Run for Your Life – Coping Skills Matter

Energized marathon runners dressed in fun costumes with smiles on their faces, I could hardly believe my eyes. I said to my husband, “They do not even look tired after running 23 miles; they had another three miles to go.


We were meeting family at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it was an unexpected surprise to see a crowd of people running through the Park. Those leading the pack appeared to be running effortlessly. We watched for a little while and cheered them on. Two hours later we came back to that spot as the last of the runners passed the 23 mile mark. These runners looked tired but still had smiles on their faces and appreciated our cheers that said, “Keep going; you can do it.” We even cheered the people riding on several trams.

I felt excited to witness these courageous people, young and old, who took on this challenge. All of them were heroes to me. They set a BIG goal for themselves, planned and trained and showed up to do their best. BRAVO!

Seeing those marathon runners reminds me that life is one big marathon. We go the distance with ease and vitality based on our training—the diversity and quality of our copings skills. Those who adapt health affirming life skills are able to: 1) manage their thoughts and emotions; 2) become effective decision makers; 3) set and accomplish goals; 4) get through life’s challenges more easily; 5) have satisfying relationships; and 6) create lives filled with purpose and passion.

Addictive patterns like smoking, drinking, overeating, shopping, gambling, and more, distract us from ourselves. They also have negative consequences and can shorten our lives. Positive coping techniques include strategies that enable us to manage and reduce stress, challenge our thinking, change our emotions, and make choices that lead toward personal satisfaction.

These basic coping strategies will enable you to live well longer:

Change your behavior– To Manage a stressful situation or relationship, you can 1) change the stressor; 2) avoid the stressor; or 3) accept it the way it is. If you accept it, you need to change your perception of the stressor and build up your resistance to stress.

  • Change your perception by challenging and changing unrealistic expectations and irrational beliefs.
  • Build up resistance to stress: physically (get enough healthy food, sleep and exercise); socially (get the support you need from others); spiritually (develop beliefs and do activities that uplift you); and mentally (focus on positive outcomes).

Change your thinking– 1) Challenge your negative self-talk because self-talk empowers or diminishes you. Remember to back yourself no matter what is happening in your life. An affirmation might be: “It is OK to make mistakes while learning, and we are all learning.” 2) Redefine the situation (reframe) in order to cultivate a positive attitude. For example, loss of your job can be viewed as an opportunity to find a job closer to home.

With a mind free of distorted and limiting thinking, you will be able to develop effective decision making skills. These skills prepare you to assess the real problem, identify possible solutions, evaluate consequences, and take effective action.

Other effective mindful exercises are: guided imagery, affirmations, breathing techniques, journaling, and more.

Change your emotions – Manage emotions by allowing them to move through you without judging them. Negative emotions are a sign that something is not right. These strategies will help you turn negative emotions into stepping stones toward personal growth and empowerment:

  • Find the message in the emotion and apply a correction or solution. You will know what to do to take care of yourself better.
  • Acknowledge the emotion and just let it go—surrender it to a Higher Power to be healed. You will learn to trust that something greater than yourself is working with you.
  • Move through turbulent emotions before making important decisions; your choices will lead to positive outcomes instead of disappointments.

These strategies are also effective in managing your emotions: exercise, sleep, diet, meditation, distractions, supplements and if all else fails prescription drugs.

People who have effective life and coping skills lead the pack in the marathon of life, and they do it effortlessly. With effective coping skills in place, you will run your marathon with ease. Be a part of the front runners and become an inspiration for those who struggle with life. Life challenges are meant to help us grow in love, power and wisdom. Take the challenge!

As a life coach, I can help you go the distance in creating the life you want with ease and grace. Please contact me for your free “Live Your Best Life” coaching session.

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