Friday, September 13, 2013

Coping skills

Coping skills, the way we handle difficult or stressful situation we may find on our path, are learned very early in our lives. Usually in our first four or five years ~ during the time when we are functioning almost entirely through our subconscious minds. This means that during these early childhood years we learn things through experience and through observation.
It also implies that the things we have learned during this time are locked firmly into our subconscious minds such that something like our coping skills kick in the moment we need them, without even having to give it a second thought. In other words, we don’t think about it ~ we act.

This is both good and bad...

The good thing about it is that if we have been raised during those early childhood years in a balanced, ‘sensible’ environment ~ what gets to be locked into our subconscious is a balanced, sensible outlook on life, and in all likelihood a set of balanced, sensible coping skills.

On the other hand, if the environment we were raised in was in a more or less continuous turmoil; an environment where stressful situations weren’t handled, but moreover just walked away from ~ we may find ourselves late in life lacking those balanced sensible coping skills that are so useful in our day to day lives.
Once adults, we will follow the example our parent gave us way back when...

So if our parents, rather than handling the situation, walked out of their relationship when the stress got to be too much to cope with for them ~ chances are we as adults will do the same.
If (one of) our parents sought refuge in a fantasy world, into a different reality, when life got too hard... Or escaped into over-eating, or drugs, or alcohol... We may just follow that example if ever we encounter a stressful situation we feel we cannot cope with.

In these times of change we probably can all use new, better suited coping skills than our parents had when we were young. And there are techniques to evaluate our existing coping skills in order to see how we would like to handle life differently. There are processes through which we can fill in the blanks ~ or add to the picture already there that which we feel we need to cope with our lives today.

And the better we understand where our coping skills are coming from, and learn how to handle things differently ~ ultimately the better we can cope with whatever we may find on our path through life.

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