Coping is a necessary part of gaining and maintaining mental and emotional health. Through many stages of life, we all face challenging times and even adversity so it is always good to keep an arsenal of coping tactics in your pocket to get through them.
Oftentimes, problems that come up in life have smaller problems attached to them. By solving these smaller problems, you can gain a better sense of control and resolve the situation in a more efficient and less stressful manner.
Focus on the “Can”
Another way to gain a bigger sense of control over difficult situations and cope more effectively is to focus on the things you can control, rather than putting energy into worrying about the things you cannot change.
Prepare in Advance
It has been said: “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy”. By looking to the future and anticipating situations or problems in advance, you can adequately prepare for something that may otherwise feel overwhelming. Your ability to cope will be much higher, as you approach a problem already armed with the tools to successfully make it through.
Think and Speak Positively
There is great power in the words we choose to use when we think of ourselves, our situations and our abilities. This article recommends staying away from words such as “always” or “never” because using them can lead to a situation seeming hopeless and take away from our ability to succeed. When you find yourself struggling through a situation, choose to use positive words to talk through the problem at hand. This will be good not only for your mental and emotional well being, but has also been shown to have great physiological effects as well.
Build a Healthy Support System
One key to successfully navigating troublesome situations is to have a support system. As you talk with a trusted friend, a close family member, or even a professional counselor, you will find your ability to cope increases each time. It is possible those you choose to trust have experienced similar situations and will be able to provide you with comfort and even advice.
Take Time to Meditate
Whether this means doing yoga, taking time for prayer, or simply just being still and taking deep breaths for a while, meditation does wonderful things for your mental wellbeing. In the calm and peace you find from meditation, coping with the task at hand will be much more manageable.
Limit the Substances
Occasionally, people will turn to less healthy coping mechanisms like medications, cigarettes, alcohol, and even caffeine. While these can help you to feel better for the moment, eventually you will experience a drop off. The return to reality will only add to the stress of your situation. Find healthy things to put into your body, like fruits and vegetables. Exercise regularly. When you feel good physically, you are in a much better position to cope mentally and emotionally.
Teach Your Children to Cope
Just as it is important for us to be able to cope, it is just as important to help children learn how to cope early in life. As children encounter disappointments and difficulties they will be able to face them in a healthy manner. Here are some ways you can influence the children in your life and help them learn good coping skills:
- Encourage them to face their problems head on. Rather than avoiding their problems, they can find solutions for them and learn great skills for problem solving.
- Express confidence in their abilities. This is true in any situation, not just when facing trials. Avoid the tendency to take charge of areas where children can learn for themselves. This will help them develop confidence in themselves.
- Acknowledge that unfairness, cruelty, and sorrow do exist. Eventually every person experiences each of those and it is better to know how to get through them than to be caught off guard with a false sense of reality.
- Listen to them and validate their feelings. There are times when children will want their own opinions and feelings heard. That is completely normal and should be treated with respect. However, tantrums and poor behavior are not acceptable ways for them to communicate these feelings. Help them learn mature and effect modes of communication.
As you encounter problematic situations that inevitably come up in life, healthy coping skills will ensure that you get through these situations and find yourself on the other side happy, stronger and better able to cope with the next trial life brings your way.