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  • Think Happy Live Healthy

DIY Coping Toolkit

Updated: Jun 3, 2021

Here at Think Happy Live Healthy, we believe that mental health is connected to our physical health. Did you know that our bodies have built in resources that allow us improve our experience of difficult situations and emotions? Building a DIY coping toolkit will allow you to practice tapping into these biological resources to reduce distress and physiological arousal and improve the moment you are in whenever you need to.

Self-soothing through your 5 senses is a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skill that helps us through short term stressful situations without adding additional pain. It is linked to the notion of accepting the moment you are in and not demanding it to be different. Consider creating a DIY coping toolkit that is created uniquely for you and your 5 senses so that you can use your body’s resources to get through difficult moments and build efficacy within yourself to cope with difficult emotions in the future.

Grab an empty amazon box, repurpose a shoe box, or an empty organizer bin.

Now think of your 5 senses: Vision, Hearing, Taste, Touch, and Smell.

Begin to fill your box or bin with things that you have in your home that provide you with a sense of comfort or that you find nurturing. Consider items that will allow you to feel kind to yourself.

Improving the environment around you helps you get through a crisis by accessing these items with intention and mindful awareness throughout your day. The list below are ideas to get you started. What do you find soothing? Look around your home and think about what you can put in your coping toolkit. Collect items that work for you!


  • · A picture of your favorite family member, pet, friend, or favorite place to visit

  • · Color a square with your favorite color

  • · A drawing from your child, niece, nephew or grandchild

  • · Your favorite flower

  • · A card from someone thinking of you

  • · Designs or shapes (polka dots, stripes)

  • · Markers or color pencils and paper

  • · A positive affirmation statement


  • · Write a list of your top 5 favorite songs on a post-it note so you can reference them later

  • · Record a saying you find grounding (“I am exactly where I am supposed to be.”)

  • · Bookmark your favorite you-tube recordings

  • · Write a note that invites you to turn on the sound of rain, birds chirping, or waves


  • · A packet of gum, tic tacs or mints

  • · A piece of chocolate, bag of gummies or your favorite hard candy

  • · A bag of your favorite tea or a reminder to make yourself a smoothie of your choice

  • · Lemon water


  • · Lotion

  • · Stress ball or fidget spinner

  • · Stuffed animal

  • · Smooth blanket

  • · New sweatshirt or socks

  • · A cold compress


  • · A candle with your favorite scent (lavender, pumpkin pie, ocean breeze)

  • · Small plastic bag with coffee grounds

  • · Fill a plastic bag with cotton balls and pour your favorite essential oil on it

  • · Perfume or body spray

Want to learn more distress tolerance skills? Email us ( for your interest in joining a DBT Skills Group or starting individual therapy.

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