Therapists love dishing out coping skills with good reason; they can be life-changing.
Unfortunately, it can be overwhelming to remember all of that outside of sessions. Here’s a simple acronym I learned from Dr. Raquel Martin which has helped me in my personal life, and it’s also helped me simplify coping for my clients.
Dr. Martin asks, “What MOADS are you in?” This acronym stands for Mindfulness, Opposite action, Affect Identification, Distractors, and Social support. Let’s break those down.
This is your yoga, meditation, and all those grounding techniques your therapist sends
you. Mindfulness is anything that focuses on clearing the mind of chatter and focusing on the present moment.
This is doing the exact opposite of your typical behavioral response. If you’re depressed
and you typically lay in bed, can you move to the couch? If you’re anxiously sitting on your phone, can you walk outside? Make the opposite realistic for you at that moment; the opposite of being depressed in bed doesn’t have to be happily owning a Fortune 500 company.
Identify and name your feelings. You can do this through journaling prompts, getting a
feelings wheel or a mood meter, or simply giving yourself a few moments to check in with
yourself and give words to your experience. Here's a tool to explore your emotions: Balance Difficult Feelings with RAIN.
Here’s the fun one. Color, exercise, dance, walk, listen to music, etc. We typically love
our distractors, so pay attention to which ones of yours consistently make you feel good. Lean on those!
Contact a friend, family member, or trusted colleague and talk about what’s going on for you, how you’re feeling, and how they can support you through this time. I encourage you to customize this for yourself! My suggestions here that I put under each letter are examples and not prescriptive. Please also note that not every type of coping skill will
work or be appropriate for every moment. Try it out, and if it’s not working, switch to a different one. Rotate through these and see what sticks.
Jacob Lundy is a Mental Health Student Intern at Cypress Wellness Center. He began pursuing a Bachelor's in Psychology from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and deeply fell in love with therapy when he finally went to therapy himself in his senior year. He has ten years of teaching experience including music, special education, and ESL. He also has three years of experience working as a personal service worker, showing comfort to autistic individuals. He's now pursuing a Master's in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Adams State University. To request an appointment, click here to request an appointment.