A great deal of therapy centers toss around the language of coping: coping skills, coping thoughts, insight about coping … you get the idea. Understanding all aspects of your coping mechanisms is especially important when dealing with an eating disorder. It can be difficult to be kind and gentle with yourself; and using coping thoughts helps with exactly this. Coping thoughts are reassurances that you can draw on your inner strength once again and overcome whatever is ahead of you causing distress. It is a way to counteract persistent negative thoughts and accompanying feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness. Coping thoughts that have the most power are those that are created by you, but the following list is a good start. Find a few that speak to you and give them a try on a particularly difficult day:
- This situation won’t last forever
- I can be anxious and still deal with the situation
- This too shall pass
- My feelings make me uncomfortable right now, but I can accept them
- It’s okay to feel sad/anxious/afraid sometimes
- So what?
- I am strong enough to handle this
What coping thoughts will you come up with?
Adapted from Mckay, M., Wood, J.C., & Brantley, J. (2007). The Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills Workbook.