Last week you got into a wall-quaking, glass-shattering fight with your mom. You were feeling pretty bad about yourself – you felt angry, sad, disappointed, hurt, confused, maybe even a little hopeless. Upon being banished to your room, you had all these feelings and nowhere to go with them. You thought to yourself, ‘there has to be a better way’.
You are right, there is. Coping skills are key. They will help you shift gears between fury and productivity.
Before things get rough, do your homework. You know that you will have times when you encounter stress, you might as well be ready for it.
Just like a restaurant menu that lists all the food it offers, make a menu or list that shows all the coping skills that are available to you. Take the opportunity to write out the list earlier when you aren’t in the midst of a crisis and then keep the list handy; or if you would like you can use our list. If you need it a lot, fold it up and keep it in a wallet, purse, or backpack. Otherwise, keep it pinned up on a bulletin board or somewhere easily accessible. Use the list when you feel like you’re about to come out of your skin in a crisis. It’ll help you do something with those emotions!
Write each of your coping skills down on a slip of paper and then throw them all in a hat (or a jar, a box, etc.) When you’re feeling bad, you reach in, grab a coping skill, and rely on destiny. This can help when you’re really overwhelmed and your usual list starts to blur while you’re reading it!
Take the time to match a coping skill to the feeling where you think it will be most helpful to you. Keep in mind, there are no wrong answers. You may use a coping skill more than once. This is your list, you are customizing it just for you. When you have your page complete, put it somewhere special and pull it out whenever you need it.