Often when we think of coping, we think of behaviors we can engage in (positive or negative) to get past the intense emotion or situation. Coping thoughts are also important tools to get through difficult times and difficult emotions.
When a stressful situation occurs, our body heightens with arousal, and our thoughts can become negative quickly. This further increases the stress we feel, and increases negative thoughts and emotions, further heightening the body’s arousal. We can actually begin to talk ourselves into more negative emotions, a negative perception, and a negative cycle quickly occurs.
When stress occurs, try your best to stop, breathe, and calm for a few minutes. Many things are not the emergencies we perceive them to be, and even when emergencies occur, to stop, calm, and think will help you get through it with more efficiency. Now talk to yourself in a way that is objective, positive, calm, and helpful.
If you know you tend to become emotional or easily react to stress, develop a plan for yourself ahead of time – prepare to cope – have self-statements readily available!
Examples of coping thoughts… There is nothing to worry about. I am going to be alright. I will get through this. It will be better tomorrow. I can do this, I am doing it now. I can get help if I need it. It is okay to make mistakes. Relax. Breathe. There is an end to this. Keep my mind on right now, the task at hand. I have survived this, and worse, before. I can keep this within limits I can handle.
Although this seems rather simple, many of us do not do this! We often talk ourselves into our negative emotion rather than out of it. Changing the way we think about situations can reduce heightened emotions, help develop a more positive mindset, and allow us to handle our stressors and anxiety with more ease and efficiency.