WEEK 6: Coping Strategies
Today’s session, on coping, builds on the positive coping techniques we have been practicing so far, relaxation and autogenic training, awareness of our thoughts and cognitive restructuring, and the use of desensitisation to help us overcome the natural tendency to avoid challenging situations.
We aim to increase your awareness of the different coping strategies you are currently using, to evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies, and to develop ways to broaden your coping strategies.
Coping - a word about the word:
“I just coped with it” implies a negative experience of being able to do nothing about a situation but accept and tolerate it – whereas:
“The situation is bad, but fortunately I am able to cope with it” implies having the skills to maintain an air of mastery over a challenge.
Task: Take a few moments to consider:
How do you define coping?
What are your coping resources?
Do you feel that your coping resources are effective?
We can view stress as a mismatch between the demands placed on us and our resources to manage these.
We usually think of stress as being the result of too many pressures, but having too little to challenge, occupy or interest us, which is sometimes the case with a chronic medical condition, can also be a source of stress.
Recall our emphasis on our cognitive appraisal of the situation. We become stressed when we appraise our skills as being mismatched to the demands, often we feel that our skills and abilities are inadequate for the task.
We cope by changing, either changing:
the way we think about a situation – which you will recognise as cognitive restructuring, or
changing our behaviour in the situation
Coping Strategies we have already practiced:
Increasing awareness of our stress patterns
Noticing and altering unhelpful thoughts/cognitions
Please read the documents provided below which talk further about the types of coping strategies we can use to build our resistance to stress. Also complete the exercises mentioned in these documents.
Week 6 Exercises
Coping with IBD may become easier if our sleep is not disturbed. Good quality sleep helps the body regenerate and improves mood. Please read the below document on how to cope with sleeping difficulties resulting from worrying.