Thursday, 30 September 2010

when times are tough (3)

I'm handing over to my wife Sue for this blog - which is all about finding your own coping skills.

Our coping skills are great, they're the ones that help us get through difficult times in our life.  There's just one problem with them, we just don't always know what they are! They're a bit like breathing, something we've always done but never thought about.  

For instance, I'm a list maker.  If I'm harassed about things I'll often sit down and put it all on paper. I thought everyone did.  So I was amazed to hear some people find exercise helps!  I mean, that would never help me.  Or some are social animals, joining groups or committees.   Well, they say it takes all sorts.

What sort of coping skills are there?  There are probably thousands out there but I look at six basics. They are: belief, affect, social, cognitive, imagination and physiological.  

Belief: something about those who use their firm commitments to get them by, family values, religion, politics , anything that gives meaning to our lives.

Affect: those who move in and out of different emotional states, they laugh, they cry.  They deal with life as it happens.

Social: those who use the company of others, good committee members, lots of friends, relationships

Cognitive: back to the list makers, the thinkers, the information gatherers .

Imagination: what if?  Daydreaming as a positive skill.

Physiological: activity based, including eating drinking, playing music, as well as more sports etc.

Which of these rings a bell with you?

People sometimes say "I haven't got any coping skills". But as long as you're breathing you're coping! 

We often belittle our strengths, ‘oh, anyone can do what I do’.  But it is our personal coping skills, that somehow we all develop that keep us going, particularly when times are tough. 

And don’t think, ‘oh that’s just the way I am, I’ve always liked swimming’ (or daydreaming or dancing).  As you’re doing what you do, remind yourself that whatever others say, you are using your coping skills to help you get you through.   And they will!

Now excuse me, I have to make a list. 


  1. Sometimes things written seem so clear and easy ,but this cannot always be true. An example your expecting a baby. You read a book which takes you through the process of giving birth. Yet when you give birth its nothing like the book. So what do we learn from this ?. Well life is not a book but a collection of experiences. Its how we deal with these experiences that makes us who we are .
    Experience is a brutal teacher but boy do we learn.! I think C.S.Lewis said this and i beleive it to be true.
    much peace

  2. to expand on this further .When we endure pain we enter a labour .The result of this labour is to give birth to ones
    authentic self..........our true self without the ego.Like the placenta the ego dies leaving us free. To emerge from this is akin to what some term the long dark night of the soul. To say i have had many dark nights would be an understatement !.It does not matter how dark it becomes as the sun will always comes up.
    just my thoughts.
    much peace