Have you ever felt the need to feel better when you felt angry, sad, or anxious? Maybe that candy bar helped you with a distressful feeling, or maybe you went for a run, or binged watched your favorite TV show.
If any of this sounds familiar, you implemented a coping skill to soothe a negative emotional response.
What are coping skills anyway?
They are the methods we use to deal with stressful situations or emotions. There are healthy (adaptive ) ways to cope with stress and negative emotions, and unhealthy ways (maladaptive) to cope with stress and negative emotions,
We all use coping skills. Every day.
Generally speaking, adaptive coping skills do not cause you more stress, and help you feel better. Adaptive coping may also help you to build stress reducing habits when you associate a negative emotion with a productive activity.
Those maladaptive coping skills. Different story. Avoid anything that causes you to have more stress or regret, or numbs your ability to think and make decisions.
Remember everything in moderation. That chocolate bar? Have just one. Binge watching? Don’t miss work.
A coping skill is temporary relief from a stressful situation. Adaptive coping skills help clear your mind so that you can refocus. Maladaptive coping skill may make the situation worse.
Most importantly, take a look at what is causing the distress by exploring how the situation affects you and what you can do about it.
You have control over the choices you make.