Who doesn’t experience problems and life’s challenges? It may be losing a job, the death of a loved one, an accident, chronic disease, or going through hard financial situations. These experiences make us wiser and stronger if we get through them. No matter how painful or distressing we go through in life, we value the experience for our personal growth. But how do you exactly cope with life’s challenges? 

Do you use healthy coping strategies? How can you exactly live life to the fullest with the coping methods you know? Anyone can learn and benefit from practicing healthy coping mechanisms, and if you’re not so sure how, you can start by reading this post. 

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Coping Skills

Healthy coping skills are positive and productive ways to react to life’s stressful situations. Take note of the words positive and productive ways. You should be aware that coping mechanisms can be healthy or unhealthy. 

For example, you just recently lost a loved one. How do you cope with that? An example of healthy coping for this situation is by joining support groups. An unhealthy coping is submerging oneself in drugs or alcohol. See the difference? Which path do you want to take?

Why Is Learning Healthy Coping Skills Important?

Learning healthy coping skills is important because it teaches us how to deal with difficult situations and helps us become more resilient. So whatever problem comes our way in the future, we have the strength and will-power to keep moving forward. 

Unlike if you use unhealthy coping skills, which may delay the process of moving on, put a strain on our relationships, may lead to depression, or may lead to substance use. As we try to learn the right way to cope, we must discern how to differentiate healthy and unhealthy coping strategies. 

What Are the Types of Coping Strategies?

There are different coping skills, and all of them do not guarantee the same results. Remember that a coping mechanism that might work for you may not work for others. Or a coping strategy may work with a certain situation but may not work for some. 

You should know that there are different coping strategies to see what works best for you. There are four types of coping skills: Emotion-focused skills, Problem-focused skills, Unhealthy coping skills, and Proactive coping skills

Emotion-Focused Skills

Emotion-focused are coping skills where you need to take care of your emotional well-being. You can’t control what’s happening around you, and at this point, all you can do is watch out for your emotional and mental health. 

For example, you are in pain because you had a death in the family. The fact cannot be changed, it can cause you to stress, but all you can do is to deal with the situation with healthy emotional coping methods. If it makes you feel better, read a book, meditate, pray, or exercise. 

Problem-Focused Skills

Problem-solving coping skills focus on what you can change or do to solve the problem. For example, you have a colleague that causes you so much stress at work. Is there something you can do? Yes. You can suggest conflict resolution at work, brainstorm solutions with your other colleagues, talk to your boss or talk to Human Resources. If there are ways to solve your problems, do so. If there are solutions to deal with a problem, do so. Don’t just sit there and feel miserable every time. 

Unhealthy Coping Skills

We find temporary comfort in engaging ourselves in unhealthy coping skills. We find solstice in unhealthy coping skills because it numbs our pain. But at the end of the day, does it really resolve our problems? Does it take away the stress? Examples of unhealthy coping skills are substance abuse, overeating, sleeping too much, or avoiding confronting our problems. 

Just come to think of it, many people go to the bar to drink away their problems. The next day you wake up with a terrible hangover, then what happens? You slept, and you wake up with the same burden on your shoulders. Unhealthy coping skills don’t only delay the healing process, they can also introduce you to worse problems down the road. It may lead to depression, anxiety attacks, substance abuse, and increased stress levels. 

Proactive Coping Skills

Being proactive means being ready for what may happen in the future. For example, your child is taking the GED test a few months from now. You foresee that this can be a cause for stress for you and your kid, and this may cause nights of anxiety. What do you do? Take time to prepare or establish a studying schedule for your kid. In this way, when the test comes near, you won’t panic and get all stressed out because you know you have prepared your child for this.  

Learn These Healthy Coping Skills

Now that you’re aware of the different types of coping strategies, you now have a clearer understanding of how healthy coping works. To summarize it all, here are some healthy coping strategies you can learn. 

  • Try a new hobby: Try activities like painting, drawing, writing, learning a musical instrument, gardening, or learn a productive skill. 
  • Lead a healthy lifestyle: Try diversions like exercise and outdoor sports. Eat healthily, sleep 8 hours a day, avoid junk foods or avoid binge-eating. 
  • Take time to relax: Go on a vacation, take time off from work, pray, meditate, spend time with your family, play a game with the kids, learn about the basics of self-care, and feel good about yourself always. 
  • Have a positive outlook in life: Be optimistic, be resilient, avoid negative feelings, avoid negative emotions, avoid stress, listen to happy songs, start your day with a positive affirmation, be thankful for your life’s other blessings, or spend time with positive people. 
  • Talk with the right people: Talk to family members or someone you trust. Talk to a therapist to give you insights into healthy coping strategies. 

Live Life to the Fullest

Each person copes differently, and the process is sort of a trial and error method. Even at first that it doesn’t make sense to you; just give it a try. As you try different coping mechanisms, list down on your journal what works best for you. As challenging situations come into our lives, our coping mechanism improves as long as we practice healthy coping skills. 

Along with the healthy coping strategies mentioned above, explore more healthy coping strategies with a certified therapist of Kentucky Counseling Center. Talk to one of our accredited therapists now and learn how to live your life to the fullest. 

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