Healthy Coping Skills Are a Necessity

coping skillsBeing able to cope well with the curve balls life throws your way is necessary for our psychological well-being. Such well-being is determined by three things: genetic predisposition, life stressors, and coping skills.[1] Of course, we cannot change our genetics.1 Regarding life stressors, we all will experience our fair share, and some will experience more than others.1 Whether it be illness, loss, failed ambitions, financial difficulties, we will all encounter something that throws us for a curve.1 Unfortunately, people who have experienced traumatic or troubled childhoods often experience more stressors later in life.1 Their early life experiences have set them up for impaired neurological development.1 However, to overcome these low points in life, having strong coping skills is key.

“Coping” is a word that means many different things to many different people. Coping can be pushing through, skipping meals, missing sleep, neglecting social needs, abusing substances, and more. However, healthy coping is something quite different—and the best way to go about dealing with stress.

Healthy coping is being completely honest with yourself and those closest to you.1 It is knowing how you feel and what you need.1 It is being able to say “no” to things that make you uncomfortable, yet saying “yes” to things that you really need: food, sleep, socialization, etc.1 Coping in a healthy way may require you to sit down and rework your expectations for yourself and your life—without feeling a sense of failure.1 Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

Having resources to turn to is part of coping.1 They can be personal, social, and financial.1 They are out there—reach out. A strong support system is a great asset to have; however, an even greater asset is yourself.1 Instead of getting completely caught up in those curve balls, remember your strengths—acknowledge them, develop them.1 Remember your character strengths: your determination, compassion, creativity.1

Even when things are going smoothly, spend time developing your strengths.1 It changes both your brain function and structure, allowing you to respond more easily to stressful situations in the future.1 It can affect whether a gene that you carry actually activates.1 It can help you cope in a way that is necessary to keeping you well and happy.

[1] Jackson, D. (2014). The Necessity of Developing Coping Skills. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 27, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2014/01/26/the-necessity-of-developing-coping-skills/

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