Coping Skills

Do You Have a Rule About That?

Part of psychological health is being able to respond flexibly, in context. It means you can do what is needed in the moment. For example, what life calls for when you are at work is different than  your best responses when you are home or on vacation. That's an easy distinction. But if you're a rule follower you may sometimes find that you are sticking to routines and rules when it doesn't fit the context or serve you well.


Go for a Walk

Sometimes the simple things, activities that have been part of people's lives for many years, are also the most important. It's like choosing to eat dessert last, you know? I can remember as a child thinking that when I grew up I would eat dessert all the time. For a while I did eat dessert frequently and chose it instead of veggies and whole grains. Ice cream, chocolate pie, and cheesecake all sounded so much more...


Never Let Them See You Sweat? Rethinking an Old Concept

Among the people you know, who would you say shows all his emotions on his face? You know exactly what he's thinking, how he feels about what you just suggested and whether he agrees with you. He smiles, laughs, frowns, looks skeptical, roll his eyes and more. He shares his thoughts too. He tells you when he disagrees with you, when you hurt his feelings, and when he thinks you've being ridiculous.  His facial expressions and body language match what he feels and thinks.

Now who among the people you know is the opposite? Who covers up her feelings, hides her reactions, and doesn't show her emotions?  She may give her opinion freely (or always nod and seem to agree) but you really can't get a sense of how she feels.


Defensive Attribution: Getting in Your Own Way

Perceptual bias is an experience that we all have.  It means that we are biased against or for something based on what we see, touch, smell, taste or hear.  It's the lens that we automatically filter all our experiences through. Rarely do we see just the facts. Our beliefs, history and fears influence the way we see the world.

One common bias is called Defensive Attribution Bias.  This means that we tend to attribute a cause to events....


Overly Serious Coping

Are you a serious person?  Do you have overly-serious coping?  What does that even mean? A dictionary definition of serious is showing deep thought, not joking, or a situation that requires careful thought. An example of serious is wearing a full suit to a casual dinner; serious attire. An example of serious is a person who doesn't smile or laugh easily; serious person.

Of course there's a time to be serious. But there are also times to be playful and teasing. It's all about context and being flexible. Being overly-serious is like the person who wears a shirt and tie to the backyard barbecue. Sometimes it can make others uncomfortable and the research shows that being able to play and laugh is important for relationships and for coping well.

Emotion Skills

When Envy Erupts

The definition of envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or luck. To put it more personally, you really resent the heck out of someone else because you want what they have.

Coping Skills

Perfectionist? Impossible!

Perfectionism is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as "a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable especially : the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness.  Me, a perfectionist?  No way. I don't even come close.

Emotionally Sensitive Person

Over-Apologizing and Your Self Confidence

Are you the type of person who apologizes multiple times a day or even before your second cup of coffee?

Do you apologize to a chair if you bump into it (I've done that!) or apologize for winning a race or getting a promotion? Do you apologize because you bought the last copy of a book someone else wanted or because someone bumped into you (Excuse me for being in the way of your mad dash to get to the coffee)?


Mindfulness: Describe

In Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness has both How Skills and What Skills. The What Skills are what you do to be mindful and the How Skills are how you do the What Skills.

One of the DBT What Skills is Describe. When you describe mindfully, you apply accurate words to events actions of others. This means that you learn to not take thoughts and emotions as necessarily being accurate. You can have many thoughts and interpretations that turn out to not be accurate at all. For example, when you feel afraid, that doesn't necessarily mean that there is a life-threatening situation happening. It doesn't necessarily mean that anything threatening is happening. Just because you feel afraid doesn't mean that you are in danger.

Coping Skills

The Problem of Comparing Yourself to Others

Amy's just got a promotion, Jill is going to Europe for a month, and Larry just lost 20 pounds and looks so fit he could be a trainer.

When you look at what is happening in the lives of your friends, do you congratulate them and feel happy for them? Or do you use their good news to feel bad about yourself? Social comparisons are a sure way for many emotionally sensitive people to judge themselves negatively and be in a funk.