The Invisible Tool Bag is perfect storage for your coping skills. Whether you are anxious or depressed, angry or grieving, your invisible tool bag can hold all of those coping strategies that you need to deal with your specific concern or situation. Imagine for a moment that you have a tool bag filled with all the coping skills that you may need to handle a problem or concern. Chronic pain? There are coping skills in there for you. Relationship struggles? There are special communication tools ready to be used at a moment’s notice.
According to the University of California, San Francisco (MacArthur SES & Health Network, July 1998) , “coping strategies refer to the specific efforts, both behavioral and psychological, that people employ to master, tolerate, reduce, or minimize stressful events.” For anxiety, coping skills may include a variety of breathing techniques or meditation practices. If your issue is related to chronic pain, your invisible tool bag may include massage therapy or warm water therapy routines. When grieving, a helpful coping skill may be participation in a local grief support group or perhaps cultivation of a memory garden in honor of a lost loved one. The Invisible Tool Bag is a helpful image to use when gathering, organizing and storing coping skills that are specific and unique to your needs. No two invisible tool bags are alike. It is important to seek out coping skills that are useful and effective for you. Individualized coping skills can be added to your invisible tool bag with ease. Personally, my belief is that we can never have too many coping skills available. When faced with a troubling situation or feeling, having a variety of coping skills to choose from can have immense value.
In order to emphasize the incredible variety of coping skills available, three very different examples are highlighted below.
- 4:8 breathing is a very useful breathing technique to help to reduce anxiety and stress. This coping skill can also be used to increase relaxation. For a demonstration of this technique, I invite you to listen to my video on YouTube called Just Breathe. You can be linked to this video by clicking HERE.
- Cognitive Reframing is a tool used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). In essence, reframing is a technique where someone sees or thinks about something in a negative way…and looks for alternative ways to view this thought or situation. In the substance abuse treatment world, reframing is looking for alternative ways to change one’s “stinkin’ thinkin’,” such as when someone is depressed or angry.
- Following along with our theme of The Invisible Tool Bag, the third coping skill highlighted comes in the form of a video by The Skit Guys, called “God’s Chisel.” This video has very thought-provoking ideas about how God can help us when we want or need to change. To see this powerful skit, click on GOD’S CHISEL.
Whatever coping skills you decide to place in your Invisible Tool Bag, make sure they are useful for your needs. Use them often. Keep your tools clean and serviceable. You never know when you may need one at a moment’s notice. Update your coping skills periodically. If you take care of them, they will take care of you.