Healthy coping skills are always needed. Healthy coping skills help you to deal with life challenges and stressors. If your goal is to lead a healthy lifestyle, healthy coping skills help you to create healthy ways to manage stress, deal with overwhelm and conflict, build healthy habits, and help you build self-esteem and self-efficacy.
What are Healthy Coping Skills
Healthy coping skills are skills that you can develop to help you manage your lives. On any given day, you can identify stressful and overwhelming concerns and worries in your lives. Healthy coping skills provide you with ways to manage these feelings of overwhelm and worry. These coping skills provide outlets to release pent up emotions, provide ways to distract your mind from worry, and provide the space to replenish your energy and mood. Healthy coping skills are skills that can be learnt, and developed, at any given time.
Benefits of Healthy Coping Skills
Healthy coping skills teaches you healthy skills that help you overcome stress and overwhelm. These skills may include:
· Delayed gratification
Healthy coping skills teach you to practice acceptance of life’s ebb and flow. Building these skills help you to recognize that life is filled with trials. It’s in your best interest to learn how to manage life’s trials. These trials look differently for everyone. Healthy coping skills help you to practice acceptance and strength to manage your own trials while also teaching you how to problem solve the difficulties you may be experiencing.
Additionally, healthy coping skills also helps you to recognize that life is never just one thing. There’s happiness at the same time there’s pain. Increasing your healthy coping skills will help you to learn how to navigate the duality of life. The more practice you have with these skills, the more self-confident you start to feel about dealing with trials.
Unhealthy Coping Skills
While healthy coping skills teaches you how to focus on gratitude for the things still going well, unhealthy coping skills tend to cloud your mind with all the things that are going wrong. Healthy coping skills push you to be mindful of long-term consequences of your actions; unhealthy coping skills focus on feeling better in the here-and-now.
Unhealthy coping skills include habits, such as:
1. Overeating and/or restrictive eating
2. Excessive drinking
3. Mindless tv bingeing
4. Mindless social media scrolling
5. Lashing out at others – emotional reactivity
6. Punishing your body with exercise
7. Procrastination and avoidance
8. Using substances to numb the pain
Unhealthy coping skills are reactive behaviors that numb the emotions in the short-term but leave unintended consequences later. They are behaviors that make you feel better in the moment. However, they leave painful circumstances for you to deal with after. For example, yelling at a loved one in anger in a moment of frustration or driving after consuming alcohol.
Examples of Healthy Coping Skills
Healthy coping skills can cover a range of activities. Choose activities that really have a positive impact on you. Hence, your coping skills should reflect activities that you find engaging, comforting, and supportive. They should help you reframe your thoughts, create an emotional space to let you deal with your emotions and calm down, and allow you to replenish yourself.
Skillsyouneed.com identifies 4 areas to create coping skills for. As social beings, socialization is an important part of everyday life. Hence, creating healthy coping skills in this area is necessary. Healthy coping skills in this area may look like building a supportive circle – whether with friends or family and spending quality time with these individuals. Another type of coping skills are meaning-focused coping skills. Meaning-focus coping skills help you to adjust your thought patterns around your experiences. They help you to adjust your mindset which helps you to adjust your emotions, and by extension, your behaviors. Examples may include practicing a growth mindset, utilizing a gratefulness approach, or a faith-based/higher connection approach to your experiences.
A third type are emotion-focused coping skills. These types of coping skills help you to expel your emotions by engaging in soothing and self-caring activities. Examples may include exercising, taking a hot/cold shower, lighting a candle, or practicing deep breathing exercises. And lastly, problem-focused coping skills help you to utilize your energy by identifying solutions to an issue rather than engaging in negative coping skills such as catastrophizing a problem or engaging in self-blaming behaviors. Problem-solving techniques help you to identify the problem and then to brainstorm practical solutions to the issue.
It is quite easy to mix healthy and unhealthy coping skills. For example, exercising is a great coping skill. However, it can become maladaptive and unhealthy if you use it to punish yourself for gaining weight. Practicing mindfulness and increasing our awareness helps us to manage the line between healthy and unhealthy. Additionally, be mindful that coping skills can change as life becomes more stressful. A coping skill might have been useful when you worked a certain type of job but it no longer works for you. This is completely normal. Behaviors can change as life changes. Engage mindfulness and awareness and adjust as needed.
If you believe that you need more assistance with learning more healthy coping skills, do not hesitate to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with me today by clicking here.
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