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How to Develop Strong Coping Skills

Updated on December 13, 2015
Photo by Benjamin Child
Photo by Benjamin Child | Source

Coping - Defined

Coping in Medicine:

cope 1(kōp)
v. coped, cop·ing, copes
To contend with difficulties with the intent to overcome them. [1]

There are various coping strategies and skills. Some are positive, some not so positive. In this hub, we will take a look at both ends of the spectrum.

We tend to lean on our own habitual coping strategies as we develop personally. These methods work better than others. Those that help people to manage their upsetting emotions are keepers. Then we have methods of lesser quality, which are known cause more problems rather than provide solutions.

Our emotional maturity is in direct relationship with the coping methods we put to use. The most mature people lean towards more well thought out and worthwhile approaches toward coping. While, the less emotionally mature people tend to use coping actions that are lacking rational thought.

As we grow in maturity and refinement, we become more proactive and deliberate in our coping skills.

Photo by Jeshu John
Photo by Jeshu John | Source

Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD

In 2009, I had a hysterectomy. This was one of many surgeries I had in a few short years. However, I really welcomed this one. No more pain from a rather large fibrous tumor in my uterus!

Three days afterward, I knew something was very wrong. I started to feel a sudden sense of doom, trouble breathing and thinking I was going to die at any moment. My doctor prescribed some anti-anxiety medicine, but it wasn't helping much. I was afraid to leave home.

I had to return to work and I managed to last for a good portion of the day before I would go home and take an Ativan. Sometimes, I would challenge myself to go to Safeway and walk through the aisles. I knew I could not continue like this.

A good friend recommended Neuro-Kinesiology. I had never heard of it but after researching it, I decided to give it a look see.

"Neurokinesiology was originally developed by Dr Charles T. Krebs as a wholistic non-medication based technique for working with cognitive disorders such as brain injury, ADD, ADHD and dyslexia. The process is known as LEAP, Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program. It became very apparent to its founder that the brain integration procedure of LEAP is important to fundamental function at all levels including our neural emotional pathways making LEAP ideally suited for the treatment of PTSD and addictions as well as learning challenges. Deborah Shafer uses the LEAP® technique, Learning Enhancement Acupressure Program, as well as craniosacral therapy, osteopathic manipulations, applied physiology and nutrition to facilitate a natural return to the body’s innate Health." [2]

My First Visit with a Neuro-Kinesiologist

Even after much investigation, I had no idea what to expect. I met this lovely person, who was a former Marine Biologist who had worked for NOAA. She explained the process to me and that the first session was her donation to God and therefore, at no cost to me.

I proceeded to lie flat on my back on a massage table. My NK, did a quick series of taps on my legs and belly and then asked me, "What happened to you when you were 3 years old that traumatized you for life?" she asked. I just sighed and gave her the full story...

At the age of three, I had witnessed my dad pulled from our car by a bunch of men who then beat him bloody, handcuffed him and then put him in the back of a police car. One of the worst moments of my life, no doubt.

She replied, "Yes, that is an extremely traumatic experience. Would you believe me if I said you are not suffering anxiety due to your hysterectomy, but PTSD from that day?" I nodded my head. Of course, I could believe that. She further explained that yes, my body wanted to hold onto every part of me. Even the organs that were sick, including my uterus. Because there is some sort of security in the familiar.

We proceeded to discuss my methods of coping. I had just taken an interest in Yoga and meditation. My NK then corrected the way I breathe. As it turns out, inhaling through the mouth increases anxiety. I learned different breathing exercises and how to breathe through my nostrils.

I had two more sessions with her in which she gave me several adjustments and a positive affirmation to recite for 3 days. It has become my personal mantra "I make the commitment to kindly, lovingly and supportively, maintain inner peace". She then told me I was done with anxiety sent me off with a blessing and said she would miss me,

That was several years ago and as long as I maintain my physical, mental and spiritual health, I don't struggle with anxiety anymore.


Have you ever suffered from Anxiety, Panic Attacks or PTSD?

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Negative Coping Mechanisms

If there is anything I consider myself an expert at, it would be the wrong way of coping with stress. At least in my past, that is.

  • Drug Use - Check. I am happily 12 years clean today. But for many years, this was my go-to coping venue.
  • Alcoholism - They say that alcohol is not a problem, but a solution. At some point, this solution stops working.
  • Self-mutilation - When I was young, I participated in this type of behavior.
  • Ignoring or storing hurt feelings - This got me through my first marriage.
  • Sedatives - All the women I grew up with passed these around.
  • Stimulants - Yep.
  • Workaholism - I still struggle with this from time to time. But I just love my job!
  • Avoiding conflict - I once mastered this art. I find that menopause has forced me to face my problems.
  • Denial - Thank God, I have retired my crown...a the Queen of De-nial!


Eat something healthy.
Take some deep breaths, go for a walk.
Call someone.
Get some rest.
Something as simple as the H.A.L.T. Method can be your best coping strategy at the moment.

Positive Coping Mechanisms

  • Humor - I remember being abandoned in California by my first husband. We were supposed to take one last visit and he reneged at the last minute. He proceeded to clean out our bank account leaving me in another state without money. I was having breakfast with a girlfriend when I noticed the clean air outside. "Who is the bastard that stole our smog?" I asked. I knew then, I would be okay, and I was. Still am today!
  • Asking for help - A good support group is essential. Trusted friends you can vent to at any time, without fear of being judged.
  • Relaxation - A cup of tea, a nice bath with some calming essential oils like vetiver or patchouli.
  • Exercise - whatever your preference whether it is competitive sports, running, strength training, Yoga or Pilates.
  • Journaling - Sometimes it is best to get it out of your head and onto paper.
  • Meditation and Breathing Techniques - There are so many resources out there whether in your community or even online.
  • Employment Assistance Program - Most employers provide this benefit and it is usually free. Take advantage of it!

My Favorite Coping Method - Yoga & Meditation

In Summary

  • Anxiety, Panic Attacks and PTSD are more common than most believe.
  • Take a good look at your coping methods and identify what is working and what is not.
  • There are many different coping strategies for every type of personality.
  • Take advantage of local and online resources.
  • Get involved with a support group that you identify with.
  • Learn to breathe properly.




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    • livingelysian profile imageAUTHOR

      Elysia Valdivia 

      3 years ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Actually aliswell, she was not a Navy Seal, but a former Marine Biologist. I had forgot to correct that before posting. Thanks for your inquiry!

    • livingelysian profile imageAUTHOR

      Elysia Valdivia 

      3 years ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Thank you Aliswell! Yes, I do believe she is still practicing. Neurokinesiology is quite mysterious as far as training goes. There is a link to a book on this hub and I would recommend finding someone local (if possible) and asking to shadow them. Best wishes!

    • Aliswell profile image


      3 years ago from Iowa

      Elysia, thanks so much for this article! You have perked my almost lost in "Iowa Winter Funk", coping mechanism abilities, to do some serious look see into... "Neurokinesiology was originally developed by Dr Charles T. Krebs !

      What an extraordinary man and after watching several of his videos, saint to all those poor kids he has saved from a life of not knowing why they were so troubled with life!!!

      I am very interested to know if your first practitioner, a.k.a former Navy Seal, is still practicing, and if you know of any programs that can actually train one as in myself, in this wonderful art?

    • livingelysian profile imageAUTHOR

      Elysia Valdivia 

      3 years ago from Loveland, Colorado

      Thanks, Diana! I do believe that personal experience is the best teacher though I wouldn't wish my journey on anyone else. I would hope people can learn from my mistakes.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 

      3 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Interesting topic and one's own experience always makes for a great hub. It's like getting expert advice. Thanks. I'm glad you found a solution to your problem.


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