Everyone faces tough times, and life isn’t always smooth sailing. But it’s how we cope with tough times that shows us how resilient and mentally fit we are. During the beginning of a school term it is normal for students to feel slightly unsettled in friendship groups, classes, timetables and the transition from holiday to school mode. It is important that students have coping strategies to deal with changes and tough situations. If a student is facing a troubling situation it is important they have support in the form of contact with a teacher, parent or counsellor but it is equally important that we teach our students everyday coping strategies to enhance wellbeing and resilience.
Coping pretty much describes all the different things people do to manage and reduce the stress they feel as a result of issues, problems or difficult situations that occur. Everyone experiences different levels of stress, and also have different ways of coping, which is completely fine. There isn’t a ‘right’ way to cope – different strategies work well for different people, depending on their personal strengths and skills. Despite this, some coping strategies are seen as less beneficial, because they reduce stress temporarily, but don’t reduce it in the long run (and often have other bad impacts). Drugs and alcohol are examples of less effective, and sometimes damaging coping strategies.
Positive coping skills are any strategies which people find to reduce stress effectively without future backlash. It is these skills you want to develop to help you manage stressful circumstances.
Everyone has setbacks in life. Problems can crop up when we least expect, and it’s pretty normal for some issues to hang around for a while. This can be particularly the case in situations that aren’t straightforward to fix. Effective coping is great for all sorts of life dramas – whether they’re relatively minor problems, or larger scale disasters.
Examples of life events that require some kind of coping skills include
- pressures in the workplace
- exam/study pressures
- natural disasters – e.g. floods, fires, drought
- relationship conflict or breakdowns
- serious illness
How we choose to manage these sorts of situations can have a big impact on the outcome of the situation, as well as the long-term effects on our mental health.
When you use positive coping strategies to deal with stress effectively, you’re able to experience more positive emotions. People with good coping skills tend to be much happier than those who haven’t yet figured out what coping strategies work successfully for them.
Some of the benefits of effective coping are that you:
- are more motivated
- are able to push through and successfully tackle challenges
- are more likely to achieve your goals
- have better sleeping patterns
- have better physical health
- have better relationships