension and restlessness. It can range from mild and manageable to severe and debilitating. While experiencing anxiety is a common aspect of life, it can take over and become excessive, persistent and interfere with daily functioning. Some individual may find benefit from various therapeutic intervention like counselling, coping strategies, and, in some cases, medication.

Here are some copying strategies for anxiety:

5,4,3,2,1 Grounding

Another way to navigate anxiety is to do a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 grounding. 

  • Name 5 things you can see.
  • Identify 4 things you can feel.
  • Acknowledge 3 things you can hear.
  • Recognize 2 things you can smell.
  • Note 1 thing you can taste.
Breathing exercise

Connecting with our breath is a simple way to cope with anxiety and soothe our nervous system. There are different breathing techniques available, here is one of them:

Before you start, take a breath and feel your feet on the ground or the surface you’re sitting on.

  • Inhale while counting 1, 2, 3. Then, exhale wile counting 1, 2, 3. Repeat cycle twice.
  • Then you can add:
  • Inhale and say “I am calm.” Exhale and say “I am confident.”

Feel free to adjust the words to resonate with you. Repeat as long as needed.

Exercise

Regular physical exercise can be helpful in managing anxiety. Engage in activities such as walking, jogging, or yoga to promote a sense of well-being and reduce anxiety symptoms.

Coping strategies to manage hypo-arousal

Hypoarousal is characterized by a state of low physiological and psychological arousal, signalling that we are operating outside our typical window of tolerance. Frequently linked to depression or trauma, hypoarousal can manifest diversely, with symptoms varying among individuals. Common indicators include physical lethargy, emotional numbness, depression, low energy, shutdown, or a sense of disconnection.

Coping strategies for hypoarousal aim to invigorate the nervous system and foster connection. To address hypoarousal, consider implementing the following coping strategies:

Upbeat music and dancing

Turn on lively music and immerse yourself in its uplifting rhythm. Integrate physical activity by incorporating some dance moves, providing an enjoyable and energizing experience.

Cold water

Explore the revitalizing effects of cold water by either drinking it or splashing your face. Another option is to hold an ice cube in your hand, offering a refreshing sensory experience that may help combat hypoarousal.

Physical activity

Engage in activities that stimulate your body, such as brisk walking or jumping jacks, to increase arousal levels. If these activities seem too energy-intensive, simply standing up and walking around your home can be a helpful alternative.

Coping strategies for hyperarousal

Hyperarousal is a heightened state of physiological and psychological activation, often associated with the body's "fight or flight" response to stress or perceived threats. In this state, individuals may experience an increased heart rate, rapid breathing, heightened alertness, anxiety, and an overall sense of tension. Symptoms of hyperarousal can be associated with experiences of trauma. Hyperarousal is a sign that we are outside of our window of tolerance.

Music

Listening to soothing and calming music or sounds can prove effective in alleviating hyperarousal. Alternatively, engaging in singing has been found to be a helpful outlet.

Meditation

Explore various meditations and guided imagery available on meditation apps or platforms like YouTube. Incorporating meditation into your routine can contribute to lowering stress levels.

Here's a guided imagery exercise to get you started:

Exercise

Engage in gentle yoga or stretching exercises as they can be beneficial for individuals experiencing hyperarousal. Some yoga poses like the child pose can support individuals to soothe their nervous system. Incorporating these activities into your routine may provide a grounding and calming effect.

We are here for you!

If you find yourself needing more personalized support, we invite you to sign up for a free discovery call with us. Take the first step towards a calmer and more resilient you. Your well-being matters, and we are here to support you on your journey.

In this call, we will explore what you like to work on, define your goals and you’ll gain insights on how we could collaborate.

Book a free discovery session