Coping Skills

  • Why use coping skills?

    • Mature coping skills help you deal with life’s difficult challenges in a healthy and productive way. If you don’t know how to deal with certain situations, they might only get worse. The right strategy, however, can get you through any situation quickly and with as little pain as possible.  
    • Coping skills also help increase resilience. Resilience refers to how quickly a person is able to recover from a difficult situation, or in other words, how quickly and easily they bounce back after something like the death of a loved one or another difficult life situation. People who are highly resilient can process difficult experiences by acknowledging their mistakes, learning from the situation, and moving on.  
    • Coping skills increase resilience because they help people learn how to properly handle negative emotions, panic attacks, and other difficult situations. When you effectively deal with a negative emotion or situation, you also move on and let go of the negative feelings that are associated with that experience.   

    What You Need to Know About Coping Skills

    • It takes time to develop ​really good coping skills. For instance, your first list of coping skills might contain walking, listening to music, watching a movie, talking to a friend, and writing. Over time, you might find that listening to music and writing are the best coping skills, and you hate the idea of talking to a friend. Keep revising your list until you get it just right.
    • Be patient! The first time you decide to go for a walk might not feel right. You might come back from the walk and think, “That was supposed to help?” If you’re not used to using coping skills, give each coping skill a chance. Try them a few times. Some of them grow on you and really help in the end.
    • Sometimes you have to jump from one coping skill to another. For example, your most effective coping skill might be playing video games, but you don’t want to grow roots in front of the screen. Get up after a while and go for a jog or clean your room – get your blood flowing.
    • Are coping skills effective 100% of the time? No, nothing is. There are going to be days when it feels like nothing works. Keep trying those coping skills anyway, though, and try to reach out to a supportive person for extra help if you feel like all your coping skills are letting you down.
    • Do coping skills make everything better? Occasionally your coping skills will lift your spirits very admirably. Sometimes, though, you may only feel 50% better or even just 25% better.

    9 Steps to Taking Care of Yourself

    Hectic schedules can drain your energy and keep you so busy that you often forget to take care of yourself both physically and emotionally.  Take a moment to stop and think about what you need to do enable you to perform at your very best.  Regular self-care can improve your well-being and self-esteem.  It also increases resiliency that you need to help bounce back when problems come up in your life. 

    So what does self-care look like, what can you do?

    1. Tell yourself that you do matter; and because you matter it is important to spend time and energy on helping yourself feel better. Self-care is finding a way to build yourself up.
    2. Be extra nice to yourself. Do things that you enjoy and that help you to relax and unwind.
    3. Be patient with yourself. Accept that you will make mistakes, know that you can't please everyone, and allow time to grieve. Know that things will get better, even though it might take a while.
    4. Invest in yourself. Follow your dreams. Study things that interest you.  Establish a faith walk for yourself.
    5. Recognize when you are in problems over your head.  Sometimes this means that you need to admit that you need someone to throw you a safety line; this could include working with a therapist, talking to a trusted adult, or going to a support group.
    6. Say no to situations or people that you know could trigger you in a negative way.  Self-care means that you protect yourself so you can build a stronger future self. 
    7. Think about things that happened in the past, and learn from them so you don't repeat the same pattern. Self-care means taking time to really evaluate if situations and relationships are healthy and if they should continue. 
    8. Focus forward. Self-care means moving ahead, not looking back. Making goals for tomorrow or next week are your first step toward the future.
    9. Be proud of yourself. Declare victory when things go well. Recognize when you make good choices, or when you succeed at something that you have been working toward.

    The next time you hear "take care of yourself" remember these 9 points.  They can make a difference in your life, and result in a stronger YOU!