Coping Skills

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Life is a lot harder than you probably imagined. There may have been or will be situations that you encounter that will cause you extreme internal discomfort; heartache, anxiety, sadness, anger…often it can feel like our emotions are torturing us. We want to feel all those good feelings, however, many people don’t want to feel the emotions the opposing side brings. Therefore, it’s just a part of being human that we can feel the need to do things to ease the discomfort in an unhealthy manner.

I understand the feeling of not wanting to feel. If you have to feel it…you have to deal with it. This is life and life is much harder than they taught us in school (did they even teach us about life in school?) Developing your own healthy coping skills can help you enjoy this life even when things go wrong, which is unfortunately inevitable.


Have you ever gone on a walk when you heard something upsetting or heard something that angered you? That would be considered a healthy coping skill…to walk away from a situation before you do or say something you regret. There are far easier and more pleasurable negative coping skills we as humans turn too because at the end of the day…who doesn’t like easy!?

I didn’t always have my own healthy coping skills. From 17 to about 22/23 yrs. old my eating disorder was my coping skill. I had found something to numb me of all emotions. All I cared about was what I was eating or what I wasn’t eating, if I had to throw up or not. I didn’t want to feel anything, but like we all know, all those feelings were there for me when I got better so no matter what you’re running from you have to face it to move on or the pain will stay there.

There are few individuals who seek out an addiction or a disorder…they tend to be extensions of something we are experiencing. Many people want to numb their pain with substances and it can often become a habit. It starts out innocently, just something you do to relax…maybe it’s once a month, then it becomes every weekend, then it becomes every day. Typically you experience thought processes like “I’ll just do this until I’m over this”…well see that’s the problem…we aren’t ever “over this”. There will be something to knock you down in the future and unfortunately that’s the reality, but if you use healthy coping skills you can live healthier emotionally and physically.

Unfortunately….the healthy coping skills aren’t going to give you instant gratification like numbing them would. So it will take time for you to understand that you have to feel your emotions and that’s okay because as a human to grow and become a better you…you must understand your feelings. I remind you in every post we must learn the depths of ourselves to understand how we work….which means working through the hard struggles.


Meditation…

The one thing we can always rely on is our breath. So that being said, when there’s a difficult situation that you have to handle, before anything, start with your breath. Breathe in and out…possibly using a mantra and really focus on your inhalations as well as your exhalations. This will bring you to the present so you have less clutter in your mind. Try and take 5 minutes a day to meditate. If you want to continue, work on increasing your time.

Talk it out with a friend...

Many times with certain situations we find it easier when we have support. Confide in a friend and let them know what’s going on with you. It will be easier to go through whatever the issue knowing you have support. Also, with confiding in a friend they may be able to offer a new prescriptive on the situation which could help you handle it better.

Exercise…

Start to understand the importance of treating your body right as a way to cope. Exercise is anything you enjoy; walking, going on a hike, yoga, spinning, surfing, biking, running…(you get it.) It’s about the taking time to exert energy and to work your body as well as your mind. Do whatever works for you, but just do it because exercise helps release…come on you’ve heard it again and again...ENDORPHINS. It remains true, when you exercise you release natural endorphins that make you feel better. Therefore, if you’re having a really hard day try and motivate yourself to do some form of exercise and use that time to clear your mind or maybe you’d like to use it to motivate you through your exercise.

Take a self-care day…

Some days we just need to spend time with ourselves and do whatever we want to do (within reason of course.) This means use one day, either take off from work or a weekend day to treat yourself. Maybe that means you finally get to do something you’ve been wanting to do. Whatever feels right; lay at home, go out, shop, take a class, eat in, eat out, get a massage….anything that you want to do for yourself…take the whole day to do just that. Give yourself a break from it all because everything will be right there waiting for you when you get back. A self-care day can give you clarity and allow you to face your problems in a more positive headspace.

Read and write…

Write it down! Journal your thoughts and feelings on what you’re having trouble experiencing. It not only helps to organize your thoughts, but it can help you heal. Writing helps you learn even more about yourself as well as learn parts of yourself that could be causing you problems. You should read as well as write. There are so many books out there written to help you in the exact spot you are in. Get out there and start reading. Educate yourself to learn what your experiencing. Reading can offer you a possible answer you are looking for.

Listen…

Start to listen to yourself, give yourself time and be patient with yourself. Listening to yourself means you may need to cry, you may need to get your frustrations out…you have to start making it a priority to get in touch with yourself and what you need. This can help you learn to navigate through your feelings in a healthy manner. Not only should we listen to ourselves, but take time listen to those you surround yourself with and what they’re going through. There are times when just realizing you’re not alone can help you cope.

Talk it out with a professional…

There are going to be times in life when facing a situation leaves you feeling overwhelmed, helpless, depressed and lost…this is when you should consider going to therapy. Therapists go to through extensive training to learn tons of situations in which humans need help with. Therapy can help you because its a form of catharsis (the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.) A therapist’s job is to help and guide you. I tell every person I encounter that a therapist-client relationship is important. Therefore, you should feel happy with who have, you have to be willing to trust this person to help you. I remind people that you may have to see a few to feel out the right one.


When coping with life and its’ situations the more you push back and do things to numb your feelings the more chaos and havoc you will cause for yourself. Start to realize that the only way to cope with problems/feelings that come up is to go through them. However, I promise you that the more you use healthy coping skills, the better you will see yourself handling the struggles you face. Healthy coping skills are there to help you find peace in the struggles, not to avoid them completely because that’s unrealistic. Remember that it will take time, but you just have to keep trying…and aways be kind to yourself.