Author Topic: 15 Steps to Strengthening Your Coping Skills  (Read 4856 times)

Certain Hope

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15 Steps to Strengthening Your Coping Skills
« on: August 22, 2006, 08:53:54 PM »
Oh, this is great stuff and I'm charting my course by these guidelines! Hope they will help others, too  :)

With love,

15 Steps to Strengthening Your Coping Skills

from the book "When Your Past is Hurting Your Present" by Sue Augustine

Here are some steps you can take to build up resilience, strengthen your coping skills, and make adversity work for you:

1.    Practice failing.  Look for opportunities to put yourself in difficult situations where you might fall flat on your face.  Resiliency develops when we acknowledge our weaknesses and flaws.  If you are in an environment where nothing challenging happens, you won’t have the motivation to learn how to bounce back.

2.    Take small risks.  Don’t allow the fear of failure to keep you from trying something new.  Seek out challenges and look for new ways of doing things.  When you bounce back from the small catastrophes, you’ll be strengthening the coping skills to rebound from the big ones.

3.    Shake off the victim stance.  Give yourself a set amount of time to feel sorry for yourself or grieve a loss, then move on.  When you’re invited to a “poor me” personal pity-party, you can agree to show up, but don’t stay long.  Instead of moaning, “What a loser I am!” or, “Everything happens to me,” tell yourself that just because you have a failure doesn’t mean you are a failure.  Don’t take it personally and refuse to let it define who you are.

4.    Check your explanatory style.  The way you explain problems, hitches, complications, and the world around you affects your adaptability.  Optimists have the ability to attribute difficulties to transitory, nonpermanent conditions rather than to personal inadequacies, enduring weaknesses, or inherent flaws.  They recognize that everything is temporary and nothing is permanent.  To them, it was simply a demanding customer or a computer glitch or a bad-hair day!  Pessimists, on the other hand, think it’s a lasting condition and assume personal responsibility for every failure.  Even when they achieve success, they see it as sheer luck, a fluke, or a coincidence.

5.    Regain your perspective.  You’ll have a better chance at bouncing back if you can step away from the situation and get a view of the bigger picture.  Detach yourself and ask what this will mean to you in five or ten years.  Positive reframing will give you a fresh perspective with which to evaluate what has happened to you and decide whether it is worth losing inner peace over it.

6.    Become flexible.  Do you remember Gumby, the little animated green-clay character?  You may have watched his adventures with Pokey and the gang on television.  Well, the thing about Gumby is that he is so bendable and pliable.  This little guy is as supple as you can get.  He can be stretched all out of shape and then spring right back into form again.  Does that sound like you?  If you don’t have some flexibility or know how to give a little when you’re stretched, you will eventually break in two.  Being rigid causes you to crack when difficulties and hardships strike.

7.    Quit recycling old emotions.  You can easily get caught in the rut of developing one long, drawn-out excuse for why you still have problems years later.  We could all find a reason to be the way we are; none of us has a valid reason to stay that way.

8.    Make the best of the worst.  People who bounce back from past setbacks and move confidently into the future believe that whatever the problem, they’ll make something good come from it.  At a large corporation where I presented one of my workshops, employees Deanna and Shelly were both notified that their company was downsizing.  They knew they would lose their jobs.  Shelley’s first thought was, This is the worst thing that could ever happen to me.  I can’t see myself ever pulling through.  Deanna, although initially devastated, eventually cam to the place where she thought, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to turn my hobby into a business.  Now it looks like I’m going to have the chance!  Decide to first assess the new reality and then look for innovative ways to adapt.

9.    Learn to curb emotions and keep them in check.  Most of us react emotionally to a major crisis, or even a minor setback.  Feelings of anger, sadness, anxiety, or fear are appropriate and normal.  But people who recover from misfortune don’t wallow in those emotions.  In the face of conflict or crisis, resilient people exercise self-control.  They don’t ride out feelings of intense anger and anxiety.  They also don’t lash out and burn bridges – rather, they maintain relationships and keep doors open.  Women who focus too much on their feelings about a situation do not cope well with life’s challenges.

10.    Develop a flexible thinking style.  Being able to recognize the opportunities within a setback takes a special kind of open-mindedness.  All of us have a unique thinking style, our own way of processing the information that shapes and defines our perceptions.  The problem is that our perceptions, especially in the midst of adversity, are often inaccurate.  Whether true or false, our thoughts and perceptions drive our emotions and behaviors.  Practice getting out of your habitual way of thinking and be flexible when you look at problems.

11.    Choose to be positive.  People who consistently make the best out of difficult circumstances tend to be optimistic.  No matter how bad things get, they are usually able to say, “Bad things aren’t going to be bad forever.”  Rigid people tend to believe things will never change.  Survivors imagine possibilities that aren’t anywhere in sight right now.  They can envision a way out of a dead-end job or an abusive relationship.  They tend to believe, “If anyone can do it, why not me?”

12.    Find the humor.  A sense of humor is a wonderful coping device and a main ingredient in resiliency.  It’s been said that she who laughs, lasts!!  Seeing things from a funny standpoint helps you have some emotional distance and view the situation from a new perspective.  Lighten up and have a good laugh at yourself while you’re at it.  (By the way, if you haven’t laughed at yourself lately, somebody else probably has!)  People who can laugh at themselves and their mistakes will never cease to be amused!  You’ll be healthier for it, too.  As the Bible says, A merry heart doeth good like a medicine (Proverbs 17:22 KJV)

13.    Build a strong support network.  Be brave enough to seek help and encouragement from others.  Although I always felt that self-sufficiency went hand in hand with being resilient, it wasn’t until I began reaching out to others for positive support that I gained the strength to recover and the courage to make constructive changes.  Look for family members, friends, other survivors, or a support group where people are trustworthy, available, and willing to rally round you in your darkest hours.  They can pray for you and with you, coach you through your experience, and also be thee to celebrate in your recovery.  An old Irish proverb states, “It is in the shelter of each other that people live.”

14.    Rely on faith, not fate.  Trust in God to bring you through.  Your life is in His hands and is not dependent on fate, chance, or coincidences.  When you believe in fate, you are trusting outside circumstances and external influences.  Instead, believe in “divine intervention” and watch for miracles to happen.  My own personal transformation happened when I first became aware that you and I are not human beings trying to discover our spirituality, but rather we are spiritual beings having a human experience here on earth.  Life’s challenges have a way of bringing us face-to-face with our Creator and the realization that there is a divine plan for our lives:

The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).

15.    Be a giver.  Get involved in a worthy cause.  The Bible says, “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” (1 John 3:18).  See where you can volunteer your time, talents, and energy.  Resiliency comes with finding ways to make a valuable contribution.  The more you get connected to the bigger things in life, beyond yourself, the more pliable you will be.  Being involved with your church, community, or a larger cause helps put your personal problems into perspective.  People who live self-absorbed, “me-centered” lives have greater difficulty finding meaning in their life and don’t weather trauma as well.  As Lucy Lucom said, “If the world seems cold to you, kindle fires to warm it.”

Certain Hope

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Re: 15 Steps to Strengthening Your Coping Skills
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2006, 05:52:20 PM »
Hey Jac

  Thanks  :)  Working 1 and 2 together here... in the past, I was often afraid to try anything new. That's one thing dealing with N pretty much broke me of  :P  but it's alot more pleasant to do some more practice with NoN-N-type challenges!

Saw this today and thought of you... re: # 13... Building a support network

9 Steps to Building a Personal Support Team
From the book "God Will Make a Way: Personal Discovery Guide" by Henry Cloud & John Townsend

The list is here: