There are many ways that we each learn to respond or react to different situations, usually from a young age, so that our “coping strategy” becomes so automatic that it becomes unconscious to us. It can be like a “blind spot” like we have when we drive, you don’t know what you are not seeing.
Every coping strategy that people use, has times that it is helpful and times that it is unhelpful.
- “avoiding a situation” may be helpful where the risk seems too great, but be unhelpful if you would like to learn a new skill;
- “seeking immediate gratification” may be helpful if you drink as much water as you need to, because your body needs rehydrating, but not so good if you spend too much money and can’t meet your financial commitments.
- “sticking to your guns” (drawing lines or boundaries are limits) can be very helpful if someone is actually treating you badly, but only make you feel angry and frustrated if you insist other people must always follow the rules you have created
Identifying which coping strategies you use in which situations, and working out whether they are helpful or unhelpful in that particular situation can directly improve your happiness :).
Though sometimes, we don’t know what we don’t know, and can benefit from help to develop our awareness of such things, and/ or to generate new coping strategies (when the old familiar ones are not working for us).
How to develop more helpful coping strategies:
You may like to keep a journal where you describe, a specific situation, what self talk you had, your feelings (emotions and physical) that linked to those thoughts, and what coping strategy you used in the situation. And then evaluate were they helpful thoughts (self talk), and/ or helpful coping strategies? And brainstorming for new helpful thoughts and new helpful coping strategies. Notice how your emotions and physical sensations change with the change in your perspective.
You may like to:
- learn and/ or practise mindful meditation as a means of slowing down enough for self reflection as well as calming the thoughts.
- experience focussing strategies like hypnosis, which help you to explore which coping strategies you have used, and which would be helpful in the future.
If so, you are always welcome at one of the groups or workshops the Revive team offers, focusing on teaching exactly these types of skills.
To let us know that you are interested in meditation, hypnosis, yoga or any of our other group sessions, make sure you subscribe to our regular newsletter and get in touch to learn about what we currently have on offer.