Source: Sherman Publications

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Positive coping skills equal resilience

by Andrea Beaudoin

August 14, 2013

Part 3 in a series on positive coping skills:


Clarkston News Staff Writer

Possessing positive coping skills are said to make you resilient.

Using negative coping skills can make difficult challenges worse. Practicing positive coping skills can ease tension in stressful situations, and help face a problem in the most productive and healthy way possible.

Coping skills is the way a person handles an adverse situation. Negative coping skills includes things like avoidance of feelings or situations, withdraw, denying there is a problem, eating disorders, substance abuse, overspending and having a negative or critical attitude.

Negative coping skills are often used to avoid the real problem, and often makes it worse.

Good coping skills promote the ability of the body and mind to handle stress in healthy ways.

Dr. Donald Deering, vice president of Oakland Psychiatric Associates in Clarkston, said without positive coping skills we lose ourselves.

"We lose balance, boundaries and control," he said. "If we don't feel like we have control over most of the facets in our lives, we start to feel stressed out and we quickly lose perspective and react rather than respond with thought."

When facing a crisis, or recovering from one, positive coping skills can make all the difference in the quality of life.

"People have to believe there is a better way to live. Much of life and how we experience it is how we choose to. You can choose to look at the negative and try to avoid it, or you can choose to look at the positive and work toward it. The happiest people on the planet choose the ladder as a way of life," said Deering.

Using positive coping skills can be fun and healthy to both the mind and spirit and leads to increased production, greater happiness, clearer goals and a healthier lifestyle.

No matter what is happening in your life you must make a decision to take on challenges with a positive attitude.

"Once you have made a decision to make it a great day, you must be present for it, and live in the moment," said Deering.

And don't let past mistakes weigh you down.

"I like to tell people to mindful of the past, but live in the present, while preparing for the future. There is nothing wrong with making mistakes," he said. "The key is to not make the same mistakes over and over."

Mistakes happen, but inner peace and strength is found in acceptance and realizing everyone makes mistakes. Being strong and being able to face tough situations sometimes means forgiving not only others, but also yourself.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Coach Bob Browy said it's important to practice the art of saying no, so that you don't get overwhelmed and cause yourself more stress.

Deering agrees with Browy and said most people facing mental health related issues often lack balance and boundaries in their lives.

"Don't allow yourself to get overbooked and say yes to everyone who wants your time and attention," he said. "Learn to say no. You must learn to put your needs first, while remaining mindful of others' needs as well. If we are last in line to get our needs met all the time, we will simply run out of energy, drive, ambition, hope, health and happiness."

Setting boundaries, making time for yourself and paying attention to your physical health is important to be able to handle stress. Exercise, like Yoga, is a great way to make time for yourself and help your body feel calmer.

Susan Stencil, owner of Clarkston Hot Yoga, said taking an hour out of your day to practice relaxation techniques like Yoga can make a world of difference in your life.

Stencil said yoga gives your brain a one hour period to sort of shut down, and be at peace from thousands of racing thoughts. "It just makes you feel better all around," she said.

She added that the one hour can make a big difference in everyday life by enhancing mental clarity and inner peacefulness-which in turn helps someone deal with problems more efficiently.

Practicing healthy coping skills is like using a muscle. The more you do it, the stronger the ability gets, and the more likely it is the behavior will become habit.