How to Manage Your Feelings

Nine Coping Skills

  1. Pray

Are you a religious or spiritual person? If you are or even if you are not but have considered trying, praying can be tremendously helpful in times of extreme stress.

  1. Play Music

Play music that creates an emotion that is opposite of the one you are struggling with. For example, if you are feeling sad, play happy music. If you are feeling anxious, play slow, relaxing music.

  1. Do Something

Television or computer activities do not count, these are too passive. Instead, take a walk, dance, clean the house, or do some other activity that gets you active and distracts you from your current emotion.

  1. Call Someone

Reaching out to others can really help when you are struggling with strong emotions. Call a supportive friend or family member. Identify someone you feel

that is supportive and ask them if they would be willing to be available to you when needed.

  1. Ride It Out

The peak of the strongest emotional reactions last for a few minutes and then begin to subside. Set an egg timer or your watch for 10 minutes, and practice riding out the emotion.

  1. Be Mindful

Practice mindfulness of your emotion. Notice the emotion you are feeling. Let yourself experience it as a wave, without trying to block it, suppress it, or hold on to it. Try to accept the emotion for what it is.

  1. Breathe Deeply

Sit or lie somewhere quiet and bring your attention to your breathing. Breathe evenly, slowly, and deeply. Watch your stomach rise and fall with each breath.

  1. Take a Warm Bath or Shower

Try to lose yourself in the sensations of the warm water, the smell of the soap, etc. Allow the sensations to distract you from the situation you are upset about.

  1. Help Someone Else

Do something nice for someone else. It does not have to be something big.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

By Lola Johnson, Caregiver of Gulf War Veteran, Glenn Dale, Maryland

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