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Adolescence can be exciting and challenging at the same time. It’s when teens undergo many changes in their bodies and try to establish their independence and identity. This life stage makes them prone to experiencing strong and negative feelings[*].

During difficult situations, coping skills for teens will minimize their stress. Coping healthily helps them feel better, function well at home and in school, and transition successfully into adulthood.

101 Best Coping Skills for Teens

Our coping strategies for teens include physical exercises, games, positive affirmations, and relaxation techniques. Instruct a teen to spend time each day practicing these skills and use them more often.

1. Bake - Baking is a mindfulness activity. It allows teens to express themselves.

2. Blow bubbles - This is a breathing exercise that brings them to a state of calmness[*].

3. Brainstorm solutions - Encourage them to think of 3-5 ideas to tackle their own problem. You can also brainstorm together.

4. Build something - Cool DIY ideas include a ship in a bottle and a catapult!

5. Call a friend - Good friends serve as stress buffers.

6. Clean or organize your bedroom - It’s no secret that the appearance of a messy bedroom creates more mental stress.

7. Close your eyes and relax - Think of peaceful images, such as a waterfall or a sunset.

8. Color - Coloring books aren’t just for kids!

9. Compliment someone - Here’s a nice thing to say to a friend: “You are always so helpful!”

10. Cook dinner for your family - Explore quick and easy dinners. For example, chicken and veggies stir-fry or chicken tenders.

11. Count to 100 or 1000 - Teens can use this especially when they feel very overwhelmed and panicky.

12. Cry it out - Crying in upsetting situations helps reduce the intensity of one’s emotions. A study also showed that crying makes a person feel better when they have a close friend nearby[*].

13. Dance - Dance off stress with your favorite happy song in the background.

14. Daydream - Imagine your dreams coming true. Think about a vacation spot on your wishlist!

15. Do a puzzle - You’ll be able to find lots of stress relief puzzles online, from 300-piece to 1,000-piece puzzles. Puzzles are one of the best brain exercises.

16. Do a word search puzzle - Word search puzzles won’t only improve your teen’s vocabulary, but they also improve their problem-solving skills.

17. Don’t be so hard on yourself - Instead, practice self-compassion. Give yourself a gentle hug!

18. Draw - Teens who are stuck in repetitive thoughts can sketch or doodle to relax their minds.

19. Drink hot tea - Teas that help with anxiety include peppermint and chamomile.

20. Eat healthy foods - Avoid highly processed foods, especially those that are full of sugar.

21. Engage in a hobby - Is your teen passionate about playing a musical instrument? Photography? Collecting coins? Encourage these fun hobbies.

22. Exercise - Any form of exercise, such as biking, running, or swimming benefits their mental health.

23. Feel your pulse - This brings awareness to their heart rate, especially when they’re feeling on edge.

24. Forgive someone - Forgiveness is positively associated with reduced anxiety and depression[*].

25. Garden - Encourage your teen to help a senior manage their gardens or help your community garden!

26. Get a drink of water - Or try lemon water for a boost of vitamin C!

27. Get a good night’s sleep - Helpful sleep tips for teens include spending 1 hour before bedtime listening to calming music.

28. Get a hug - Interpersonal touch reduces feelings of loneliness.

29. Get out in the sun - Exposing themselves to natural sunlight boosts vitamin D, which is essential for mental health[*].

30. Get up and move around - Run, dance, or do a household chore.

31. Go fishing - Take your teen fishing as a way to detox digitally and appreciate nature.

32. Go for a brisk walk - All they need is a pair of sneakers!

33. Go for a hike - Make hiking even more fun with trail games.

34. Go for a jog - Parents can turn jogging with their teens into a regular form of exercise for mental and physical health.

35. Go swimming - Play some swimming games too, such as scavenger hunt.

36. Go to a movie - Or make it a family movie night at home with some healthy snacks.

37. Go to a park - This is a great alternative to video games.

38. Go to the library - Teens who love reading as a hobby can exercise their brains by exploring books in the library while also reducing their stress.

39. Laugh - Send your teen a funny quote to make them laugh.

40. Learn something new - This allows teens to advance their skills, which increases their self-confidence.

41. Limit caffeine - Caffeine can be found not just in coffee, but also energy drinks.

42. Listen to birds - Or play a “3-hour relaxing music with birds singing in the background” if your teen is at home.

43. Listen to music - The best music for lowering stress is one that has no lyrics.

44. List your positive qualities - Positive traits include humble, respectful, and proactive.

45. Make a collage - This activity is a creative way to express their thoughts, feelings, and goals in life.

46. Massage your neck and shoulders - Massage is a natural stress-reliever.

47. Meditate - This controls racing thoughts. Explore some meditation apps to download.

48. Paint outside - Let them paint rocks and vases!

49. Pet an animal - Pets, such as dogs and cats, provide social interaction and emotional support.

50. Play a card game - This gives them a good mental challenge and distracts them from anxious thoughts.

51. Play a sport - The best sports for teens include basketball, swimming, golf, and football.

52. Play music on an instrument - Guitar is the most popular instrument, but they can also learn to play the violin, piano, and drums.

53. Practice mindfulness - Mindfulness techniques, such as journaling and writing a gratitude list, bring them back to the present moment.

54. Practice tai chi or qi gong - These are mind-body practices that do not only improve mood, but also strength and flexibility.

55. Practice yoga - Calming yoga poses include the Cat-Cow Pose and the Reclining Bound Angle Pose.

56. Read inspirational quotes - For example, “Make happiness a priority and be gentle with yourself in the process.”

57. Replace negative thoughts with positive thoughts - To do this, teens can ask themselves, “What would I say to my best friend in this situation?”

58. Ride a bike - Take them to a bike park.

59. Rip up newspaper - Any sheet of paper also works.

60. Say YES to social opportunities - Encouraging your teen to volunteer together with their friends is one way they can solve problems and make a positive difference in the world.

61. Sing a song - Choose songs that soothe the soul.

62. Spend time in nature - Visit a local nature site. Eat a healthy meal in the garden. Do yoga in the park.

63. Squeeze ice - Here’s one of the coping skills for teenagers that prevent panic attacks.

64. Stargaze - Also, they can take a picture of the night sky and paint it.

65. Stretch - Stretching relieves muscle tension caused by stress and anger.

66. Take a break - There are many ways for teens to take a break from stressful thoughts, such as turning off their phones, drinking a glass of water, and playing solitaire.

67. Take a cold shower - Cold showers have an anti-depressive effect[*].

68. Take a nap - Limit their nap to 20 minutes to avoid interrupted sleep at night.

69. Take a warm bath - Help your teen out by adding epsom salts and essential oils into their bath.

70. Take pictures - Fun and interesting photoshoot ideas include rain portraits and cityscapes.

71. Take three deep belly breaths - It’s a simple way for teens to relax no matter the time and place.

72. Talk to someone you trust - Qualities of a trustworthy friend include honesty, attentiveness, and dependability.

73. Tell yourself, “I can be patient in this moment.” - You can also talk about the benefits of patience and how it helps them become a successful adult.

74. Tell yourself, “I can find the humor here.” - One way that parents can encourage humor is by practicing it at home.

75. Tell yourself, “I can handle this.” - Parents can also remind their teens of their strengths, such as resourcefulness and resilience.

76. Tell yourself, “I got this.” - Believing in themselves will motivate them to take positive action.

77. Tell yourself, “I have faith this will work out.” - Do this instead of dwelling on the reasons why something won’t work out.

78. Tell yourself, “I’m in control of myself.” - In addition, they can engage in simple self-care strategies, such as going out for a walk, taking a 20-minute nap, and eating a healthy snack.

79. Tell yourself, “I’m letting this one go.” - This gives teens a feeling of personal freedom. In contrast, holding on to pain has negative consequences.

80. Tell yourself, “I’m not going to let this get to me.” - This doesn’t mean ignoring problems, but rather to accept, stop complaining about them, and focusing on the present.

81. Tell yourself, “Relax, it’s okay.” - They can also practice relaxation strategies like deep breathing and visualization.

82. Tell yourself, “Something good will come from this” - This encourages teens to remain hopeful. It reduces their fears.

83. Tell yourself, “What can I learn from this situation?” - This encourages teenagers to grow from challenges.

84. Tense and relax your muscles - This is a progressive muscle relaxation (PMR) technique to reduce feelings of tension. It also helps with sleep.

85. Think of a peaceful place - Or they could create their own peaceful place at home!

86. Think of three things you are grateful for - Gratitude makes life so much better.

87. Unplug from electronics - A review paper found that the excessive use of digital technology decreases a teenager’s well-being[*].

88. Use a relaxation app - Try downloading popular apps like Calm and Headspace.

89. Use a stress ball - Some stress balls have positive quotes written on them!

90. Use essential oils - Lavender and jasmine are popular essential oils.

91. Visualize yourself calming down - Be as specific as possible. They can also imagine themselves calming down in a quiet and peaceful environment.

92. Volunteer - Volunteer ideas for teens include helping younger students with their homework and donating their time at an animal shelter.

93. Watch an inspirational movie - Has your teen watched “The Pursuit of Happyness?” Try it.

94. Watch funny YouTube videos - Try searching for “funny animals” or “cute babies.”

95. Watch the sunset - Pack a picnic, too!

96. Write a letter - This lets teens put their experience into perspective.

97. Write a list of your top ten coping skills - This can include talking with a trusted friend and taking their dog out for a walk.

98. Write a poem - This can be an opportunity to discuss their thoughts and feelings on a topic that concerns them the most.

99. Write down current and future goals - Also, explain the difference between short-term and long-term goals.

100. Write in a journal - They can write about their most recent challenge and brainstorm healthy ways to overcome it.

101. Yell into a pillow - Screaming into a pillow helps a teen let their anger out without harming others.

Download our 101 Coping Skills for Teens

Did you enjoy this list? Get our coping mechanisms for teens in a PDF format. You can print it and hang it on your teen’s wall as a reminder to practice these skills. Download it now!

coping skills for teens

  1. American Psychological Association. Teens
  2. Janz P, Dawe S, Wyllie M. Mindfulness-Based Program Embedded Within the Existing Curriculum Improves Executive Functioning and Behavior in Young Children: A Waitlist Controlled Trial. 2019 September 10
  3. American Psychological Association. Why we cry. 2014 February
  4. American Psychological Association. Forgiveness can improve mental and physical health. 2017 January
  5. Penckofer S, Kouba J, Byrn M et al. Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine? 2011 June 01
  6. Shevchuk N. Adapted cold shower as a potential treatment for depression. 2007 November 13
  7. Dienlin T, Johannes N. The impact of digital technology use on adolescent well-being
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