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January 24, 2024

19 Coping Skills Activities to Try Today

Kristie Plantinga
woman meditates in a cross legged position in a bright, airy space; coping skills activities
January 24, 2024
5 min to read
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People develop coping skills to deal with many life challenges, including stress, anxiety, low mood, relationship trouble, work-related difficulties, or general life transitions. Whatever you're coping with, our activities are here to help.

Below are 19 coping skills activities you can try alone or with others to help you get through this—and future—difficult times.

Coping Skills Activities to Try Alone

Below are coping skills activities you can try by yourself. Each activity is categorized into a difficulty level of easy, moderate, and hard so you can ease your way into healthy coping skills.


1. Breathing Exercises

  • Example: Diaphragmatic breathing
  • How to do it: Sit comfortably, place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen. Inhale slowly through your nose, allowing your abdomen to rise, then exhale through your mouth, feeling your abdomen fall. Repeat several times.

2. Journaling

  • Example: Gratitude journaling
  • How to do it: Write down three things you're grateful for each day. They can be simple or profound. Gratitude helps foster a positive mindset in the face of difficulties.

3. Mindfulness Walk

  • Example: Take a walk in nature or a nearby park
  • How to do it: Take a leisurely walk and focus on the sights, sounds, and sensations around you. Be present in the moment.


1. Creative Expression

  • Example: Artistic expression
  • How to do it: Engage in drawing, painting, gardening, or any other form of artistic expression. Artistic expression is a creative, positive outlet for emotions.

2. Positive Affirmations

  • Example: Morning affirmations
  • How to do it: Stand in front of a mirror and say positive statements about yourself. Repeat daily to boost self-esteem.

3. Guided Meditation

  • Example: Body scan meditation
  • How to do it: Close your eyes and focus on each part of your body, starting from your toes and moving up. Notice any sensations without judgment. This promotes relaxation and awareness.


1. Cognitive Restructuring

  • Example: Challenging negative thoughts
  • How to do it: When a negative thought arises, question its validity and reframe it in a more positive or realistic light. For example, if you think "Why can't I do this? I'm so dumb." Instead, try this: "This feels extra challenging right now. Maybe I can put this down and try again in a few hours when I've rested."

2. Problem-Solving

  • Example: Pros and cons list
  • How to do it: Identify a problem, list its pros and cons, and brainstorm possible solutions. Evaluate and choose the most practical one.

3. Guided Imagery

  • Example: Imagined relaxing scene
  • How to do it: Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful scene, engaging your senses. Breathe deeply and focus on the calming imagery.

Activities to Try With Others


1. Shared Gratitude

  • Example: Gratitude discussion
  • How to do it: Share things you're grateful for with a friend or family member. It fosters positivity in both individuals.

2. Coffee or Tea Date

  • Example: Meet a friend for coffee (can be as quick as 15-20 minutes)
  • How to do it: Plan a casual meet-up with a friend for coffee or tea. Enjoying a beverage together can provide a comfortable setting for conversation.

3. Mindfulness Group Activity

  • Example: Group breathing exercise
  • How to do it: Sit in a circle and practice a brief group breathing exercise. It's powerful to feel a sense of calm with others!


1. Creative Workshop

  • Example: Group art session
  • How to do it: Organize a group art session where you and some friends can express yourselves creatively. It encourages bonding and self-expression.

2. Positive Affirmation Sharing

  • Example: Affirmation circle
  • How to do it: Sit in a circle and take turns sharing positive affirmations. It promotes encouragement and support.

3. Outdoor Group Activity

  • Example: Nature walk with friends
  • How to do it: Plan a nature walk with friends to enjoy the outdoors together. Fresh air and physical activity can boost your mood.


1. Group Problem-Solving

  • Example: Team challenge
  • How to do it: Tackle a group challenge or problem-solving activity, like an escape room. A group challenge fosters teamwork and camaraderie.

2. Group Meditation Session

  • Example: Guided group meditation
  • How to do it: Find a quiet space, play a guided meditation, and experience a group relaxation session. You could also attend a guided yoga or meditation class.

3. Shared Self-Reflection

  • Example: Group reflection discussion
  • How to do it: Discuss personal challenges and growth as a group, creating a supportive environment for sharing.

4. Seeking Professional Support

  • Example: Scheduling therapy sessions
  • How to do it: Research and reach out to a mental health professional. Schedule and attend therapy sessions to address deeper concerns.

Work with a therapist to learn which coping skills are right for you.

Our vetted therapists can give you the support you need as you navigate life's challenges.

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Need more answers?

Frequently asked questions

Why are coping skills important?

According to Science of the People, coping skills are essential tools that help us effectively manage stress, emotions, and difficult circumstances, empowering us to adapt, thrive, and maintain our well-being in adversity. 

They increase our resilience by enabling us to handle negative emotions, panic attacks, difficult situations, life transitions, and other challenges better, allowing us to let go of negative feelings and move forward from the experience.

What age groups can benefit from coping skills?

Coping skills are beneficial for all age groups, as they help individuals manage stress and emotions effectively. For children and young adolescents, simpler skills like distraction can be beneficial, while older adolescents and adults thrive on more complex skills like self-reliance and planful problem-solving. Even older adults can benefit from coping skills to manage big life changes, health problems, or mobility limitations.

What happens if I delay developing coping skills?

According to Penn State University, developing coping skills early is crucial because it helps individuals manage stress and emotions effectively, leading to lower levels of anxiety and depression later in life. 

If coping skills are delayed, individuals may struggle to handle negative experiences, which could impact their mental health, well-being, and overall quality of life.

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Written by
Kristie Plantinga

Kristie Plantinga is the founder of Best Therapists. Along with being on the client-side of therapy, Kristie has had the honor of working directly with therapists in her marketing agency for therapists, TherapieSEO. While working alongside therapists, she learned about the inequities in our mental health system that therapists face on a daily basis, and she wanted to do something about it. That’s why Best Therapists is a platform designed to benefit not only therapy-seekers, but therapy providers. Kristie has a Masters degree in Written Communication and a Bachelors degree in Psychology and Music.

Reviewed by
Katelyn McMahon
Registered Psychotherapist, VT #097.0134200

Katelyn is a therapist-turned-writer with a passion for mental health. She has a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of England and is a Registered Psychotherapist in the state of Vermont. Katelyn has professional experience in aging care, addiction treatment, integrated health care, and private practice settings. She also has lived experience being on the client side of therapy. Currently, Katelyn is a content writer who’s passionate about spreading mental health awareness and helping other therapists and therapy-seekers Do The Work.

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