~ ~ Coping Skills

Build Coping Skills that Stand the Test of Time

It is important to build coping skills that are healthy, effective, and stand the test of time. Here's how to know if your stress coping skills stand the test of time.

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Healthy coping strategies have the following characteristics:

- Good coping mechanisms help to decrease the stress response; perhaps not completely or immediately, but they help you to become less stressed than you were before using them.

- A healthy method of coping with stress may allow you to have a break from the stress, but it does not prevent you from dealing with the stressful situation.


- Stress coping skills that stand the test of time do not create stress for yourself or others when you use them.

- Healthy ways of coping with stress or anxiety do not cause you physical or mental harm or put you or others in danger.

- The long-term effects of positive coping behaviors are desirable (or in the very least, the cumulative effects are not negative!).

- Healthy coping skills do not use more resources (time, financial, relational, physical, mental, environmental, or other) than you can afford.


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Note that these criteria do not measure whether or not a behavior is healthy or unhealthy. These questions determine if a behavior is healthy as a coping strategy.

Behaviors can be harmless when used for entertainment, hobbies, pastimes, etc, but unhealthy when used for the purpose of coping with stress. The criteria above aim to determine which coping strategies are healthy, and which ones have the potential to be unhealthy.

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In summary, healthy coping skills are:

1) effective,

2) do not prevent dealing with stressful situations,

3) do not create stress for you or others,

4) do not put you or others at risk,

5) have positive long-term effects, and

6) do not use more resources than you can afford.


Some Examples of Coping Skills: Measuring their Effectiveness

When you build coping skills, make sure they are healthy and effective. Let's consider a few coping strategies to determine if the different activities stand the test of time as healthy methods of coping.

First, consider exercise. Does it meet these criteria?

1) Effective?

Exercise can be quite effective. Different types of exercise will be helpful for different individuals, but physical activity certainly has the potential to relieve stress.

2) Does not prevent dealing with stressful situations?

It is possible to exercise and then come back and deal with the stressor.

3) Does not create stress for you or others?

When used in moderation, probably not.

4) Does not put you or others at risk?

There is risk of injury, but one can keep in mind possible risks to minimize them.

5) Has positive long-term effects?

Exercise has positive long-term health benefits.

6) Does not use more resources than you can afford?

Some kinds of exercise can be costly, but others are free. Exercise can be time consuming, but not necessarily.

Conclusion:

Overall, it looks like exercise is a healthy way of coping with stress if used in as safe a manner as possible and if resource demands such as time and financial cost are managed. You can confidently build coping skills that incorporate healthy exercise in moderation.

What about using alcohol?

1) Effective?

Alcohol can be an effective immediate stress reliever.

2) Does not prevent dealing with stressful situations?

Using alcohol might serve as a distraction from managing stressors directly.

3) Does not create stress for you or others?

In moderation, probably not. If consumed in large amounts, using alcohol can create stress for self or others.

4) Does not put you or others at risk?

In moderation, risk is usually low (as long as impaired driving is not involved), but in excess alcohol has health risks.

5) Has positive long-term effects?

Long-term effects of using alcohol can be unhealthy.

6) Does not use more resources than you can afford?

In moderation, alcohol may not require many resources. Large quantities of alcohol are resource intensive in terms of financial cost, time, relationships, and physically.

Conclusion:

Alcohol does not meet all these criteria, indicating that it can be a negative coping strategy, especially if used in excess. To build coping skills that involve alcohol may not be effective long-term.

These criteria are not a measure of whether alcohol use, or any other behavior, is positive or negative. These criteria measure only if a behavior is healthy as a coping strategy.

If you have concerns about the coping strategies you have been using, please contact your doctor or other health professional. You are also welcome to contact Inner Health Studio for support.

If you would like support in coping with addictions, speak with your doctor or other health professional. See the links at the bottom of the page for further information.

Consider for yourself the coping mechanisms you use or would like to develop. If you are wondering if a method of coping with stress is healthy or unhealthy, consider the points for measuring their effectiveness.

Summary: Build Coping Skills

To build coping skills, consider the criteria for healthy coping. Again, healthy coping skills are:

1) effective,

2) do not prevent dealing with stressful situations,

3) do not create stress for you or others,

4) do not put you or others at risk,

5) have positive long-term effects, and

6) do not use more resources than you can afford

If your answer to any of these questions is no, the coping strategy you are considering might not be healthy.

Remember, any coping strategy can become unhealthy, even if at one time it met all the above criteria. It is important to have many strategies for coping with stress, not just one or two.

Relaxation: A Method of Coping with Stress that Stands the Test of Time

Relaxation is a healthy way of coping with anxiety and stress that meets all of the criteria listed above.

Using relaxation strategies to cope with stress is beneficial physically and mentally. For more information about stress, anxiety, and easy relaxation techniques, visit these pages:

Stress

Anxiety

Relaxation

For information about addiction professionals and Panama's Premiere Drug and Alcohol Rehab, visit:

www.thelastresortpa.com

~ ~ Coping Skills

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