Proactive coping is preparing in advance to be upset, angry and disappointed.
Setting yourself up to emotionally thrive in a potentially triggering or stressful situation, knowing that you won’t be in the right mind at the time.
For example, before leaving town to visit your extended family for the weekend, you can activate your healthy support system ahead of time. Perhaps alerting friends or your spouse that you would appreciate a short phone call at the end of each day so you can process things with other people, as opposed to locking yourself in the bathroom with a fifth of whiskey.
Because in many cases, trying to regulate by yourself, you’re stuck in a circle. On the other hand, when you use connectedness as the frame in which to process your experiences, you build a safe container to hold your many feelings and emotions. You practice dancing reality rather than dodging it.
That’s the bigger picture we fail to realize when the adrenaline is pumping and the cortisol is flowing. Whatever is bothering is, it’s not just the issue, it’s the unhealthy coping mechanism we’re using to deal with the stress of the issue. It’s the suffering layered on top of the pain. The second arrow, as it were.
Ask yourself this:
What overwhelming feelings do you have no healthy coping mechanism for?
Plan for that failure in advance. Preselect people whom you can cleanse yourself with. Use them as your lifeline.
That way, when the shit hits the fan, you won’t resort to the unhealthy ways that you’re used to coping with stress.
Save the whiskey for your pecan pie.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What mechanisms can you put into place now so you can execute when the pressure is on?
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