Updated: Mar 10
My Own Personal Coping Skills Toolbox
by, Erica Ives
So a toolbox may or may not be the best visual for you, but for now, just go with it. I like the simplicity and logical nature of this metaphor in that tools used to fix things are kept in the toolbox. Once you have read this through, then create your own visual.
So what goes in that toolbox? Well, many different tools because different situations require different coping tools. And even more specifically, you may need several different types of the same tool. Although, the task may require a screwdriver you still have to determine if it is a Flathead or Phillip's head. Or if you need a drill, you still have to choose the right size drill bit. So, you need to keep adding new tools to that box and that if one doesn’t work, then you may need to try another- just have as many as you can readily access. One coping skill, such as journaling, maybe just what you need to walk through an urge. However, after a fight with your significant other, friend, or even your parent, you may try to journal and find it is just not working for you. If you know though that writing really helps you calm down though then you may find that writing an uncensored letter that you rip up afterward, worked better than straight journaling. This is an example of using the same tool, the screwdriver (i.e. writing), but there is just a need to change the type of screwdriver (i.e. letter writing that includes a direct focus instead of journaling). This is to be expected. The important part is that you are willing to go to that toolbox and try a different one.
You may need to practice some deep breathing, or pick up the phone and call someone for support, or listen to some music that brings hope (not the music you listen to that only confirms how bad you’re feeling in the first place). Just remember though to keep adding to the toolbox. Sure, the toolbox may need some spring-cleaning and there may be some old ones that you know will no longer work and may need to even be disposed of, but keep in mind that you can always buy another toolbox.
All my best,