Coping Skills Practice Exercise

Coping Skills and Brain Works Project lessons on this website are designed to prepare pre-teens to better understand and effectively cope with adolescent brain and behavior changes and everyday stress that challenges their coping capability. As we approach the teenage years and middle school the students brain and body are also starting to prepare for the transition from being a child to becoming an adult. During this second decade of life, a pre-teen's sense of well-being and coping confidence will be challenged like never before. Adolescent brain and emotional changes are inevitable. But they often result in one of life’s most challenging periods for dealing with stress, upsets and worry.

Whenever we experience emotional distress arising from the four core wounding experiences - loss, rejection, betrayal and humiliation - we have a choice of "hiding" from or ignoring these upsetting experiences or using our coping brain functions to deal with them. To some degree every pre-teen and teenager must learn to deal with these difficult challenges by learning how their coping brain can deal with its own operation as well as respond to everyday upsets, emotional confusion and stress.

What does the term «coping brain» mean?

Every time we are challenged by new or upsetting experiences our brain must come up with ways to deal with our stress or worry. We need all three coping brain functions:

  • thinking;
  • feeling;
  • self-protection.

Training our brain to use health coping methods means we can heal our own emotional wounds so we also feel better about ourselves. And if you have any questions, ask us!

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Principles for Developing our Coping Ability

The pre-teen years are the best time to learn these skills and begin to use simple, brain-based coping tools. During this time our brain is rapidly developing and our thinking ability becomes more like an adult. These skills and tools give us the power to control our stress and get over daily upsets. We learn coping skills like we learn math, English or music. Coping is like learning a new language. Many of the terms are quite simple to learn (see Resources & Activities), but only through practice can we improve our coping ability . Let's start by introducing some basic coping principles.

Humans are born with instinctive coping IMPULSES, but we have to learn coping SKILLS. All of us are born with strong survival brain instincts that help us to stay alive when we were helpless and totally depended on mother (and dad). While our reptilian and emotional brain coping impulses are pretty well developed at birth, our thinking neocortex needs time to develop since it s what we use to learn difficult things including coping skills.
By using neocortex to “figure out” how to cope with challenges we create new brain coping cells. Each time we challenge our thinking brain to understand why we feel upset, we also become smarter in the way we act and respond to stress. Each coping success brings greater confidence that tells us we CAN get over our next upset more easily.
Ignoring or just storing our hurt feelings can be a dangerous coping habit. Once we sense our feelings are hurt by something that happens, trying to ignore it doesn"t make it go away. It only buries the pain more deeply in our emotional brain memory system, where it can challenge and threaten our sense of safety and even the ability to like our self.

 

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