OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

General Coping Skills

One aspect of recovering from an eating disorder is to learn other ways of coping with stress, needs, and emotions besides using food. Below are listed some general categories of healthy coping methods.

  1. Distraction. Divert attention away from the problem by thinking about other things or engaging in some activity. For example, get away for a while, focus on the good things in life, call a friend, work on a hobby, read something enjoyable.
  2. Redefine the Situation. Try to see the problem in a different light to make it seem more bearable.
  3. Take Direct Action. Think about options and possible solutions, gather information, and then actually do something.
  4. Use Catharsis. Express your emotions in response to the problem to reduce tension, anxiety, or frustration. Writing in a journal is one way many people express themselves freely.
  5. Accept. Some problems have no solutions. Recognize that little or nothing can be done about it, and accept the situation.
  6. Seek Social Support. Ask for help. Seek emotional support from loved ones, friends, family, or a professional.
  7. Use Relaxation. Do something with the intention of relaxing.
  8. Use Spirituality/Religion/Nature. Seek spiritual comfort and support, however you define it.
  9. Altruism. Do something for someone else (e.g. volunteering) to help you get your mind off your problems.

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