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The Necessity of Developing Coping Skills

The Necessity of Developing Coping SkillsOur physical and psychological well-being is determined by three things:

– Genetic predisposition
– Life stressors
– Coping strengths and resources

There’s not too much we can do about the first one.

Life stressors — well, some people seem to have more than their share, but you live long enough and life will get you — through illness, loss, stalled ambitions, financial worries and more. Sadly, people with trauma or troubled childhoods often experience more of these stressors later in life, as a factor of impaired neurological development, impact on health and susceptibility to lifestyle disease, as well as socio-demographic challenges.

It’s the last category we can do the most about – our strengths and resources for coping. And I think most of us need to redefine what coping means and looks like. For many in the Western world, coping is seen as an ability to “push through,” to keep going at all costs – skipping meals, missing sleep, neglecting movement and friends and time outdoors, whatever it takes to meet the high expectations we set for ourselves.

What if coping looked like being really honest with yourself and those closest to you about how you feel and what you need? What if it meant knowing when to say “no” and being able to do that with your heart open, guilt-free? What if it meant slowing everything down and reworking your expectations for yourself and your life, earning how to truly be present in moments rather than continually chasing after new ones?

Resources can be personal or social, as well as financial and tangible. If you are blessed with a good network of friends and family, remember to invest in it, nurture it. If things are light in that area, think about how you can develop some meaningful new connections.

The most powerful resource you have at your disposal, however, is you. We often get so caught up dealing with problems, we forget to acknowledge, develop and keep our attention with our strengths. Sometimes, when the chips are down, this is all we have – character strengths such as our determination, grace, compassion, clarity of mind and creativity.

Spending time developing these strengths is not just a helpful behavioral strategy. It changes your brain function and structure so that it responds more easily with helpful strategies rather than stressing out and shutting down. It strengthens your immune system and can even affect whether a gene that you carry for a certain illness gets turned on.

The Necessity of Developing Coping Skills

Deborah Jackson

Deborah JacksonDeborah Jackson is a Registered Psychologist offering holistic counseling and coaching sessions via Skype all around the world and face-to-face on the Gold Coast of Australia. Associated with Bond University as well as her private practice, Deborah loves to help you slow down and listen to the voice of your soul-self and uncover what wants to create and connect in your life from this place. Check out Deborah’s website here and stay up to date on Facebook here.

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APA Reference
Jackson, D. (2018). The Necessity of Developing Coping Skills. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 26 Jan 2014)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.