There’s this overused thing in the world of psychology that we call “coping skills.” If you’ve never heard this before, it usually refers to how to cope with strong emotions such as anger, sadness, anxiety, etc in the moment. Some examples might be: call a friend, read a book, color, exercise, etc. This is all good, fine, and wonderful. These things are necessary at times. Where I have found fault, is two-fold. First of all, when we are highly charged up, we rarely think to use the “coping skills” to help us relax and the true key is to use these while we are just starting to feel this way, rather than when we are in full panic attack, raging mad, etc. But further, I have found that coping skills don’t actually heal anything. They do little to nothing in preventing you from feeling this exact way again the future-maybe even 10 minutes in the future. They do just what they say they do, they help you to “cope” with things and nothing more.
What if a different choice was available to us? What if we didn’t just have to “cope” with life as it comes, but actually had control and choice over our lives? Everything is choice. We can choose to be angry, or choose not to be. Even when you are aware that you start to feel anger, you have a choice in this moment to resist, react, get all charged up, etc-which actually locks the reality of the situation into place. But instead, you can acknowledge everything as an “interesting point of view.” Someone said this awful thing to you-interesting point of view. Someone makes a choice you would never make-interesting point of view. When you see things from this perspective, without attachment to it, you neither align and agree with it or resist and react to it, taking the emotion out of it-giving you choice. Choice creates awareness.
These ideas come from Access Consciousness (www.accessconsciousness.com for more information). Further, there are so many ways that I work with people on the physical feelings of anxiety (fear, anger, etc) that allow you to address the feeling and change it, rather than “coping” with it. Which feels lighter to you: “You have to cope with your emotions” or “You have total choice with your emotions (and your life)”? When you choose choice, you remain in control and “coping” becomes unnecessary.
One of the things I do with people is help them to address their feelings rather than run from them. Remember that resisting holds things in place. Think of a rope in tug-of-war. When you pull on it, the rope remains tight, as does the person holding the other end-when you release, all fall to the ground. Make sense? I have a long list of tools that help people release their emotions that are not serving them, rather than cope with them.
One of these is taking the emotion (let’s use anxiety) and describing it in terms of an image. What color is it? How big is it? Where in your body is it? What is it made of? What shape is it? -once you have this, ask it for your greatest good, what would it like to do or become? So would it like to change colors? Get smaller? Change what’s its made of? Once you get that. Ask again-Now what would it like to do or become (for your highest good)? Do this until you feel lighter.
Do you see how this is not ignoring, distracting, or finding some way to “cope” with the emotion and instead addressing it, allowing, and changing it? There are many other ways of doing this that I teach people individually as it applies to them. We have total choice in our lives, even when it may not seem this way. We have choice when it comes to our emotions and can choose to no longer run from them, always fearing the next time they will catch up to us.
If you are tired of “coping skills” and ready to learn how to actually start the adventure of living, rather than running in circles, let me know. Head to www.journeytopresent.com/call to set up a free call with me. We can discuss how we can work together and no longer feel as though your emotions are running your life. I look forward to talking with you!