Why can’t I just cope if it isn’t bad? Are your coping skills helping you in life or holding you back?
There are different kinds of coping skills or strategies. For example, some focus on emotions, some on problems, some help us to disconnect from stressful circumstances, and others are basically social or religious support systems.
And these things aren’t bad, I mean, they might actually help you to get you through a crisis or two… but are they a good long-term strategy? Well, not if they don’t address the problem!
While they might help us to feel better in the short run, masking our real feelings and emotions does little to empower us to understand what’s happening (and why) in the long run.
Think about it. Counting to ten, taking a walk in a park, stopping a moment to pray, and even cleaning or organizing a messy room may help us avoid lashing out in anger or breaking down in tears. But if that’s all we’re doing, then we’re not actually dealing with the underlying cause.
On today’s episode, I sit down with Brian as he asks the question, “Why can’t I just cope?” An honest question, especially when so many people are feeling triggered and traumatized.
Coping is like wearing designer eyeglasses, instead of getting the corrective surgery you need.
It may feel cool or attract some attention, but if it doesn’t actually fix the problem, then it’ll keep manifesting and get worse over time, leading you to use other coping skills or even vices.
Hope you enjoy this important episode!
Chris LoCurto 0:10
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. I hope you're having a fabulous day, wherever you are. It's a good day here in Tennessee. And joining me on the show again, Brian, Alex from wonderful Cecily. Welcome back to the show. Brian, good to have you back on.
Brian A 0:38
Well back by popular demand of absolutely yes. I say that jokingly, tongue in cheek.
Chris LoCurto 0:50
You are on today because we have a great topic. And I actually am. I'm so looking forward to this. We've not gone heavy into the details. This is something that you wanted to hit and wanted to discuss as an you know, an open discussion. Many of the ones I don't know the details, we go into this, because it's a great idea that you have of just discussing this. And so today we're talking about what we've held so far. So so far,
Brian A 1:17
good. ideas, great ideas. Perfect. It's awesome. Yeah,
Chris LoCurto 1:21
let's see. Turns out Yeah. So today, we're talking about what's wrong with just coping. And so there is so much to this. And we only have a limited amount of time to get to this. But when we come back right after this, we're going to dive in as far as we possibly can, and get to some great information. So we'll be back right after this.
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Chris LoCurto 2:24
I want you to ask yourself a question. Could you hear the sense of hope and freedom and their voice is just that I want you to know, that could be you. Look, it's easy to get trapped in old habits, negative thought patterns and unhealthy relationships, it's gonna take some work. But yes, there is hope for you. If you want to experience the same kind of life transformation, this same kind of self awareness and freedom that they have. Or maybe you're just curious what the process would look like for you, then head on over to Chris accardo.com/next level life.
Chris LoCurto 3:02
All right, Brian, take it away. Explain why we're having this topic.
Brian A 3:07
Well, you know, stress isn't going away. And you know, everyone has various coping skills, strategies for dealing with stress, trauma, just the frustration that we all find in life. But you know, this is something that you and I have discussed numerous times, and especially when I was in Nashville, and going through some really tough times, this topic came up. And even, you know, some funny analogies came up that we'll get into in a minute, but the broad strokes idea is, how do we know how much coping skills are actually helping or hindering our personal and psychological growth? And, you know, looking at different, you know, Psychology Today and other sources, there seems to be, you know, some debate on if it's actually helpful, and to what extent or does it actually mask our feelings and hinder us from dealing and resolving, with what's underneath the surface? And so, yeah, I wanted to get into a few of these because, you know, like I say, I think we probably all have developed certain strategies for dealing with stress, you know, even, you know, when we're young, you know, count to 10 Before you sit, you know, if you can't say something, something nice, don't say, you know, there's this, you know, these little resets that we do, sometimes I'm gonna go take a walk, blow off some steam, go to the gym, CrossFit, wherever, you know, we all have those who go to things a problem is, in moments where that stress doesn't go away or that trauma doesn't get that problem doesn't go away, instead of just other coping skills or amping up those coping. You We can easily go to into vices. In order to continue masking some of those about you, you told a story, I think when I got there about somebody you knew who would immediately start cleaning. I mean, like cleaning baseboards with toothbrush kind of cleaning. I mean, this is that that was a mechanism, right?
Chris LoCurto 5:22
And that is one of the things to understand there's a lot of women who are listening right now that go, Oh, crap, is he talking about me? If that's you? Yes, it's not just one person. It is a lot of folks. So there are a lot for women. What, especially depending upon personality, so a lot of times, it's that high C personality style, high s personality style, but really, usually what it is, is it's something that allows them to be in control during that time. So it's not just one person, it's a ton, right? That's something that Heather used to struggle with, you know, when she felt out of control back in the day, then cleaning was something she would jump on right away, there's so many people who can relate to this. And they don't recognize that there's a lot of other women who are going through this as well, some guys will do it. Usually, if it's a guy who's doing it, it's usually a high C guy. And it usually has something to do with organizing, you know, organizing a garage, you know, a shop or, you know, redoing something that's already been done once before, right? Because what it does is it allows them to feel in control during that timeframe. Now, here's an interesting thing. The amygdala, in the limbic system of your brain, the amygdala actually sets response to situations, I believe it sets response according to how much you're going to respond to a situation. So whether it's just a small amount of stress, or if it's like a heavy duty amount of stress, I believe, and I don't have the scientific data, I only have the scientific data that it does trigger response in, in the amygdala. So what tends to happen is, is that something happens and triggers something, and it could be a happy response, it could be a decent response, it could be going postal, it could be whatever that response is, that happens in your brain, well, here's a funny thing. The amygdala resets every 20 minutes. So if you're able to solve within that 20 minutes, you know, without getting that that situation, re stimulating the amygdala to respond again, then you can get over this usually takes 20 minutes. That's why we go for a walk. That's why we go worked out, that's why we do something for a short period of time to get back in control, because after that amygdala resets, then we can be fine. So that's just without applying anything without putting any tools in place without doing anything, then you can know that usually, and a lot of folks are going oh, my gosh, I know my husband, it takes him about 20 minutes, my wife, it takes her about 20 minutes before they're over a situation unless it resets. And if it resets, then it's another 20 minutes, right. So just kind of understanding that where people use mechanisms or coping mechanisms to get back into control, I'm out of control right now. What's the thing that I can do that I can feel a lot better when it goes to baseboard cleaning, cleaning is one thing when it goes to scrubbing things. And again, it's not one person, we've had many, many folks that have been through that that is a heavy duty stress mechanism. coping mechanism, that's usually tied to something that's heavy duty in their past as well. Because they're feeling really, really, really out of control. And that is something that the focus, the shutting everything out, that really helps them to get into a place of feeling more in control. And I don't know of a time, you know, we've done over 500 NEXT LEVEL lifes I don't know of a time that that level doesn't tie to something in the past as well. So, yeah, there you go. Lots of information.
Brian A 9:09
Yeah. Gosh, yeah, there's, there's so much there that that happens in just a you know, an instant of time. And we go to those strategies, those mechanisms. But, you know, one of the things that that we talked about and was true, at least in my case, it was helpful for me to see that getting back you know, into quote unquote control or, or even just feeling differently than how I was feeling at the moment. A lot of times was for me the knee jerk reaction. It was the goal. I just want to feel different. And that is so dangerous
Chris LoCurto 9:52
a place to be and what moment
Brian A 9:55
Yeah, then how I was feeling in that stress and that trauma and that you No difficult situation. And instead of really digging down and, and sitting with and accepting and understanding my feelings and what they were saying to me what they were indicating to me, I became absorbed in strategies. And I think that was probably part of the conversation, you know, as I'm sitting there talking, and you were in the room, you know, you were noticing, oh, well, this is just all strategies. And you know, maybe that'll, it's kind of like, you know, you've got crutches, but you're not setting the bone straight, or you're, you're wearing designer eyeglasses, but you're not getting the corrective surgery. I mean, it's, it's helpful to a point, but it's not a long term strategy. But it's so easy to get absorbed into those strategies and not the solution. And it ends up occupying a lot of mental space for us that we could be using to really sit in our moment to accept our feelings respond in the way that we want to, you know, and grow through that.
Chris LoCurto 11:08
I remember this now, this is a conversation you and Heather, were having, because you guys had the same, a lot of the same coping techniques of little things that you'll do that helps you to get I remember this night? Yes, yes, the key is, and so I want to make sure everybody understands, I am not saying don't cope. I'm not saying don't use mechanisms, I have to have times where I have to just go like for me to, I don't know if I will call them coping mechanisms, I would say that there are two solution based coping mechanisms. First thing I do is I question the living daylights, why am I feeling this way? What's going on? What am I experiencing? What am I doing wrong here? The second thing is prayer. You know, Lord helped me to overcome this, you know, first first thing I have to get to where most people are looking to blame, shift and guilt transfer somebody else. And it's your fault. It's this thing's fault. It's that nothing ever works. It's this, you know, all this stuff. One of the things I tried to do try, try try try is the key word here is to get to what is my part? What am I doing? What am I struggling with? If I'm struggling with something, if I'm frustrated, why am I frustrated. And if I can get in focus only on me get stopped thinking about the person, I'm frustrated with the situation, I'm frustrated with whatever it is, if I can dig in and find out, then I can ask myself is my response, okay? And if my response isn't okay, and so understand, the guy who teaches this gets frustrated, I had a situation not too long ago dealing with somebody just super pride, heavy based, massive denial, but still seeking to get information and it's like a, I'm frustrated. And it's like, as I'm trying to let go of a conversation going, it's this is pointless. I find myself getting frustrated, the person wouldn't let go the conversation, and I have to go, but I still have an option here. I have a choice. I can do something about this. I can end this but my highest says no, you got to end it. peaceably, which wasn't going to happen. So I have to stop and go Why did I do that? Why did I allow that? What you know, what's the thing that I'm struggling with? And then go to Okay, where's my pride in this? Where's my struggle in this? Where's my, you know, need to be right? Where what what is it? Is it in there is there you know, what can I do about it so to, to make sure everybody understands, there are coping mechanisms that you can do in the moment, I highly suggest a walk. If you're angry, if you're just mad if you're just frustrated, get up and go walk. Your amygdala is operating right now. It's telling you you need to respond in a way that you're responding. You probably do not recognize that you're massively out of control. You may be being rude, a jerk, you may be controlling, manipulative, you might be whatever, anything, right? Because if you're that out of control, then what tends to happen, you tend to try and control people or situations, which means you're probably not being the nicest person on the planet right now. Go for a walk, go do something that's different than like, let's say you're dealing with a stressful situation. Some people go do work out maybe it isn't you being a jerk or controlling or anything like that. Maybe the stressful situations happening. And if you just go get some endorphins going, you'll feel better about yourself. The problem is is what we tend to do is sugar. That is a huge, huge, acceptable coping mechanism for people shove a bunch of sugar in your brain. Why? Because it does the same thing in your brain as cocaine in the pleasure centers. It lights up your pleasure centers the same way. Sugar is acceptable. People keep sugar around all the time. They will just keep you know, tons of sugar in their body. Alcohol, cigarettes. Drugs, control manipulation, you know, avoidance, there's all kinds of things that we do. The big key is, are any of those actually helping you? Maybe it is helping you in the moment. If I eat a candy bar, I might be less stressed in the moment. But does that solve the problem that I'm experiencing? Does that take away? The issue that I'm experiencing? No, of course not. Right now, if your highest you're hoping that by coping and procrastinating this thing is going to disappear? Well, most likely, it's not going to right. So the key is, is what are we going to do about it? You know, if if going for a walk is okay, and that helps you out? Then great, go do that. But then what do you do to fix the problem overall, when you're done with your walk?
Brian A 15:51
Yeah, yeah, no, I think you hit on a kind of a key theme that we returned to time and again, on the show, and that's self awareness and having a healthy understanding of what's happening on the inside of you. And, you know, that was one of the healthiest things that I was starting to learn about in the moment. Because, you know, in my personality style, it can take me a while to dig down and understand exactly what I'm feeling. But if I don't do that hard work, of understanding how I'm feeling, and why I'm reacting the way that I am, in the moment, I'll never grow out of that pattern, I'll never really do a healthy control of myself and my responses. And I think, you know, it's to where, you know, those coping mechanisms may be, you know, depending on, you know, your anger or what's going on, it may hold you back from punching somebody in the throat. And that's a great, you know, a great use of coping in that sense. But there's another sense where, if that pattern continues, the stress is going to compound, and our coping skills are going to have to compound because we still haven't addressed the underlying issues and responses and why am I feeling like this? Is this appropriate for the situation. And we're never going to have that self awareness to be able to really, truly manage our own soul, our own emotions, our own heart and grow through that experience. One
Chris LoCurto 17:31
of the worst coping mechanisms follows victim mentality when you live in coping mechanisms, so here's the thing, man, oh, man, people, please get this. When you only do the coping, and you don't do the solution. What ends up happening is you live in this place of going, why does this all happen to me? Why is this always happening? How can I always have this? How can people always do this? How come this thing is always in victim mentality? Just racist, right in and next thing, you know, every situation is happening to you. Right? Yeah. And so this is the big key about, man, if you can get to solution, and even if you're feeling like a victim in the moment, but you can get to a place of solution, then the great thing is, is that you start seeing the situation, and the options that you have, when I'm in this conversation with somebody who's just being super prideful and controlling, I have the ability to get out of the conversation, and I've done it a bajillion times. It's tougher, usually when it's somebody I love dearly, you know, because I want to help that person. I want to help everybody. But if I don't know you that it's a heck of a lot easier for me to go, I'm sorry, I'm done with this conversation, right? When it's somebody who's super close to me, then it's it's tougher, because I'm hoping to get to resolution for that person, right. But I still have the option. So for somebody who does what I do for a living, imagine where you'd already know this, I get attacked all the time. When I'm pushing on somebody to help them to overcome something. Quite often, the attack comes my direction, right? So if I'm pointing out something that hurts or something that's painful, hey, you know, here's something that you are struggling with, or here's something that you said, or here's something that you're doing. Well, people don't you know, even though they come to us to try and solve this stuff, it doesn't mean it's not going to be a hurtful moment. So sometimes they attack. Well, if I didn't live in the, hey, this isn't about me. This is about this person's struggle, understand what they're going through, have a heart teach love, then we wouldn't have a business. I mean, we really wouldn't be able to do it. We do right which is also another reason why it's the next level facilitator role is the toughest hire I've ever had in my life is getting somebody who can get rid of tough, because you have to be able to be in that moment and go what's healthy? What's okay? What's acceptable, what's absolutely not about me, what is about this person's struggle, their you know, whatever it is, and go through all of those pieces, and then try and put something together and help that person? Well as the individual, if you're the individual, you have to recognize that if you do not stop just coping, then eventually you become a victim, you become somebody who all of these things can I don't understand why this is always happening to me, Well, it's simple. You haven't put in healthy boundaries with that person, you haven't stopped doing this thing that is affecting you in a negative way, you haven't created a better opportunity to not experience these negative things when they happen. So it's important to know coping is not bad. In the moment, if we can get through the moment I'd really rather you actually try and face the situation and solve it. But if your brain can't get there, because you're stuck, go cope, do something, not drugs, not alcohol, not that's fair is usually huge. That works well for me. And let's get back and solve this so that you don't become a lifelong victim.
Brian A 21:18
Yeah, no, I love the sense of responsibility that goes along with that and taking ownership. And that, you know, that is real control to use that word is, is we're in control of our thoughts. We're in control of our words and actions, we're in control of our responses, not the other person, not the situation. And when we're feeling out of control, it is so healthy. It's so like you said, it's so hard to do in the moment sometimes, but it's so healthy, if we can get there. You know, when you were saying earlier just about asking yourself that question, you know, stop thinking about the other person stop thinking about the situation self assess, why am I feeling this way, I can just hear my own, you know, victim mentality, because that's something that they did to me, she said this, or he said that they did this, or this guy just cut me off in traffic. And that's why I'm responding this way. Okay, well, that's still that victim, just that that sense of egocentric selfishness. And that victim could comes out immediately, even when we start that self assessment process. And so, you know, it's, it's so cool, because we've got some episodes, I don't know if you you've heard already, but we've got some episodes that we're developing. And there are going to be one is going to be on the lies that victims tell themselves. And the other is lies that villains tell themselves because each of us toggle back and forth, in where we you know, we can easily be aggressive, abusive towards others, or everything's happening to us. And we're going to examine those lies and build the contrast there to help us do exactly what we're talking about right now get to that healthier place quicker each time, by self assessing and taking responsibility for our selves.
Chris LoCurto 23:12
I love it. I love it. Yeah, that is fantastic. Actually, I look forward to those those will be some great episodes.
Brian A 23:19
Well, I can't wait to see what you're going to say. And that's going to be helpful to me as well. So thank you for doing what you do. Now, I appreciate you having this conversation with me. Because I've been thinking about that a lot lately. And this goes back at you know, a few years now. But just remembering I can't allow myself to get stuck in these coping strategies, coping mechanisms and not do the real work of sitting in the moment, accepting what's happening, accepting these feelings, asking myself those tough questions. Where is this coming from? Is this appropriate? What do I need to do different, but man, that's it takes a lot of hard work, it takes a lot of practice, self awareness grows, even my own self esteem from the fact that I'm taking responsibility for myself. But it's all kind of counterintuitive, because our knee jerk reaction is to point the finger outward, not accept responsibility, be the victim, make it everybody else's fault, that I'm out of control in this moment, and we never grow and it's hard to even sit and see what's happening in the moment. But that is a fabulous first step to be able to take ownership and to grow through these things and get rid of those coping. I mean, you know, we got to distinguish here I'm sure between coping and you know, you need to exercise you need to clean your house, you need to organize things you need to take a walk you need to All
Chris LoCurto 24:48
right, that's a great point that you bring up. So something that is super important for people to understand is that you know what, one of the things that we are doing with the ridge you know, a big Part of what we're trying to accomplish is to one move our business to this place that's in a healthier environment, healthier food, you know, livestock that's being raised is non GMO, no corn, no soy, the very things that are affecting so many people on the planet, you know,
Chris LoCurto 25:20
beyond organic vegetables, all that kind of stuff. A big part of that is because people are pumping themselves full of crap. So there's, there's a couple things we have to understand about our body. If you don't have quality fats, your brain needs quality, clean fats, not fats pumped full of, of antibiotics, not fats pumped full of chemicals, right? Not fats that are full of bad grains. And you know, we don't do corn, we don't do soy 94 to 96% of the world's soy is genetically altered. I mean, that's something you have to understand. And it's everywhere. It's not only in foods, but it's in things in your home, right. So the reason why I'm saying all this is we put crap in sugar, oh, my gosh, sugar is destroying your gut bacteria, your microbiome, the microbiota in your stomach and your gut, in your intestines gets destroyed by sugar and allows bad bacteria to grow. Why is all that important? We've we've talked about this on many shows in the past, so we have plenty of health episodes. So if you've not listened to those go back and search those. Here's what I'm talking about this. When I put junk in my body, it affects my emotions. When I'm feeding myself, crap, my mental state response now there are you know, I've said before that there's more serotonin comes from your stomach? Well, the studies now are saying that there is 400 to 500 times more serotonin in your stomach, than in your brain, there's 400 to 500 times more melatonin in your stomach than in your brain. Why is this important? Because your brain is sending sick or your stomach is sending signals to your brain. So as as research continues to grow and understand this, we need to recognize that when we put crap in our gut, it sends signals to our brain and we respond. Sometimes we respond with heavy duty emotion, whenever you've seen somebody that has just a poor diet, they're usually heavily emotional. They struggle. They have ups and downs, you know, they have roller coaster days, they might have a good five minutes right now, but then they're like tanking 10 minutes later, when you don't get quality sleep when you starve yourself, Oh, I'm only going to eat this tiny amount of food because I'm watching my weight. And next thing you know, you have got these terrible mood swings and spikes in your body because you're not eating well, right? There's great studies coming out right now on a probiotic strain. That is actually proving how much even healthy people eating healthy foods still have insulin spikes, and drops, right? That even if you're eating something healthy, you can have that insulin spike. Well imagine if it's pure crap. What am I saying? If you could be working on solving problems in your life, you could be working on great things wanting to be the best person on the planet. And if you're putting crap in your system, chemicals, toxins, sugars, bad processed foods, then you're setting yourself up to really struggle when you struggle. So it's one thing for me to be in a situation and get frustrated because something happens and then I can deal with it, I can solve it. But if I'm if I physically messed myself up my emotions up because of bad stuff in my body. Now it's multiplied how emotional I'm going to respond to that situation. It's just like, think about alcohol. Everybody who's ever made bad decisions while drinking. Well, why do you make worse decisions what you're drinking than what you're not drinking? Because your feelings, thoughts, emotions are all impaired by this toxin that's in your body right at that moment, right and listen, I am somebody who really enjoys the glass of wine. I'm not saying don't drink. I'm saying Be smart. You know the stuff that Heather and I drink is so natural. No sulfites added, no sugars added no genetically altered yeast. By the way, most of California's wines are now using genetically altered yeast. Think about that. We don't pump that crap on our bodies. But if we go out to a restaurant once in a great while and have a glass of wine, we feel it the next day. We can tell there's a difference in what's happening in our body. So, I'm glad you brought that up. It's not just hey, deal with your emotions, only take a look at how you're setting yourself up to react to a bad situation, what happens when we know we're going to step into a bad situation? Let's say we're going to a family outing or something. And in a couple of days, what is our diet look like? Usually, a few days before that pure crap. Why? Because we're dealing with our emotions that we're preparing to go deal with our emotions for. So we handle the emotions, then, and then we dump a bunch of crap on our body to go deal with the situation. It's just terrible. It's just terrible.
Brian A 30:37
Ya know, it's so it's so powerful to realize that we can be setting ourselves up for success, or we can be putting a stumbling block in our path every day, with the routines that we have the diet, the exercise, all of that our body. And that gut, like you said, the second brain, as it's called, has a lot to do with our reactions, or overreactions, under reactions, all of that. And that is so powerful. We do have some health episodes under development, we have a health series coming up later in the fall. I'm excited to get you and Heather on the show talking about that. It's going to be super fun. But man, thanks for spending the time and unpacking this. I hope this is helpful to folks that are used to just coping and getting by, but never digging underneath the surface to resolve. Maybe this is a catalyst for them to head in that right direction.
Chris LoCurto 31:38
Yeah. And you know what, folks, if you're listening to this, and you're like, Okay, this is great, but I have questions. Send them in podcast at Chris liccardo.com. As you listen to something on like this, and you're like, Well, what do I do about or how do I handle or you know, whatever it is, you can always send us questions, so that we can help out with that. So send those podcasts at Chris liquido.com. And we will do our best to answer all of that. Well, Brian, thank you again for such a fabulous idea and a great conversation. I think this is so powerful and so helpful. So thanks for joining me have a fabulous evening. As we are getting on with the morning of our day. Have a fabulous evening and we will be talking soon. I hope so. Well folks, hopefully this has helped you today. As always take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.