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Coping skills: The use of purposeful strategies to manage discomfort and stress.

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Life requires a toolbox of coping skills.

Small and easy fixes may require one tool, whereas large and complicated fixes often require a set of different tools. This too, is true of coping strategies for life experiences accompanied by discomfort and stress. These life experiences can be viewed as more negative in nature (for example, losing a job, experiencing a break-up, and failing at something important) or more positive in nature (for example, buying a home, entering a marriage, and having a baby). Yet, even those that are more positive in nature aren’t without difficulties!

Little boy wearing a white t-shirt, surrounded by toy tools that signify coping skills

There are two primary types of coping skills:

  • Problem-focused: This style of coping is focused on solutions aimed at eliminating or navigating discomfort/stress.
  • Emotion-focused: This style of coping is focused on regulating emotional reactions related to discomfort/stress.

Man sitting on a yoga ball in front of a desk typing on a computer in order to cope with work

Both problem-focused and emotion-focused coping strategies can be used together to address present moments of discomfort/stress, as well as those that are predicted to occur in the future. By broadening and strengthening your coping skills, you may be better able to be proactive.

Are you using the right tool for the job?

Coping strategies fall on a continuum of effectiveness, with the two extremes being healthy (and effective) and unhealthy (and ineffective).

Examples are below:

Examples of Healthy/Effective Coping Skills:
  • Using social support
  • Relaxation
  • Problem-solving
  • Humor
  • Positive self-talk
  • Physical activity
  • Creative activities
  • Seeking professional help

Examples of Unhealthy/Ineffective Coping Skills:
  • Avoiding difficult conversations
  • Alcohol or drug use
  • Avoidance
  • Procrastination
  • Sleeping or eating too much or too little
  • Risk taking behaviors
  • Aggression
  • Self-harm

It may be time to open up and expand your toolbox.

Counseling and therapy at Wellness Grove…

Our clinicians are here to support you in finding coping skills that work for you. And, we are also here to help you use them. Consider us master builders with a passion for sharing our love of creating healthy, meaningful lives.

Our in-person (outpatient) counseling services are offered in Canton OH (near Akron, North Canton, and Massillon). We also offer telemental health sessions to all Ohio residents.

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