Coping skills: Finding ways to survive
By Duane Hewitt
Coping is crucial to us all. Whether we deal with an angry and difficult boss, have financial problems, are going through a crisis on account of Covid-19, or are facing life challenges like cancer or the death of a loved one, we need to find ways to cope. Some of the following may help.
Perspective: One thing that many of us find falling to the wayside when under intense stress is our perspective of a given situation. Once we become aggravated or overwhelmed by a state of affairs, that situation often tends to become a monstrosity in our minds. Thus, a lack of perspective ensues. In such a case, finding someone to talk to who is a good listener and perhaps a good confidant might just allow us to find a new perspective to the given problem. This might involve speaking to a professional such as a doctor, lawyer, financial adviser, and so on. And this is also where getting second opinions can become important. Such second viewpoints can often alleviate some of the stress of the difficulty and permit an improved outlook.
Analyze – both from your own emotional viewpoint as well as from the intellectual “logical” viewpoint. We must have a sensible examination of the situation. Though we might permit ourselves awareness with heightened emotions, we must pull back and view the situation like a spectator. Be intellectually analytical. What exactly is causing you stress? Can it be managed with the available tools or do you need new resources? Are you over-emphasizing your place in the problem? What realistically can be done? And so on.
Heightened and sustained stresses typically lead to anger, frustration, fear, anxiety, and other emotions that inhibit balanced productive thought. The effect on our sleep and our health therefore warrants its own kind of decisive action to cope. And various methods are available to us, such as:
- Learn in detail about your situation and how others dealt with something similar. Remember: Knowledge is power;
- Find new tools and resources to help your troubling situation. It might take some effort, but help is available to you;
- Get Physical: Physical activities can help release those pent-up emotions and redirect our thinking;
- Do something creative: Art, music, writing, painting, gardening, singing… it can all bring a breath of fresh new air to your being;
- Do something positive to better your situation: Try to make a positive change in some component of your circumstances;
- Help someone in need: Redirecting our thoughts to help another or for a good cause can alleviate many worrisome emotions;
- Find a meditative practice that you like, such as yoga, gardening, or playing music, or prayer. Such activities calm and replenish both mind and body.
Ultimately, the best kind of coping is finding a positive workable solution to the problem. Additionally, we may find that we need to adapt new viewpoints, new thinking, and new strategies to the situation With whatever tools, methods, and skillsets you have available to you, do your best to work it through, aiming for a win/win scenario or, at least, something that can moderate the problem to your best benefit.
Copyright 2021 Duane Hewitt. All rights reserved.