By: Bethany Vega
In today’s society people are faced with a variety of stressors, including finances, jobs, and school. According to stress.org 44% of Americans state they feel more stressed now than 5 years ago. When stress begins each person finds their own way of coping, but how can we distinguish between a healthy coping skill versus something that just makes us feel good? It is important to be able to identify healthy skills which can be as easy as a few deep breaths.
It might seem rather juvenile to be explaining these coping skills but we seem to forget them. In our communities we would rather turn to something that gives us instant gratification such as alcohol or drugs. The dangers of coping in unhealthy ways can add up quickly. Using drugs and/or alcohol to cope is simply pushing down the problem rather than actually dealing with it.
What is great about coping skills is that there are so many to choose from. Healthy coping skills come in all different forms. When you are feeling stressed at work take a few deep breaths and count to ten, or take a couple long sips of cold water. Some other skills that are more involved are going for a walk, exercising, or even talking to someone. The next time you are faced with a stressor see what healthy coping skill you use.
Learning healthy coping skills from a young age is important to stress management as an adult. Southwest Council offers programs in schools that help students understand healthy ways to cope. In our Life Skills Training program, we have the students help us compile a list of healthy and unhealthy ways to cope. They are so creative in finding healthy ways to cope and often learn new ones. At home, families can sit down together to discuss stressors and identify how to cope together. If you, or someone you know, is in need of learning healthy coping skills please reach out to the Southwest Council, Inc. at (800) 856-9609.