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In this three part series, we wanted to examine Coping Strategies and how you can use them to become a more resilient and mentally healthy person.

In the first part, Liam examines what coping strategies are, and why they can help you.

 

Mental Health can affect us in many different ways. It’s not just the number of different mental illnesses out there, but the fact we are all programmed differently means the same illness may affect different people in entirely different ways.

Those affected may deny, may accept, may embrace and they may experience different symptoms for the same mental illness. You could make a list, but it would go on and on. No matter what bracket you fall under there are a number of ‘things’ that we do to help us cope with whatever life throws at us. Take a minute to reflect on the following and see if you can think of any more:

If you are hot, you’ll seek the shade

If you are thirsty, you’ll seek water

If you are tired, you go to sleep

 

These are all strategies we use to overcome daily challenges or requirements driven by what our body is telling us.

Coping with mental illness is no different. It’s your brain requiring something, and there will be ‘things’ you can do to help. These ‘things’ can be referred to as ‘coping strategies’. These could be sleep, meditation, medication or exercise to name just a few. Some won’t work, some may work only on occasions, and some may work all the time. It’s important not to ignore the feelings you have, or the warning signs. It’s important you do something to help yourself.

It’s easy to confuse coping strategies with safety behaviours or ‘emotional avoidance behaviours’. For example, if you are anxious about going to a social event your safety behaviour might be to not attend. A coping strategy could be used to overcome that safety behaviour to give you the courage to attend and there are a number of well known strategies.

The great thing about coping strategies? They can be tried and tested anywhere, at any time. They put you in control and you can experiment with different ones as you please. Even if they don’t work, at least you’re stimulating the mind trying. No experience is a waste.

Don’t be static, be dynamic!

 

Look out for our next instalment in this series on Coping Strategies…

If you have something you want to say about mental health send us a pitch to cai.burton@freedomofmind.org.uk Keep your pitches to less than 150 words and tell us what content you want to make and why you want to make it. It can be anything, from a poem, to an article, to a video, to a piece of artwork – we’re just after stories to tell. We can keep things anonymous if you’d like and we’ll help you to edit your piece then get it up on the blog.


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