Five Coping Skills, in Honor of World Mental Health Day

The five coping skills come courtesy of Dr. Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist, and Professor of Psychology at Yale University. In January 2018, her course titled Psychology and the Good Life became the most popular course in Yale’s history, with approximately one-fourth of Yale’s undergraduates enrolled.

The course was made available online via Coursera in March 2018, and titled The Science of Well-Being. Total enrollment for the class from March 20 of 2018 to March 19, 2019 stood at 539,000, making it the most popular online course in Yale history. By the end of the day on March 24, 2020 enrollment stood at 1,153,744, with 631,980 people enrolling in March alone.

World Mental Health Day is part of the World Health Organization’s campaign to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world and marshal support for mental health more broadly.

Santos notes that this year’s World Mental Health Day comes at a particularly challenging time for many of us. 2020 has been rough for lots of reasons, but especially because we’re battling a worldwide pandemic that has caused a lot of fear, uncertainty, and disruption to our normal routines. Most of us want to do things to make ourselves feel better. The problem is that we choose to do the wrong stuff. When times get tough, we think we should just eat something unhealthy, or go inward and avoid people, or just plop down and watch television. But— as you know— there are better, more evidence-based ways to cope!

Here is Dr. Santos’s video describing the five coping skills, but if you just want to see the list, scroll past the video.

Five Coping Skills:

  1. Exercise
  2. Gratitude
  3. Sleep
  4. Get Social
  5. Be With Your Emotions

I can’t wait to take her Science of Well Being course through Coursera; my plan is to begin the course the Monday right after Thanksgiving. If you are interested, here is the link to the course.

The course has a score of 4.9 (out of 5.0), based on over 22,000 ratings. Wow…

*image from National Today

45 thoughts on “Five Coping Skills, in Honor of World Mental Health Day

  1. I took the course and found it interesting, useful, and in some cases eye opening. Tony and I took it together actually which was the best part because it helped us understand certain things about each other that we didn’t clue into before. I hope you will like it too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gratitude is definitely something I’ve been trying to work on lately. Rather than harping on the negative and things I don’t have or can’t do, I want to look at what I have right in front of me and appreciate them.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The course looks great and the price is right – free. I’m not sure I would devote the time it deserves. Now that you deleted the WP app and have a lot of free time without constantly checking stats😄, I’m sure you will ace it. For me, taking a college course again seems like a lot of pressure.

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    1. I think you can consume the course in tiny bites. I’ve taken a Coursera course before, and it was quite well done. And it seems like this was is outstanding. You can use all the free time you have because you are not traveling… 🙂

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  4. I’m unfamiliar with the course, but it’s something I would consider. As I’ve probably mentioned to you previously, besides the obvious health concerns, the pandemic has gotten in the way of being as social as I like to be.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess that’s part of the reason why the course has exploded in popularity – people have the time to take such courses because they are not out and about like they normally would be.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great post to share at such an impactful time in our lives. There are some silver linings to the pandemic. It is my hope that by facing our own battles with our altered mental states, we will become more compassionate and invested in helping others find the resources and help they need and deserve. What a gifted educator! I am sure you will derive a great deal of useful information from her course.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. All great suggestions. My husband and son do much better with the exercise than I do! That would be why my legs ached after being at Bushkill Falls and my husband’s didn’t. LOL!

    Good luck with the course, look forward to hearing you share stuff from it in your blog posts. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess I’m lucky. I started working out when I was around 10 years old, and have been doing it most days of the week for over 50 years now…

      And I am looking forward to the course as well – and to getting a blog or two out of it 🙂

      goo right back at you… 🙂


  7. So glad you’re planning to take her class. It is GREAT! Lifechanging anyway… particularly how she teaches the concept of “miswanting” wanting things we think will make us happy but do not. She is right: social relationships are the key to happiness. THAT is what we should be working on. Her podcast is great too if you don’t have time for the course.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember you telling me about how wonderful this course is a while ago, and I had hoped to take it this past summer, but my schedule wouldn’t permit it. Since I will be finished my teaching for the semester by Thanksgiving, I thought it would be the perfect time to take it.


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