oping strategies and skills are the reactions and behaviors one adopts to deal with difficult situations. Coping strategies come in many forms. Some are helpful and others are hurtful.
Humans tend to learn coping strategies from those they come into contact with while growing up. When a person learns and develops habits of negative coping skills, stress become catastrophes and confidence in one's ability to cope is diminished.
Use this list of positive coping skills to identify new strategies to explore to become more resilient in the face of challenges. Then look at the list of negative coping strategies to look for items to replace with more positive coping skills.
Social or interpersonal coping strategies
involve interactions with others. Scientific studies have proven the benefits of social support to counteract the effects of stress on DNA. Social supports can be useful for recognizing warning signs and providing assistance in difficult times.
Cognitive coping skills
are those that involve using the mind and thought processes to influence the way one feels and behaves. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of treatment that helps people find ways of thinking that improve their mental responses to situations.
Learning to think in more rational ways can be done by recognizing and changing irrational thoughts. Ultimately, a person can become much more stress tolerant and ultimately improve behavioral outcomes.
Tension releasing or cathartic coping strategies
involve acting on strong emotions in ways that are safe for oneself and others. Punching a pillow could be a way to release tensions in a safe way.
Be careful with cathartic responses because these tend to become habit forming and may translate to real life scenarios, so the child who practices punching a pillow may envision a person's face and end up actually punching that person's face when angry.
Physical process are directly tied to mental and emotional processes. A person's breathing rate can illicit a response from the sympathetic nervous system. Raising your voice can send signals to your brain that you are angry. In the same way, acting calmly in the face of difficulty can help send signals to your brain that everything is o.k.
is another thing that can help by producing endorphins, which are naturally occurring drugs that can create a calm or euphoric feeling.
Praying, meditating, enjoying nature, or taking up a worthy cause
These can affect a person on a spiritual level. Satisfying the need to feel worthwhile, connected, and at peace improve well-being at the core of a person. Spiritual well-being then exudes out of a person in attitudes and actions that are self-actualized. According to Maslow's hierarchy of needs, we all need to feel a sense of purpose, but not everyone reaches that level.
is a preventative measure to protect against overwhelming stress created by doing too much of something. Limits can be set for one's self or others. An example of setting a limit with others is learning to say "no" when you know you are too busy to help someone. Setting a limit for yourself could include dropping involvement in work activities that are not a good fit for your skills and focusing on those that you are efficient doing, which may mean having to be assertive with your boss about how you can help the most.
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