Coping. There’s a lot wrapped up in that one word.
- Holding a Scream In
- Punching a Pillow
- Counting to Five
- Talking to a Friend
- Venting on Social Media
- Roaring Your Frustration in an Empty Room (or in a pillow, or with your face in the water)
- Soaking in Nature
- Hanging out with Your Horse
- Petting Your Dog
- Using Essential Oils
- Drinking Tea
- Learning Assertiveness
- Learning Decision Making
- Learning about Your Personality Type
- Video Games
And there’s just so much more that we can use for coping. Some would judge many of those coping mechanisms as bad. But I would suggest they are incident specific.
If kids are fighting and mom has a glass of wine to help her stay calm so she can redirect the behavior instead of screaming at the kids, would you judge her for that?
If someone lost their beloved pet and is crying in public, would you judge them for that?
When someone is coping that means there is something to cope with … some type of stress. And the best way to deal with stress is compassion.
Compassion with yourself and compassion with others.
If that mom is drinking a bottle of wine each day and that’s been going on for months, it’s time to find a way to decrease the stress so the coping doesn’t become harmful.
If that person who lost their pet is crying in public three years later, it’s time to gently encourage them to explore why loss is so triggering so they can build emotional resilience.
Whether coping is good or bad is situational, it all depends on intensity, duration, and frequency of the coping behavior in context with the intensity, duration, and frequency of the stressor(s).
If you have a way of coping that is creating or will be creating harm whether physical, financial, or relational … then consider whether you can exchange that way of coping for another way.
If you’re shopping to escape stress and your bank account is suffering, can you explore a free online game instead? Or can you take an assertiveness class and practice saying ‘no’ to stress thus decreasing the need engage in coping and helping to eliminate the desire to cope by shopping?
If you want to add some positive skills to your coping toolbox, in August I’ll be teaching a free coping class on Decision Making, and I invite you to join in by clicking HERE!