There’s a difference between good coping strategies and healthy coping skills. They sound the same, but they aren’t.
The strategies we use in a crisis aren’t necessarily the healthiest choices for the long term. We can get stuck with rationalizations, such as
- Someone told me…and it really helped, so I’m going to keep doing that.
- I will always (or never)…
- I couldn’t have gotten through without…so I’m not giving it up now.
Some coping strategies might convert into healthy coping skills but not always. Coping strategies help in the crisis. They are survival techniques. They have short-term intentions to help us through. But as we get a little farther “through,” the regularity of life begins to resume. It might look and feel very different, but we begin to establish a new normal. The effects of the trauma continue, but we are no longer in the center of a detonation zone. We begin to have a bit more focus.
What strategies helped in the crisis might impede our ability to cope well within our new normal. If our perspective and coping remains the same, so will our results and location. We will stagnate.
Coping with healthy skills is a process. We learn, try, change, listen, practice, and move forward. If we are willing.