Insights on Coping with Pain and Suffering

Insights on Coping with Pain and Suffering

Day 2 of 40

Coping Styles

How we cope with pain and suffering has a significant impact on us. Choose healthy coping strategies.

Coping mechanisms are the strategies we use to deal with the stresses of life. We typically learn coping strategies through the modeling of those to whom we are most exposed in childhood. Our culture, gender, age, and personalities also influence how we cope with painful situations. A simple example of these influences is that although crying may be an appropriate emotional coping strategy, one’s culture or gender training may make such expression personally unacceptable.

Coping mechanisms can be a combination of cognitive, emotional, behavioral, relational, and spiritual strategies. Such strategies can be healthy or unhealthy. Optimistic thinking and realistic planning are examples of healthy cognitive coping strategies. Pessimistic thinking, excessive worry, obsession, and denial are examples of unhealthy strategies. Suppressed, misdirected, or uncontrolled emotion may be an expression of unhealthy coping strategies.

Healthy emotional coping involves the identification and appropriate expression of emotion. Prayer, Bible study, meditation, and singing are a few forms of healthy spiritual coping. Physical exercise and hard work can be healthy forms of coping unless they are used to a point of excess to avoid feeling. Physically lashing out toward oneself or others is never a healthy way to cope.

Consider This:

  • What are your typical cognitive coping strategies?
  • What are your typical emotional coping strategies?
  • With whom do you share your thoughts and feelings to help you cope?
  • Identify your healthy spiritual coping mechanisms.        

Take Action:

Now that you have identified your typical coping strategies, identify which are healthy and which are unhealthy. Commit to developing and implementing healthy coping mechanisms. Use a trusted relationship as a form of accountability for this transition from unhealthy to healthy coping.

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