This is a phrase we use all the time in mental health. But what does it really mean? In psychology, coping is expending conscious effort to solve personal and interpersonal problems, and seeking to master, minimize or tolerate stress or conflict.
In reality, coping is the shit we do to get through. It can be anything. There are only 2 important things to keep in mind: 1) it has to help you manage the stress or conflict, 2) it cannot be harmful to yourself or others.
There is a list of 99 coping skills, but this in no way covers all the possibilities.
This is a vague term and can really mean little to those of us struggling to get through the day. But the thing to keep in mind is that coping skills are what get us through the day. The trick is making sure they are ones we really want in our life. When you get stressed, do you yell at your kids? Do you take a shot of vodka? Do you have an extra cigarette? These are things that can cause us harm. We have to decide if the benefit we get from them are worth the cost. When is comes to yelling at or lashing out at our loved ones, it is not only us that is paying the price.
But there are plenty of things that we can do to help us without hurting anyone. I myself find that positive self talk goes a long way. I also find there is power in a to-do list. Not only does it help me remember all the crap I have to get done that day, it gives me a little boost when I can scratch something of the list.
Coping is the shit we do to get through.