The Importance of Coping Skills
Everyone has coping skills. Coping skills are the thoughts you have or behaviors you perform to reduce or eliminate something undesirable.
The undesirable something could be a person, a negative situation, pain or psychological stress. If you want to make something better, a coping skill is what you need.
Positive vs Negative Coping
It must be noted, though, that not all coping skills are created equally. They generally fit into two categories: negative coping skills and positive coping skills.
Negative coping skills are ones that may improve the targeted stress, but in turn, will add increased stress later or will trigger the creation of a new stress. Imagine you are afraid of heights, and you need a coping skill to deal with this. Your coping skill is to no longer drive over bridges. Problem solved. No more bridges means no more stress, fear or anxiety. But what if your job is across a bridge? This is an example of a negative coping skill. It reduced immediate anxiety but increased stress and raised new concerns, like paying bills.
Conversely, positive coping skills are thoughts or behaviors that lead to desirable outcomes in the present and the future. Imagine that you are having a conflict with someone at work. You decide to assertively have a conversation with them about the issue while listening carefully and respecting their point of view. This works to resolve the problem and sets the stage for future disagreements to be approached in a similar fashion. You win in the present and in the future. Positive coping skills are always the way to go.
Despite the fact that positive copings skills lead to better results than negative coping skills, people tend to use negative ones often. The contradictory notion is simply explained: positive coping skills are difficult and negative ones are easy.
Positive coping skills require thoughtfulness, intelligence, hard work, insight, empathy, consistency and may add more stress to your life temporarily. Choosing to not drive over the bridge to work is easy. It takes no work, no planning and adds no stress to your life in the short-term. Consider a negative coping skill for the second example. It would have been easier to avoid your coworker and hope the problem vanished. Problems never do, though.
This is where your overactive bladder (OAB) comes into the conversation. Your OAB causes undeniable levels of stress in your life. With this being true, you have a decision to make. Do you want your OAB symptoms and the resulting stress to improve or worsen? Of course, you want symptoms and stressors to improve, but do your coping skills match this desire? Do you avoid, ignore and escape or do you confront your stress in direct, practical ways?
Next page: common negative coping skills used by people with OAB.