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 from 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 you 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 trying to figure out if a tool might be helpful. Take the ones you’d like to try. Come back for more when 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 of the tools you’ve used and thow hey’ve helped you. 🙂
Understand the Narcissistic Abuse Cycle
Learn about the Gray Rock technique
Learn to set boundaries
Learn about dysfunctional family roles
Understand trauma bonds
Learn about codependency and maladaptive coping skills
About the author
As a result of growing up in a dysfunctional home, and with the help of professional therapists and continued personal growth, Diane Metcalf developed strong coping and healing strategies. She happily shares those with those who want to learn and grow in their own recovery journies.
Diane is an experienced advocate, speaker, and writer on narcissism, family dysfunction, and abuse. She draws from her personal childhood experiences, as well as her work in human service fields like domestic violence and partner abuse. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Master of Science in Information Technology.
Her transformational books about healing and moving forward include the highly praised “Lemon Moms” series. This emotionally supportive collection explains narcissistic traits and teaches how to reconcile past hurts to begin self-nurturing, healing, and moving forward.
See what’s new on DianeMetcalf.com
Learn about the Lemon Moms series: Lemon Moms
This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional therapy.