3 Reasons Why You Need Coping Skills

I’ll get right to it.

1. Coping skills will help you adapt and adjust to the uncertainties of life.

Let’s face it: we’re often not in control of what happens in our lives. Arguably, we are never in control. Three axioms from the erudite to the profane make that point:

If you’re a person who needs to be in control at all times, good luck. Control is God’s domain. Remember that.

A few years ago,  I went to a weekend seminar called “Redefining Health.” The most valuable point from that weekend is that you can decide to be upset, or not.  Emotions can range from rage to despair to euphoria. A state of “upset” encompasses a broad swath of the negative emotions.  There are times when something is undeniably upsetting, and then there are times when you let yourself get upset. How long you wallow in “upset” is on you.

Coping skills help you regroup and be resilient.

Drowning in despair

Wallowing in despair

2. Not being able to cope is downright unhealthy.  

Over the long term, failure to cope could lead to:

  • chronic stress
  • chronic inflammation
  • a compromised immune system
  • chronic disease
  • destructive behavior
  • prescription medications
  • self-medication
  • poor self-esteem

Years ago, I broke up with a fella I loved dearly. Nice guy, but not the right guy and the relationship needed to end. I was distraught and inconsolable, and couldn’t stop crying. I decided to try therapy. After one session, the psychiatrist prescribed an antidepressant. After taking pills for two days, I felt numb — emotionally, and even physically in my right arm — and didn’t really care about anything, including myself.

Ever practical, I thought about it and decided I didn’t like how the pills made me feel.  I needed my edge back. I had simply wanted to talk to the psychiatrist; but, she wanted to fix my pain with pills. I didn’t want or need to be medicated.  My distress was only about a breakup after all.  To get over it, I embraced this four-letter word:

“NEXT!”

3. Without coping skills, you risk social isolation. 

Do you really want to be the person who seems to always have the Dark Cloud over their head? Do you know the type? This person is negative, a complainer, perceives conspiracies everywhere, and has built a wall based on distrust. You can only take but so much of the person under the Dark Cloud before you start evasive maneuvers.

Here’s an example based on another common misery:  a job. I had two particular friends, whom I hung out and talked with on a daily basis. At first, we were all complaining about our jobs. One by one, they found new jobs and were re-energized. I hadn’t tried to change my circumstances like they did. Instead, I continued to bring my misery-fest into our interactions. Eventually, they stopped calling and returning my calls. I had been dumped. My feelings were hurt, but some time later, I had to admit:  I would’ve dumped me, too.

Sometimes you find yourself under the Dark Cloud, but some people live there for real. They let the Dark Cloud envelope them like a cocoon.  That is the point at which a person becomes a “social repellent.” You do not want to be that person.

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Stay tuned for a future post on coping tips!

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