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  • Sabrina Trobak

Coping Stratgies

Coping Strategies

Anything a person does is a coping strategy. There are healthy coping strategies, neutral coping strategies and unhealthy coping strategies. Coping strategies provide a way for us to do just that,

cope. Coping strategies are distractions, something we do to help us sort through something, distract from something, avoid something or take a break.

Coping Strategies and Core Belief

In the previous newsletter we discussed a person’s core belief. If a person’s core belief is not good enough, not important, not valued, unloved, he/she is going to gravitate to coping strategies that support that core belief. The core belief of not good enough, not

important, not valued, unloved is going to create unhealthy coping strategies. However is the core belief is good enough, important, valued and loved, the person will typically use more healthy coping strategies.

This makes stopping coping strategies much more challenging because they will reflect the core belief. So if a person stops smoking (coping strategy) there is a high chance it will be replaced

with another unhealthy coping strategy, a common one that replaces smoking is eating. It is also common for people who stop drinking alcohol to start gambling. Drinking and smoking are unhealthy coping strategies. When a person stops using one it is replaced with another unhealthy coping strategy.

Common Coping strategies

There are many, many coping strategies. Here is a list of some common ones.


cigarettes, vaping, chew



spending money




too much coffee


eating too little

self harming

giving up




suicidal thoughts














social media


cell phone






twisting hair


unhealthy relationships

How Coping Strategies are used.

While some coping strategies are always unhealthy (cocaine, heroin, stealing etc), for many coping strategies, it’s more about how the coping strategies are used that decide if the coping

strategy is healthy or unhealthy. Reading, for example, is often thought of as a healthy coping strategy, but not always. If a person is reading 8-10 hours a day and prefers living in the

fantasy world of books to real life, then reading isn’t a healthy coping strategy.

This is similar with exercise, it is often considered a healthy coping strategy. However, if a person is exercising many hours a day and avoids life by exercising, it isn’t a healthy coping strategy.

Similarly, alcohol is often considered an unhealthy coping strategy but if it is a drink or two every now and then, it can be a more healthy coping strategy. Gaming is also considered an unhealthy coping strategy but if a person is playing video games for a couple hours every now and then and is still getting out and doing things and socializing it can be a healthy coping strategy.

The Key

The key to figuring out if a coping strategy is healthy or not, is looking at the intensity of how it is

used. If it used to the extreme, it is likely more unhealthy. If it is used in moderation and there is a balance, it is likely more of a healthy coping strategy.

When the coping strategies are more extreme, this is when they can become addictions. Any of the coping strategies can become an addiction if they are used in a more extreme or obsessive way. Addictions are very challenging to break and often professional support can be beneficial in learning to manage addictions.

Coping Strategies are Necessary

Coping strategies are necessary. They help us cope with things and take a break

from all that is happening around us. We need to be able to shut off our brain for a

bit and not think about all the things happening around us. The more healthy

the coping strategy the

is also important to make sure that once

we use a coping strategy, we go back and sort through the stuff we needed to take a

break from.

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