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  • Writer's pictureMaria S Panitsidis

Coping Skills... deeper than you think

Updated: Jan 10, 2022

"Whether you’ve been dumped by your date or you’ve had a rough day at the office, having healthy coping skills can be key to getting through tough times"

Do you ever wonder if others have the same thoughts or feelings as you do about certain situations? While not all people are created equal, not all coping skills work for all people. Each coping skill we decide to use has the potential to be beneficial. Sometimes, however, it is more like trial and error. We are creatures of habit, and thus we do what feels good to us. Using alcohol or drugs, sex, food, shopping, and the like to cope are considered "negative coping skills" especially when they interfere with the basic tenants of our everyday lives. Coping Skills work because they facilitate the handling of people's experiences. When we start to use negative coping skills to relieve stress, we are actually creating more stress. By having a positive outlet for our negative emotions we allow ourselves to drain the negative energy through positive behaviors such as journaling, singing, exercising, reading, meditating, etc to work through the negative event or emotion and to clear our minds of the residual lingering feelings.

There are two main types of coping skills:

Problem-based coping,

  • Problem-based coping is helpful when you need to change your situation, perhaps by removing a stressful thing from your life. For example, if you’re in an unhealthy relationship, your anxiety and sadness might be best resolved by ending the relationship (as opposed to soothing your emotions).

and emotion-based coping.

  • Emotion-based coping is helpful when you need to take care of your feelings when you either don’t want to change your situation or when circumstances are out of your control. For example, if you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it’d be important to take care of your feelings in a healthy way (since you can’t change the circumstance).

It is very important that we all keep a 'toolbox' of coping skills to pull out when needed. Some are overt such as journaling, working on a word puzzle, others can be covert like using breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation techniques, tapping, and using your 5 senses. The website below will give you a list of 100 coping strategies to help get you started! While these are just suggestions you will be able to understand what a positive and what a negative coping skill is based on how it makes you feel after you use it.

In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive. – Lee Iacocca
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