What are Coping Skills in Recovery?
Coping Skills in Recovery are methods that individuals use to deal with stressful situations and sensations. Everyone, including animals have coping skills. People’s coping skills consist of the thoughts and actions that one uses to deal with distress or threats. Coping Skills in Recovery are both learned and innate and can be healthy or unhealthy. For example, children learns a lot by observing the people around them. A parent may model drinking alcohol as a coping skill which is something the child may adopt later on in life. This is why it is important that we learn healthy coping skills, like talking about your feelings, and model those skills for children. Innate coping skills consist of the ways we naturally respond to stress subconsciously. This can include ways our body physically responds to stress like releasing certain hormones so that we can react appropriately or blocking certain memories out due to trauma. Most people have various types of coping strategies which are used for different situations.
Types of coping skills:
There are two types of coping strategies: Problem-focused strategies and emotion-focused strategies. Problem-focused coping deals with stress in practical ways by aiming to remove the stressor through problem solving. An example would include talking to HR if you are experiencing an issue at work. Emotion-focused coping aims to reduce the negative emotions associated with stress. This type of coping is great when an individual has very little control over a situation. Examples include meditation and practicing mindfulness. Both types of coping strategies are important and beneficial when done in healthy ways and simultaneously. Problem-focused and emotion-focused coping can occur in unhealthy ways such as drinking too much caffeine if you are tired or using alcohol and drugs to cope with negative emotions. Substance abuse happens to be one of the most notorious unhealthy coping strategies. Unhealthy coping strategies can lead to health problems and can worsen the stressor or issue. Although it may take some time to create healthier habits, it is never too late to adopt more healthy coping skills.
How to gain healthier coping skills:
It can be hard to gain healthier coping skills if an individual is unware of their own healthy coping strategies to begin with. The first step in gaining new coping skills is identifying the already existing ones. Next, one can assess how effective those strategies are and if they actually work in the long run. Individuals can stop and think before they react to their stressor. Often times the ways in which we cope are reactive and instinctual. For example, some people will overeat or reach for comfort food to cope with stress without even thinking. It may be a good idea to list personal stressors and then list the ways in which you cope. From there, you can assess which coping strategies are healthy or unhealthy. Individuals can find healthy coping skills by researching on the internet, talking with a mental health professional or loved ones.
Healthy coping skills: