What do you do when something happens in your life? Do you deal with the problem head on or do you avoid thinking about it. If you don’t know if you have an active or avoidant coping style you can take the quiz here.
Active or Avoidant?
Active coping skills involve doing something about the problem in your life. This coping style involves actively looking for a solution or a way to relieve the stress of the situation. Active coping styles include venting, self-talk, exercise, finding a solution, therapy, exercise, sleeping, journaling, and other activities that help to release negative emotions.
Avoidant coping skills involve finding ways to avoid or ignore the problem. Any coping style can become avoidant if you are not trying to fix the problem. For example, sleep helps as an option to cool down and find a solution later. However, if all you do is sleep and never fix the problem it becomes an avoidant or bad coping skill.
Avoidant coping styles include numbing, avoiding, distracting, drugs, addictions, refusing to change, etc. This coping style tends to be toxic and stems from victim mentality, and struggles dealing with shame, guilt, low self-esteem, etc.
Related Article: 6 Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms That Are Toxic!
The main question to figure out where you fall on this spectrum is how you answer these problems during an emotional episode: Are you trying to fix the problem? Or, are you just wanting to ignore the problem?
“Active coping skills are solution oriented. Avoidant coping skills are used to ignore the pain of the situation.“
Self-talk is a good coping skill where you speak to yourself. This can be negative or positive. You can tell yourself things that motivate yourself. Or, you can tell yourself things that breaks you down.
Examples of Positive Self-talk:
1. I am smart. I failed because I didn’t study as hard as I could.
2. I am not the weight I want to be, but I’m beautiful!
3. I’m not a bad person for feeling jealous. I need healing, but It’s normal for humans to experience negative emotions.
Examples of Negative Self-talk:
1. I knew I’d fail the test. I’m dumb.
2. I’ll never loose weight and I’ll always be ugly.
3. I’m a bad person and God will punish me because I’m jealous.
“Affirmations are great for training your brain to have positive self-talk!“
Related Article: 59+ Powerful Positive Affirmations For Anxiety!
2. Reframing the Situation!
Reframing is a coping skill where you make light of a problem so it isn’t as hard to deal with. This skill can be negativity or positivity used. You can shift the problem to humor so it doesn’t hurt as much. Or, you can change who started the problem to remove guilt or shame.
Examples of (active) positive reframing:
1. My car broke down in the 93 degree Florida sun. Thank goodness it rains out of nowhere in Florida because I was able to take a shower! Showers always calms me down, lol!
2. I’m not married so I’ll take this time to grow and work on all my projects!
3. Jen didn’t pick up so she must be doing something.
Examples of (avoidant) negative reframing:
1. If Susie didn’t drive my car so fast yesterday it wouldn’t have broken down. And, I wouldn’t have gotten caught in the rain if everyone on the road wasn’t driving so slow!
2. I’m not married because all men are jerks and no good.
3. Jen didn’t pick up because she is ignoring me.
If you don’t know if you have an active or avoidant coping style you can take the quiz here.
Talking through the frustrations of the problem can be a very healthy coping mechanism. However, talking can become unhealthy when it moves from conflict management to complaining. When someone begins to complain they aren’t looking for solutions; they are usually looking to make the other person the problem or make themselves the victim.
A therapist can help a client balance the need to vent and complain. The therapist will redirect the conversation to ensure that the speaker gets to express themselves but also finds a solution. It is important to break any patterns that caused the situation. Therefore, the therapist will help you navigate what you can do to avoid or better cope with future situations.
4. Hormone Imbalance
Sometimes your emotions may be fluctuating because you have an hormonal imbalance. You may have too much testosterone, estrogen, or cortisone. You can balance your hormones by going to a hormone doctor near you. The hormone doctor will assess what is causing your emotions to be so overwhelming that you can’t cope. They will help you to find natural or medical ways to manage your emotions as well.
5 Step Coping Action Plan
What caused this situation? What could have changed? How have you grown from this? Sit and ask yourself the tough questions so that you can use this situation to grow. You should focus on finding a solution or avoiding the situation in the future.
- Identify your trigger: identifying our triggers are one of the best coping strategies. Triggers and coping skills go hand in hand, because you can’t manage your emotions if you don’t know what is causing them. So consider, what caused you to feel this way? How can you avoid it in the future?
- What caused me to trigger: who is triggering me? What is frustrating me? Do you need a new job? Do you need to set boundaries in your relationships? You may need to make changes to remove the trigger from your life. Or, make a plan to sit down and speak with the person to make a plan for growth?
- Am I reacting well: decide if you liked the way you reacted to the problem. Why or why not? What would you change in the future. Remember, no one should be able to control your reaction… Even, if they caused the problem.
- Do I have self-control? evaluate whether you have self-control and if you are able to calmly evaluate the situation. How can you improve this for the future? Perhaps you need to learn to take space and think about the issue before trying to solve it right away.
- Communication skills: were you demonstrating good communication skills? Were you focused on being right or coming to and understanding. It’s important to listen and build trust by understanding where each other is coming from.
- Create a trigger action plan: create a plan to follow when you are emotionally unstable. Let the person know that you are upset, frustrated, anxious, etc. Ask for room so you can calm down and approach the situation fairly once you have clarity.
Need help navigating this process? Let me help you with 20 minutes of free empowerment coaching!
22 Calming Activities
Here is a list of 20 coping skills that you can engage in to calm yourself down. However, all activities must not replace dealing with the pain inside. We must heal, forgive, become enlightened, and grow. Don’t do any activity just to ignore the pain. Take the pain to God.
- Apologize: believe it or not apologizing is a great way to remove guilt, shame, and fear. It removes the weight of what happened and allows you to have a clean mind and conscious going forward.
- Have a Good Cry: crying allows the body to release stress. Crying detoxifies the body, improves mood, dulls pain, helps you to recover from grief, and restores emotional balance according to research.
- Forgive: forgiving the people that hurt us is a great way to heal from a situation. Forgiving ourself is also necessary as well. Here are some tips to help you forgive!
- Sleeping: take a nap or good nights sleep to cool off. In the morning, you will walk up calmer and with a clear mind. Then, take action steps to solve your problem or avoid it in the future.
- Prayer: pray for the situation and the people involved. Ask God to show you what you can grow in. Then, pray and ask God for the strength to grow, heal, and forgive. Ask for the other person to receive the same thing as you.
- Journaling: write down everything that made you mad, don’t leave anything out. How can you change? How can they or the situation change? Why did the situation make you frustrated? Partner journaling with prayer. God wants to show you his plan for the situation and he wants you to trust He will heal you.
- Exercise: going for a run, swim, walk, etc. can help you to steady your emotions. Exercising will help you balance your emotions and then deal with the problem better. Remember, you can’t just exercise and ignore the problem. You have to deal with the problem after or during.
- Volunteering: too much focus on your problems can make you selfish. There are many people going through a lot worse. Volunteering can help shift your perspective and help you to feel more grateful. And, help you feel more positive self-esteem.
- Doing something kind: helping someone else can boost your self-esteem. It can also help you to be apart of God’s bigger purpose for healing in the world.
- Clean: this will help you to work off some of the steam and you won’t regret the results after.
- Pick a hobby: find something to do that you enjoy doing. It’s a bonus if you do something that helps other people. You need to have a goal so you don’t keep spiraling into the problem.
- Listen to meditation, bible verses, or sermons: you can listen to uplifting music or youtube videos. I prefer to listen to bible verses that uplift me.
- Read a book: find a book that is interesting and read it. Perhaps a love novel, or a strange dystopian!
- Read affirmation statement: you can listen to affirmation statements for positive self-esteem, anxiety affirmations, and financial manifestation affirmations.
- Call a hotline: if it is serious and you have no one to talk to… Call an emergency hotline and speak with someone immediately!
- Address your anxiety: Anxiety can be managed. Here are 5+ anxiety coping skills list with affirmations to help to relax. Anxiety is normal and these steps will remind you that humans don’t have to be perfect or feel perfect.
- Play a game: yes, a game can provide fun and an amusing distraction. Later, you can journal or pray once you have cooled off.
- Hang with a friend: spend sometime with someone fun. Decide not to talk about the issue. Don’t even let that person know you are upset. They’ll unknowingly help you to cool off – especially if they have great positive energy!
- Watch a FUN show or movie: avoid sad movies and anything that will make you feel worse. But, it’s smart to watch something you find fun and that will totally take off all the focus on the negative.
- Write, draw, or paint: use this activity to create your perfect world. This will help you to channel your frustration and come up with a positive solution.
- Get an animal: animals are good to pet, walk, and relieve stress. Dogs are really a man’s best friend.
- Make a gratitude list: write all the things you are grateful for. This will help shift your perspective.
You can read or create your own coping chart with this list of 99 coping skills!