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Make a Coping Card

Everyone should have a coping card. Because life never goes perfectly. Life can be awesome, then crazy, boring, uncomfortable, settled, and then explosive all before you get to work or school! I call these speed bumps. I hate speed bumps, I never know how slow to go over them, I usually don’t spot them in time and fly out of control. Kind of like life. Is there a way we can learn how to handle those speed bumps, is there a way to prevent a crisis or accident waiting to happen.

Dr. David Rudd, Dr. Craig Bryan and Anne Moss work in suicide prevention. This card is an edited version of the “Coping Card” used in CRP or Crisis Response Plan. This one is for anybody, at any time.

1. Reasons for living. List at least 2 plus have a key date or word that can bring forth a happy image. My favorite is Nov. 6, 1999 because it’s my wedding day! Still on my honeymoon.

The reason for living portion of the card is the part that studies have shown is the most effective in reminding people what’s important in life. So, while this is a coping card for everyone, I kept “reasons for living” as the title but you can name it whatever you want, as long as it has the same meaning. When identifying what a reason for you might be for living, think about what’s most important to you. Depending on where you are in life, maybe it’s a pet, a sport or a place. Make it specific to you.

2. Healthy coping strategies. Important these are healthy coping strategies. Stop and think will this strategy help me or hurt me? Like every time I get stressed, I get a drink of wine, it’s only one or two glasses. In reality, you are dependent on the wine, or worse addicted, you gain weight from the excessive sugar, it impairs your driving ability, and functioning. More than likely your problem will come back in full force, with no change to the circumstances. Your goal is to have a full list of things that you can choose from. The more the better! It could be as simple as square breathing, in for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds, in for 4 seconds, out for 4 seconds. You could journal or write, color or paint, reading something for fun or even the Bible, you could go for a hike or a walk, pet your favorite animal, listen to your favorite music, dance, these are just a few of the coping skills. Find what works for you, start out with the easiest, take baby steps. Then celebrate each thing you try and like! Pat yourself on the back and shout whoo hoo!

3. Name 2 trusted adults. No matter what your age is, who are your 2 trusted adults that you can call at anytime of the day or night? Adult here is defined as anyone over 25 you trust to talk through private issues from wanting to change your major to going through a divorce. Just 2 regular people, who really know how to listen. If you’re a teen, it doesn’t have to be a parent but it can be. The reason why adults are defined as those over 25 is that people over this age typically have fully developed frontal lobes, meaning the most logical thinking part of their brain is fully developed. You also need to make sure this adult is a sounding board, but doesn’t just jump on your band wagon. People will commiserate with you and make you feel justified in your circumstance, you need the person who will listen fully, not judge, and remind you to ask those tough questions. Is this true or real? Is this what really happened? Is that what they said or what you think they might say?

4. Crisis Support Resources. These are numbers you can call in a crisis or even before it becomes critical. The Crisis Hotline is now 988. Sometimes being able to reach out, even by text (741-741) to a trained professional. Check out local support groups. They may be held at churches, or clinics. NAMI—National Alliance for Mental Illness , AFSP—American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, AAS—American Association of Suicidology, BHR—Behavioral Health Resources. Knowing these resources and where you can find them can help you in times of Crisis.

5. List your WINS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Use the back of the card to make your list. This list is to remind you things that you are good at, as well as any accomplishments. Sometimes, when we get down on ourselves, we forget all our wins! This is your reminder. You should have a daily list you create each night. When I think I can’t…this serves to remind me what I can!

This simple card is helpful only if you do it before you need it! If you need further assistance or coaching contact Brenda Saxe

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