Grief & Coping

Part of being human means that you will experience a wide range of emotions, throughout your week or day or even hour! There is nothing wrong with emotions- they aren’t good or bad. What matters is what you do with emotions. Everyone needs to find ways to manage our emotions in safe, healthy ways.

There are five general types of Coping Skills. Below is a list of safe ways to manage emotions. Certain strategies work better for certain emotions or situations/locations. Try some of these Coping Skills to see which ones you find helpful and make a list of what you like and work well for you.

Processing Coping Skills:

  • ID your feelings
  • Acknowledge what you can and can’t control
  • ID thinking errors
  • Change your inner dialogue
  • Think about the best thing that could happen from this
  • Express what you are feeling in a creative way
  • Write about your feelings

Sensory Coping Skills include:

  • Touch: Use mermaid fabric, use hand warmers, lay down on soft blankets or pillows
  • Taste: eat something sour, eat something chewy
  • Smell: use calming scents, put on lotion, diffuse essential oils
  • Visual: Watch a lava lamp, or small water/stress
  • Auditory: Listen to sounds on a sound machine, like birds chirping, frogs croaking, waterfalls, ocean waves, or white noise
  • Proprioceptive: stack and carry heavy books, move chairs, wall push ups, use a weighted stuffed animal or lap pad
  • Vestibular: stand on a balance board, sit and move on a scooter board, crab walk


Relaxation skills are:

  • A variety of ways of deep breathing, like using a feather or triangle breathing
  • Grounding techniques, like 54321 grounding or touching objects around you.
  • Mindfulness techniques, like focusing on sounds or using your sense of smell
  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Write a gratitude list
  • Use visualization


    Distraction Coping Skills

    Movement Coping Skills - There are some strategies that work outside, some that work inside, and some that work in both locations

    • Small body movements, like flexing and pointing feet, or rolling your shoulders
    • Big body movements like skipping or riding a scooter.
    • Walk, run, yoga, any exercise or dancing
    • Drink water or tea
    • Eat a snack
    • Pop bubble wrap
    • Use a fidget object
  • Play, do fun things, including board games, card games
  • Hang out with friends
  • Help others
  • Be with animals/pets
  • Garden
  • Read
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Watch a show or movie
  • Clean
  • Creativity like crocheting, rainbow loom, or writing a story.