Stress Coping Strategies

There are so many different ways to cope with stress it would be impossible to list them all here. What’s important to keep in mind is that there are healthy and unhealthy coping strategies.

It’s your choice.

Unhealthy Coping Strategies

Unhealthy coping strategies may help in the short term because they can temporarily distract you from the stressor. But at the same time, they create bigger problems.

Sometimes those problems don’t show up until years later, but many of those problems start appearing pretty quickly. Then, you have to deal with the original stressor AND the new problem. It becomes a bigger and bigger cycle of stress.

The bottom line: unhealthy coping strategies can make you really sick and unhappy in the long run.

Some examples of unhealthy but common coping strategies:

  • Drug/ alcohol abuse
  • Over/under eating
  • Excessive worrying
  • Fighting
  • Yelling
  • Cutting
  • Zoning out with computer games/TV

Healthy Coping Strategies

Healthy coping strategies: well, let’s be honest. They’re often harder to do than unhealthy ones. They don’t always provide that immediate sense of gratification and distraction or numbing of the pain of stress.

But healthy coping strategies work. They don’t make you sick. And they do make you feel better.

It’s up to you to decide.
Will you let stress take control of you,
or will you take control of stress?

Getting Help

If you are concerned about how you are handling your stress, and your regular social support network of friends and family isn’t enough, there are additional places you can turn to for help.

The Crisis Clinic of King County runs Teen Link >>, a confidential, anonymous, and non-judgmental help line answered by teens, 365 days a year. To speak with a teen phone worker between 6pm and 10pm (PST), you can call:
1.866.TEENLINK (Toll Free)
If calling from outside Washington state: toll free 1-877-968-8454
206.461.3219 TDD / TTY (for the deaf or hard of hearing)

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
If you suspect that a teenager you know is suicidal, take immediate action. For 24 hour prevention and support, call 988

Visit your family doctor
Doctors can often help you with physical and emotional concerns. They can be a good place to start if you are uncomfortable talking with a parent or teacher. TeensHealth article >>

Family Help Line in Washington State
The Family Help Line is a service of Parent Trust for Washington Children. You can call the Family Help Line and a phone worker will help you find a resource that is best for you. 1-800-932-HOPE (4673) in Washington State