Cope Ahead Skill
The Cope Ahead skill is intended to have us consider how we might be prepared in some way to help us reduce stress ahead of the time. When we are asked to do some task, it is helpful to think through to the completion of the task. All of us at one time or another have had to give a presentation. Before the presentation, we likely wrote up some notes or did some research on the subject. We do this in order to increase our chances of communicating a message to others successfully. This is an example of coping ahead of time.
- 1Describe the situation that is likely to prompt uncomfortable emotions. Check the facts. Be specific in describing the situation. Name the emotions and actions likely to interfere with using your skills.
- 2Decide what coping or problem-solving skills you want to use in the situation. Be specific. Write out in detail how you will cope with the situation and with your emotions and action urges.
- 3Imagine the situation in your mind as vividly as possible. Imagine yourself in the situation now, not watching the situation.
- 4Rehearse in your mind coping effectively. Rehearse in your mind exactly what you can do to cope effectively. Rehearse your actions, your thoughts, what you say, and how to say it. Rehearse coping effectively with new problems that come up. Rehearse coping effectively with your most feared catastrophe.
- 5Practice relaxation after rehearsing.
Ken sent his resume and cover letter to a company for a position and was offered an interview. He used the Cope Ahead Skill to prepare for the interview.
Ken reviewed his resume and the job description and listed the skills he had already mastered. He also researched the company and prepared a list of questions to ask about the company. He realized he would likely feel anxiety and thought about how he had faced tougher situations than this in the past. He imagined how he would calm himself so that he would do well in the interview.