Some people can take a negative situation and turn it into something very positive. Others do not handle things well. No one copes the same way. Coping skills are a set of strategies you use to decrease your stress level. Some people involve themselves in risky behaviors to cope while others may use meditation or exercise. It is always good for us to learn the best coping skills. Life happens and if you have a game plan for how to cope with it, you will be better off.
Things happen in life and sometimes we are just not prepared for them. When we are unable to cope with difficult situations, it can send us into depression and addiction. Coping strategies should not be harmful or life-threatening. Using drugs and alcohol as your coping mechanism is bad. Racing in the streets or punching things is also a bad way to cope. The thing about these behaviors is that it can potentially be very harmful and deadly. Substance abuse especially can lead to addictions and destroy you from the inside out. Not coping at all is bad as well. When you hold on to negative emotions and do not address them, you may end up doing emotional damage to yourself. Holding in feelings can lead to emotions that range from anger to depression. Coping skills is a healthy way of dealing with relationships.
How To Cope
There are thousands of coping strategies. Most of them do not even involve money. You do not have to go to a therapist to learn coping strategies. Most of us have our own built in strategies that we are not even aware of as it relates to coping. Subconsciously we tend to do certain things. Let’s make a scenario. Let’s say your boss reprimands you for not getting enough work done. What is your natural reaction? Some people may initially work harder, others may want to cry, or you may feel like quitting and running away. These are natural coping methods. If you are the one that desires to work harder, you probably take on stressful situations and find an immediate solution. You do not let it get you down and depressed. If you feel the need to cry, you are probably more emotional when it comes to stress. Your way of coping may lead you to involve yourself in risky behavior because of your feelings. These behaviors may involve alcohol or emotional eating. For the person that wants to run away, you may cope with an escape mechanism. Some people do not like to handle difficult situations and find it easier to run away instead of dealing with the problem at hand. Just something as simple as this can help you understand your coping mechanism.
It is okay if you do not naturally cope with things the same way as someone else. Not all coping mechanisms are bad, but some may need to be adjusted. You should first be honest with yourself about whether or not you think your coping skills are good. Most of us could work on our skills and learn new ones. For those of you who need some assistance, here are some alternatives to help you.
- Exercise – Exercise relieves stress. Not only are you coping, but you are getting in shape while doing it.
- Meditation – Meditation can calm you down and make you think clearly. Through meditation, you can think before you act or speak
- Hobbies – If you are an artist in any way, working on your skill can be very helpful. If painting is your thing, paint a picture. If dancing is what you do, find a place to dance. These things can create a sense of calm and happiness as well as bring clarity.
- Reading – Reading can take your mind off of things and put you into another zone.
- TV – TV may not be the best thing, but if it can make you calm, then you should watch your favorite show. Humor is especially helpful. Making someone laugh can take away negative emotions.
- Friendship – Being around other people and away from the source of stress may calm you down. Having good friends, you can vent to and get advice from is positive.
- Spirituality – If you are a religious person, doing religious rituals like praying and worshiping can be very helpful.
These are just a few suggestions, but there are several other mechanisms.
Coping strategies are not always learned. Sometimes they are naturally embedded within us based on what we have seen. Assessing your coping mechanisms is good. If they are not working for you, you should learn new methods. Just because you have done something that way for a long time does not mean it does not need adjusting. Anytime you cope with negative behaviors; you should find new methods. Those behaviors that become life threatening should be addressed by a professional. If you do not have a real coping strategy, you should start developing one; it can be very helpful in the future.
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