We all have emotional “needs” and everyone’s emotional needs are unique to them. These needs change on a daily basis, depending on our physical state, thoughts, and experiences. Because of this, each of us would benefit from owning a ready-made set of coping skills to help us deal with life’s emotional ups and downs. Having such a skill-set would allow us to effectively and efficiently deal with the daily emotional, physical and spiritual challenges, (as well as the emotionally provoking encounters) that we all face.
Some of us learned our current coping skills when we were children, acquiring them from our parents, friends, relatives, and teachers. Some of us learned only a few or not enough of these coping mechanisms to equip us properly in adulthood. Sometimes we’ve even learned negative coping skills that do us more harm than good, such as using drugs, “stuffing” down our feelings, being physically aggressive or saying words that belittle or humiliate.
Healthy coping mechanisms help us make sense of confusing or threatening life experiences. They help us to respond appropriately in healthy ways. You’ve heard the saying “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade”? Well, that’s a coping skill: taking something negative and turning it into a positive. But in reality, nothing actually changes except how we view and handle the incident. In other words, life has still given us lemons. Instead of getting angry or depressed, feeling slighted or misunderstood, or letting it ruin our day, we can choose to look at it another way. We can see it as an opportunity to re-frame what happened and experience it in a way that feels better. We make lemonade.
Our coping skillset needs to adjust and adapt throughout the day, every day. That’s why we continually learn and rely on new ways of coping!
This toolbox blog will teach how to take potentially hurtful life experiences and view them in a healthier, more positive perspective. Without healthy coping skills, our perception of the world could become quite negative, and cause us to misinterpret accidents and intentions. We could easily become those people who see the drinking-glass as “half-empty” rather than “half-full”. That doesn’t sound like an enjoyable way to live, and I’m all for choosing “half-full.”
The great thing about coping skills is that anyone can learn new ones. It’s never too late! New coping techniques can be learned and improved at any age. In this blog, I’ll refer to coping skills as our “emotional toolbox”. I like that analogy because I like the idea of having equipment or “gear” on board that I can pull out and use any time I need to.
We’ll use our toolboxes every day, all day long. When things get difficult or go wrong, we’ll have tools for handling whatever it is. Having a toolbox will help us handle difficult people, crises, toxic situations, unexpected events, personal and interpersonal problems, conflict and other life stressors.
Every article in this blog contains a tool or a set of tools. The tools are listed at the end of each post and you can add them to your own personal toolbox. Practice using them whenever life gives the opportunity!
Every tool is not for everybody. You don’t have to try every tool and you probably shouldn’t. Just go with your intuition when you’re trying to figure out if a tool might be helpful to you or not. Take the ones you’d like to try. Come back for more if you need to.
This is a safe space for learning, growing and helping each other. Please feel free to leave kind and constructive comments or feedback. Share some tools too if you’ve used them and they’ve helped you. 🙂
Here’s to all of our continued emotional growth and prosperity!
-Diane, The Toxic Undo