Coping made easy

A Guide for Coping

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How is coping like Poker?

  1. It’s a crapshoot – we never know when or how a strategy will work so its important to have many coping strategies to fall back on
  2. No matter how well a strategy worked once, it may never work again or not when we need it most, so its important to have many to fall back on
  3. We need to have a backup plan, depending on one strategy can cause us to lose
  4. Winning requires an investment – it takes time and energy to build a tool box of coping strategies but without the initial investment we’re not in the game
  5. We need to keep our eye on the game – without close awareness of our stress level, need for coping, and coping effectiveness, its impossible to win
  6. When we win, we win BIG! Nothing creates more happiness than a toolbox full of well used coping strategies

Let’s COPE!


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Practice Coping When Feeling Good

We think the time we need coping is when the going is rough and that’s true, but the best time to develop good coping habits is when we feel good. When things are crazy, busy, or difficult, it can be hard to remember to cope or to know what to do to cope. When we are overwhelmed, there is not much space to think about coping. On the other hand, when we feel good, it is easier to cope. If we cope when we feel good, trying new things and building a collection of tools to choose from, our coping will become automatic over time. Then when the going gets rough we won’t have to worry about coping, it will come naturally. What coping can you practice today in preparation for the rough days? If it is a rough day, think of somethings simple you can do to cope like having a quiet cup of tea or calling a friend. If its a good day, try something new to cope that you can add to your toolbox.

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Get More Bang for the Buck With Coping

We all cope as a natural way of adjusting to life. The only problem is that some of the coping does not work so well. When we smoke cigarettes, for instance, or eat something for comfort, we are attempting to cope but also potentially harming ourselves. We can maximize our coping and get the most benefit from it by becoming aware of our attempts to cope and monitoring how well they work. As we monitor, it is important to notice long and short term pros and cons of our attempts to cope. If the cons outweigh the pros, we need a new way to cope. Our goal is the most bang for the buck with our coping and that means minimizing the cons. Watch how you cope today, looking for ways to get more bang for the buck with your coping.

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Never Give Up On Coping

With coping its important never to give up. We tend to have our tried and true day-to-day coping we do automatically and when that doesn’t work, we can be at a loss. I know this happened to me living in NYC and working with survivors and family member on September 11th. I had to really work at coping to keep myself going and available to those I was helping. When our normal coping is not enough, there is much more we can try if we work at it and don’t give up. What can you do to cope when it seems nothing is working? If you’re not sure, ask some friends and collect a long list of things to turn to if you need to.