What Coping Skills Do You Have in Your Emotional Toolbox?
Over the past few weeks we have been assembling an Emotional Toolbox of Coping Skills. Hopefully you have been able to gather useful coping skills that you can use each and every day. We’ve been using common everyday tools to remind us how to deal with the ups and downs of daily life. Take a minute to think about how most people use the tools in their home.
Good handypersons go to their toolbox for two main reasons: to repair something broken and to maintain something that just needs a tweak. If someone falls out of a chair because the leg comes off, the toolbox will be pulled out quickly. A slight wobble or small squeak means that something will need a little tightening. No emergency, just some time to make an adjustment.
That’s what your emotional toolbox can be for you, helpful when things go wrong quickly and when you just need a small adjustment. Let’s review how some of our favorite tools can help in different areas of your life
Hammer – Take an imaginary hammer and swing hard. You want to destroy the illusion that everyone must like you no matter how many hits it takes. Once you start focusing on improving your self-worth, you won’t need to worry so much what other’s think anymore.
Screwdriver – Do you have a friend that’s prying into your schedule or digging for details about personal matters? Then it’s probably time to tighten up your personal boundaries. Empower yourself by making a clear line of separation between you and those who want to intrude too much.
Level – Sometimes life can slowly tip out of balance, one day at a time. Then all of the sudden everything crashes. When things get out of whack, it’s time to ask important questions. Discover what you need right now and take action to set things back in balance.
Saw – Sometimes you have to make difficult choices. When it’s time to cut the negativity out of your life, you may spend less time with certain people. That can feel like a real loss, even if it’s for the best reasons. But you’ll also need to add more positivity into each day. Change can be tough, but creating a more positive life is definitely worth the effort.
Drill – Introspection is the process of listening to yourself and the signals of your body. When you drill down to your inner self, you’ll understand how your mind and body are connected. Tuning in to these signals will help you manage the ups and downs of your day.
Measuring Tape – The saying “measure twice, cut once” is all about being prepared. Setting realistic goals means you need to think carefully. Take a look at where you want to go and what that really means for you. Instead of jumping around from this new idea to that shiny object; take the time to measure out a good plan for reaching your destination.
Masking Tape – Your daily organization routines will keep your life going. When you stick to them, your day will run more smoothly and your home or work environment will be more functional. Just small efforts each day will add up to a big payoff. Sticking to your routines is the secret.
Flashlight – Fear grows best in the dark. When you shine light on your fears, you can see them for what they really are – simply feelings and thoughts. Just because you are afraid of something doesn’t mean it’s truly a threat to you. Let the light shine strong and face your fears head-on.
Wrench – How do you bounce back when something “throws a wrench” into your life? The way you react depends on how well you understand your feelings, what the problem is, and whether you decide to take action right away.
Pliers – Sometimes you need to get a grip on who you are and be honest with yourself. The truth can be painful at first, but lying to yourself is worse in the long run. Once you understand the potential for positive change, being honest with yourself won’t seem so uncomfortable after all.
Your Toolbox Goes With You Everywhere – Use It!
The best thing about this emotional toolbox is that it’s with you all the time. Any moment you need to deal with something difficult or just make a little tweak in your life, you have lots of useful tools within reach. As you learn how to use each one, you’ll feel more confident about life and more comfortable in your own skin.
What do you think about the tools in our toolbox? Do you have an idea for another tool? Which one do you tend to use (or need to use) the most?
Dr. Ines K. Roe has been helping women in transition rediscover themselves for over 20 years. If you’re been feeling unfulfilled, are frustrated with your sense of accomplishment in midlife, or simply need guidance on your path to holistic well being, join her ecourses.