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Why You Should Care About Coping Skills

​Have you ever poured your heart out to someone about all the current woes and torments ​of your life only to hear them offer what seems like a rather silly suggestion?  They give you a sympathetic "There, there," and then follow it up with, "You know what would help?  You just need to get some more sleep!"  A lot of people – especially teenagers – who hear those kinds of recommendations usually leave the conversation thinking their listener didn't hear a thing.  You just told them about heartbreak, profound sadness, hopelessness, and they didn't really seem to relate to what you said.

Believe it or not, sometimes those tiny little suggestions for how to cope with your problem can keep your head above water while you're foundering. 

Let's look at an example: you're overwhelmed with schoolwork and friendship drama, and you've been dealing with a lot of random depression.  You're talking to your mom about it one evening while she's cooking, and without looking up, she says, "Well how about you go for a walk?"  What?!?  You're trying to communicate the pain that's wrenching your soul, and your mother just tells you to go for a walk.

Listen to your mother!  Don't assume she is disregarding your sadness – she's trying to tell you what to do with it.  After you're finished talking to her, you have a few different options: you can go for a walk or find something else to occupy your time, or you can trudge off to your room, turn off the lights, and lie on the floor weeping.  Lots of kids pick the latter option, and they keep wallowing in their sadness.  As you're lying there by yourself thinking about how miserable you are, has it really helped the situation?

So instead of sulking, try to throw yourself into an activity, like taking a walk.  Let's be realistic, is this going to be the happiest, most energetic walk you've ever taken?  Probably not.  But when you get back home, you're likely going to feel a hundred times better than you would if sat in your room and cried.  You're not necessarily going to feel like you're on top of the world, but you'll feel better.

Bottom-line is this: take time to lament, but then take action!

Next, how to figure out which coping skills to choose…


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