Recently, I spent some time reflecting on some of the terms that are often used when it comes to mental and emotional health. Have the terms “coping skill,” or “coping technique” become so widely thrown around that they have lost meaning? How are they used in conversation? Do we truly know what they mean?
Simply put, a coping skill or coping technique is the action or actions we take when we are trying to deal with a particular issue or emotion. These issues or emotions can include but are not limited to stress, grief, depression, anxiety, anger, PTSD, sadness, and worry. Coping techniques can have positive and negative outcomes, depending on what you are using. For instance, let’s say you are feeling depressed and you choose to go for a walk.
1. This gets you outside, and on a good weather day into some sunshine. Some studies show that Vitamin D can help regulate mood & reduce depression (1).
2. Walking can release endorphins that can improve mood.
3. It can improve blood pressure and reduce stress.
4. Moving your body and getting exercise can benefit not only your emotional well-being, but your physical health as well.
Going for a walk is a healthy coping skill that can have positive outcomes. When you are feeling depressed you may not feel like doing anything, and sometimes everything can feel like a chore, but going for a walk even when you don’t feel like it may help.
What if you change your coping skill to drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication? Does it make you feel good initially? Maybe, but here’s a question: if alcohol is used as a coping technique, and you do this over and over to address the issue of depression, does it solve it or make it worse? Alcohol is a depressant. Is this a positive or negative coping technique?
What happens when we replace negative or unhealthy coping skills with healthy ones?
It can be challenging to change your initial thought pattern or “go to” when dealing with feelings and issues that arise, but it is not impossible. In the long run, it can provide many benefits to your overall health and well-being. Replacing drinking with a positive skill may reduce depression and stress over time. If you struggle with negative thought patterns, psychotherapy (therapy) with the use of cognitive behavioral therapy can help you restructure those thoughts.
At Inspired Practice we understand this can be challenging, and we want to walk alongside you on this journey. Reach out today for additional information.
As part of my role as Operations Manager for Inspired Practice, I will be publishing blogs. Because of this, you can also find this blog at www.inspiredpractice.com