From Surviving to Thriving – The Practical Side

Coping skills, calming strategies, calming techniques, therapists have used many terms over the years to describe how we manage stress. “Coping skills” is the term I heard most in grad school; however, one of my favorite mentors often uses the phrase “calming strategies”… and I have grown to like it.

Coping, in my opinion, has a less than flowery connotation. Coping smacks of getting by, hanging on, or riding it out. Calming oneself denotes caring for oneself, taking the time to focus and cultivating peace.  The difference between coping and calming is similar to the difference between surviving and thriving. 

I have heard people say in passing, “I am just trying to survive” and then laugh. And while that is true to some extent, all of us deep down want to do more than survive. We want to grow, flourish and thrive.  The question is, how do we get from surviving to thriving? How do we become good at calming ourselves and prioritizing the time to do things that feed our bodies and our minds.

The first step always involves taking inventory. On a daily basis would you say you are surviving your life, or thriving? Are you simply coping with day-to-day challenges or are you using skills and strategies to create space, calm and peace in your life? Perhaps you have just been hit with a major life stressor and are not coping at all, much less thriving. Don’t worry. We can help.

If you realize that you are not coping well and definitely not thriving, the next step is to look at what you are doing (or not doing) to contribute to your overall mental health. Are you allowing space on a daily, weekly, monthly basis to care for yourself? Are you too busy to work on you? Or maybe you are making negative choices that are sabotaging your peace…such as staying up too late, drinking too much alcohol or engaging with toxic people.

The third step to carving your path towards more peace is learning and implementing the skills needed to achieve an undercurrent of calm. This one often requires support and that is why we are here. Our seasoned clinicians are able to provide the expertise and empathy you need to not only cope with problems, but learn how to thrive during trying times. Our therapists will help you recognize your own strengths and then add skills to these so that you can learn how to not only manage difficult life seasons, but experience moments of rest and peace during them.

In the personal blog on this piece, I will speak more about finding calm, peace and joy in the every day. For now, if you need to speak with someone, please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced mental health counselors.


Yolanda Brailey