Positive and Negative Coping Skills

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Here's a list of positive and negative coping skills. As an exercise identify those negative coping skills you use or have used, write them down on paper and with a brief description or example of each. Under each negative coping skill, identify a positive coping skill that you're willing to try using instead. Practice the skills daily. Make a commitment to do this exercise daily for 6-months. Soon you'll be well on your way.


Positive Coping Skills:

  1. Call sponsor or counselor
  2. Attend 12-step/support meeting
  3. Meditate, pray, or get "in touch" with Higher Power
  4. Staying in the here-and-now (staying in the present)
  5. Stay organized; make a to-do list
  6. Work on your 4th Step, in writing
  7. Stretching or exercising
  8. Listening to "positive" or relaxing music
  9. Reading
  10. Participate in some form of recreational activity
  11. Engage in a positive and/or healthy hobby
  12. Socialize with sober and/or positive friends

Negative Coping Skills:

  1. Act violently, lash out; or angry outburst
  2. Use - relapse (drink alcohol, drug use, smoke, etc.)
  3. Pace up and down
  4. Fill mind with negative thoughts, revenge, or trash
  5. Lack of journaling issues or situations
  6. Over-eating or under-eating
  7. Excessive sleep
  8. Engage in negative self-talk or pity
  9. Socialize with non-sober and/or negative friends
  10. Dwell on the past (regrets, failures, could-haves, should-haves)
  11. Withdraw from support and/or isolate self

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