Person thinking about coping skills

What Are Coping Skills?

What are coping skills? Coping skills are used to deal with stressful situations in our lives. They can be good or bad, depending on the method we choose to use. We learn these as children. As we grow older, we should be able to use more mature and healthy coping skills.

What Are Coping Skills Examples

Let’s start with a child because they have some of the simplest and easiest to recognize. When a young child encounters a stressor, being told no, for example, they will cope by crying, yelling, and perhaps even flailing around on the ground. As we mature, we learn that this isn’t a healthy and effective strategy. We may attempt to cope by understanding the reason why we are denied, or take a few minutes to allow the emotions we feel to calm down. Coping skills encompass a wide variety of actions, both positive and negative. Sometimes, whether or not we use them in moderation defines whether it’s good or bad.

Negative Coping Skills

What kinds of strategies are bad for us? Many times we use substances or even actions to cope. Often, we then become addicted because we feel we need them to handle every single situation. Negative coping strategies can be defined simply as those causing harm to ourselves or those around us. Yelling could be considered one such strategy as well as using alcohol or drugs to relieve anxiety or sadness. Clearly, some are in more of a gray area. For example, walking away when we get angry can be a good coping skill. However, if you walk away every single time someone upsets you, then you may find you are never able to deal with the actual conflict. Normally healthy behaviors like eating can become negative coping skills as well. If you find yourself eating more than you need to because it comforts you when you are feeling down, you are ultimately harming your health.

Positive Coping Skills

The great news about coping skills is that they are skills. This means negative ones can be replaced with positive ones. Positive strategies can be learned. It requires effort, but it is something absolutely everyone is capable of learning and improving upon. What are some positive coping skills? Usually, these will have a positive impact on your life. At the very least, they will allow you to cope with the situation without causing any harm. Many times, they bring their benefits as well.

Some Categories

There are different categories of coping skills. They all have situations where they are most effective, so it’s important to learn different skills from each category. Then you can choose the most effective coping skill for any situation. What are some coping categories? They are:

Examples of healthy skills include:

  • Writing
  • Painting
  • Exercising
  • Talking with a friend or loved one
  • Cleaning
  • Doing something kind for someone else

To change the way you currently deal with issues, you must give new strategies consideration. Choose the ones that feel like they would be effective and enjoyable for you. Practice them when you find yourself in stressful situations. Think through situations in which you struggle or often use negative skills. Decide which healthy skills you could use the next time you encounter that situation. It’s also helpful to practice healthy coping skills when you don’t feel that you need them. Get into the habit of doing them, and using them will come more naturally.

Learning at The Ranch PA

Perhaps you are wondering how you can learn more about different healthy coping strategies and how to incorporate them into your life. You may also be wondering about giving up unhealthy coping skills that have become addictions. At The Ranch PA, we can help you let go of negative coping skills and replace them with healthy ones. For help, call us at 717.969.9126. The results are truly life-changing.

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