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Counseling and Psychological Services

Coping Skills

  • Develop an awareness of general and specific stressors
  • Look for and respond to humor
  • Reward yourself for achievement
  • Take responsibility for your life, your decisions, your actions
  • Value, respect, and care for yourself

Health issues

  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Avoid caffeine - increases arousal, anxiety, irritability
  • Foods rich in tryptophan can help with relaxation
  • Regular exercise - outdoor activities
  • Adequate sleep - consistent sleep schedule
  • Avoid self medication with alcohol or drugs
  • Learn relaxation strategies and use them
  • Keep a list of calming activities


  • Develop a network for social support
  • Express yourself
  • Ask for what you need from others
  • Find a trusted friend with whom you can talk over problems and concerns
  • Evaluate whether or not your expectancies of others are realistic
  • Seek meaningful and rewarding social relationships
  • Reduce time spent in social obligation
  • Insulate yourself from the stress of others
  • Do not own problems that are not yours
  • Seek professional assistance when problems remain static or worsen

Environmental Changes

  • Organize and promote a more positive environment to reduce stress
  • Cultivate a peaceful environment
  • Reduce noise, clutter, annoyances
  • Sights, smells, and sounds can be relaxing or irritating

Time Management

  • Develop time management skills to use time effectively
  • Capture waiting time and use it to your benefit
  • Pace yourself - Work at a steady pace.
  • Take rest periods before you are fatigued
  • Take breaks from tasks requiring extended time
  • Avoid boredom and overload
  • Schedule time for physical activities
  • Schedule time for outdoor activities
  • Make leisure time an important priority (rest, relaxation, hobbies)
  • Learn to say no without feeling guilty
  • Do the least pleasant activities first

Problem Solving and Goal-setting

  • Set realistic goals
  • Break overwhelming tasks into manageable steps ( You can only eat an elephant one bite at a time.)
  • Worrying and problem-solving are not the same thing
  • Worrying consumes significant energy and time, is non-productive, and decreases enjoyment of life
  • Worrying leads you in circles, not to a solution
  • Make decisions instead of permitting things to happen by default
  • Knowing that we have choices and making choices can be major factors in reducing depression
  • Let go of perfectionism
  • Learn to live with loose ends and unfinished tasks
  • Delegate tasks when you can
  • Accept that they will likely not be done as you would have done them

Cognitive Distortions

  • Identify and change thought patterns, beliefs, perceptions, which contribute to stress and depression
  • Distinguish between situations over which you have influence / control and those over which you do not
  • Let go of the need to fix everything
  • Accept things which you truly cannot change
  • Learn from those situations - about yourself and others
  • Find a meaning in the situation
  • Use the situation as an opportunity for personal growth
  • Maintain a flexible, open approach to situations
  • Are there other ways of looking at this situation?
  • Changing perceptions can reduce the stress of the situation
  • Keep priorities in focus
  • Use energy for endeavors which are consistent with important values


  • Emphasize strengths
  • Accept limitations

Libet 2006
Reviewed 2/8/2010




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