Simple ways to improve your coping skills

Have you ever thought, “I can’t cope,” or “I don’t have the strength to deal with this,” or something along those lines? Many of us, at times, feel that stress or worry are overwhelming, and start believing we’re incapable of dealing with them. But it’s important to give yourself the benefit of the doubt! With a bit of thought and a few basic skills, you can definitely cope better.

Firstly, it’s crucial to achieving peace of mind for you to be able to change your thought patterns. When you notice yourself thinking ‘This is too hard, I can’t cope’ change it around to something more positive: ‘This is hard, but I can deal with it if I use my coping skills.’

If you’re not sure whether you have those skills or where to find them, these techniques will help you either learn new coping strategies or recognize the ones you already have:

  1. Weigh the possible outcomes.
    Stop and consider what the possible outcomes of a tricky situation are. What’s the worst that could happen? How have you handled the worst in the past? If the worst happened this time, what could you do? Putting a plan in place (even if you never need it) can make you feel more in control.
  2. Keep yourself in good mental shape.
    We often talk about what ‘shape’ we’re in but usually we mean physically – is our weight OK, what about our fitness levels. Carry out an emotional audit and check you are caring from yourself in the best way you can psychologically as well. Take time for yourself, rest, have fun now and then and carry out some form of relaxation (meditation, self-hypnosis, etc) regularly. Maintain a connection to your spiritual side, whether that’s tied in with religion or self-help, to help you see situations with clarity.
  3. Maintain a positive outlook.
    It would be unrealistic to think that every event in your life will be positive, but your outlook can go a long way in helping you to deal effectively with challenges. Success and happiness are not about the situations you face, but how you deal with them.
  4. Learn to believe in yourself.
    Who are you? Take a few moments to really be honest with yourself. What makes you tick? What gives you a true sense of achievement? Have confidence that you have or can learn the skills you need to get through whatever life throws at you.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it doesn’t make you a failure.
    Think of it this way. Three builders are working on a building site, carrying heavy materials from the point of delivery to where they are needed. Joe is determined to work hard and be independent. He does OK for a while but then picks up something that’s too heavy and injures himself.

    Fred works hard too and carries his fair share alone, but when he comes across something that’s too heavy, he asks Chris to carry the other end. He’s not slacking off but doing what is sensible; unlike poor Joe who is currently off work and doomed to watch daytime TV till his back recovers!

    So, if the load is too heavy for you alone, or you don’t feel you have the tools to cope, reach out. Get support from a friend or colleague, or contact me for help.


Author: is a professional stress management coach, specialising in working with individuals and smaller employers to minimise stress and maximise feeling in control.
Debbie is the author of Their Worlds, Your Words and has co-written the Hypnotherapy Handbook both of which are available from Amazon.
Find out more about Debbie's services on  or phone 01977 678593