Coping with Stress in a Healthy Way
People develop coping skills when they face stress or conflict as a way of dealing with that stress or conflict. Some coping skills may be healthy and some may not be (maladaptive). Examples of unhealthy or maladaptive coping strategies are: over-eating, drinking too much alcohol, denial, social withdrawal etc. When stress levels and anxiety are too much for one to handle, they often seek out a therapist to assist with their troubles. One of the things a counselor can do is assess the person on their ability to cope and assist them in developing better coping skills, new coping skills, or modifying a poor coping skill.
Sometimes when people expend their conscious energy to solve personal and interpersonal problems, they hit a road block because they have not developed a good set of coping skills. A mental health therapist can teach the person constructive or adaptive strategies which are aimed at reducing stress levels. Coping strategies which are maladaptive can actually increase stress. A visit to a therapist might provide you with an opportunity to explore you current coping skills so you can determine which set of coping skills are working for you and which ones may be maladaptive or not working.
Coping responses can be influenced by one’s personality traits, by the social context the stress is occurring in, or even the environment. There are many coping strategies which can be offered by a counselor which could help you reduce your stress levels and improve your overall health.
By not modifying a maladaptive coping skill that is not working for you anyways, it may increase the potential for you to develop other issues which may lead to depression, anxiety, panic, anger, behavioral issues, and other mental health disorders. Additionally, the added stress of not being able to effectively cope with a situation could also manifest itself in other ways which could affect you physically such as nausea, migraines, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, heart issues, and other illnesses. Therefore, learning healthy coping strategies could significantly improve your overall health.
Some coping strategies may include, adaptive coping, problem-focused, and emotion-focused. Adaptive coping focuses on the how we “think” about a problem or issue. Problem-focused strategies aim to try and deal with the cause of a problem or issue. Whereas, emotion-focused strategies focus on the emotions related to the stress and ways to manage the emotions that we may be feeling because of the stress. In counseling, you and your therapist can discuss the best approaches for you to improve your coping skills with one or more of these strategies. The strategies listed above are more categorical, and can be broken down into specific techniques, which can help you learn to cope in healthier ways as well as reduce the overall stress in your life.
It is also important to remember that you are not alone! There is help available to you and therapy can provide a safe, supportive, non-threatening environment to you. Together, you and your therapist can develop a plan of treatment specific to your needs. please contact Dana Nolan and receive a brief free phone consultation.
Finding the right counselor is important, therapeutic relationships are built on trust, honesty and mutual respect between the therapist and the client. It is important to find a counselor with whom you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts and feelings AND who has the necessary expertise to help you reach your goals. For that reason, we offer a free brief phone consultation to ensure that we are the right fit for you. If you would like to discuss coping with stress or some other issue(s), please don’t hesitate to contact Dana Nolan at 407-340-2474.