Resources for Coping with Life's Struggles

By Sarah Earles, MS, LPC, NCC | May 31, 2024

Life hurts. There is just no way around it. People can cope with hurt in many ways. Some are unhelpful. Some are helpful. In times of hurt or struggle, access to healthy coping resources is very important. Having a variety of resources available empowers a person to make choices, and in this way, can promote the pursuit of health. Some examples of resources include the following:

1. Co-regulation: Being and feeling seen is important in troubling times. Connection to other humans is vital, not only for survival but also for coping (Khidekel, 2022). This is in part because of the brain’s mirror neurons, which allow a calm person to help “transfer” calm to others (Sabatello, 2021). Presence with others can also increase feelings of safety that help regulate the nervous system (Khidekel, 2022). Not all humans are helpful, but in times of struggle, everyone needs someone.
2. Support Groups: Support groups come in many different fashions and forms. There are online and in-person groups, open and closed groups, caregiver groups, therapy groups, and more (Hoy, n.d.). Support groups can revolve around addiction, as does Alcoholics Anonymous, loving a person with a struggle (such as Al-Anon), being an adoptive or foster parent, being married or unmarried, having a certain health condition, and more. Support groups provide community, encouragement to use resources, and growth through similar shared struggles. Support groups can provide accountability that might not be accessible via other means (Mayo Clinic, 2023). In this way, support groups can be very practical.
3. A Local Church or Community of Faith: Churches can walk with individuals through seasons of suffering and help them access resources (Bondurant, 2022). Churches and communities of faith often have a culture of learning and growth which benefits individuals who want to work towards a reality different from their current one of struggle (Premier Christianity, 2022). Churches can also help remind individuals of truths that can encourage them to keep going.
4. Music: Music can help give language to emotions. Studies have shown that music can provide comfort to people by helping them feel understood, supported, and less alone (Lippman & Greenwood, Schafer, Saarikaillio, & Eerola, 2020). Music congruent with current emotions is validating. Other types of music can be motivating, helping people rise above their circumstances (Dolan, 2019). Music, therefore, can serve as a resource for people in many different seasons of life.
5. Therapy: A therapeutic relationship has interpersonal as well as intrapersonal benefits. Therapy can help build skills, identify triggers, make sense of past hurts, and overcome current and future fears (Lovering, 2022). Therapy can also help increase resilience in the face of struggle (Madeson, 2021). Therapy alone cannot solve all of life’s problems, but it can help.

No resource is right for everyone. No resource is right for a person all the time. Having a variety of resources, however, is helpful. Perhaps this list will point to some new possibilities to help cope with the hard times that will inevitably come.

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Life hurts. There is just no way around it. People can cope with hurt in many ways. Some are unhelpful. Some are helpful. In times of hurt or struggle, access to healthy coping resources is very important. Having a variety of resources available empowers a person to make choices, and in this way, can promote the pursuit of health. Some examples of resources include the following:

1. Co-regulation: Being and feeling seen is important in troubling times. Connection to other humans is vital, not only for survival but also for coping (Khidekel, 2022). This is in part because of the brain’s mirror neurons, which allow a calm person to help “transfer” calm to others (Sabatello, 2021). Presence with others can also increase feelings of safety that help regulate the nervous system (Khidekel, 2022). Not all humans are helpful, but in times of struggle, everyone needs someone.
2. Support Groups: Support groups come in many different fashions and forms. There are online and in-person groups, open and closed groups, caregiver groups, therapy groups, and more (Hoy, n.d.). Support groups can revolve around addiction, as does Alcoholics Anonymous, loving a person with a struggle (such as Al-Anon), being an adoptive or foster parent, being married or unmarried, having a certain health condition, and more. Support groups provide community, encouragement to use resources, and growth through similar shared struggles. Support groups can provide accountability that might not be accessible via other means (Mayo Clinic, 2023). In this way, support groups can be very practical.
3. A Local Church or Community of Faith: Churches can walk with individuals through seasons of suffering and help them access resources (Bondurant, 2022). Churches and communities of faith often have a culture of learning and growth which benefits individuals who want to work towards a reality different from their current one of struggle (Premier Christianity, 2022). Churches can also help remind individuals of truths that can encourage them to keep going.
4. Music: Music can help give language to emotions. Studies have shown that music can provide comfort to people by helping them feel understood, supported, and less alone (Lippman & Greenwood, Schafer, Saarikaillio, & Eerola, 2020). Music congruent with current emotions is validating. Other types of music can be motivating, helping people rise above their circumstances (Dolan, 2019). Music, therefore, can serve as a resource for people in many different seasons of life.
5. Therapy: A therapeutic relationship has interpersonal as well as intrapersonal benefits. Therapy can help build skills, identify triggers, make sense of past hurts, and overcome current and future fears (Lovering, 2022). Therapy can also help increase resilience in the face of struggle (Madeson, 2021). Therapy alone cannot solve all of life’s problems, but it can help.

No resource is right for everyone. No resource is right for a person all the time. Having a variety of resources, however, is helpful. Perhaps this list will point to some new possibilities to help cope with the hard times that will inevitably come.

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References

Bondurant, M. (2022, May 2). How churches can help families in crisis. The Gospel Coalition. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/help-after-crisis/

Dolan, E.W. (2019, August 24). Study finds heroic music stimulates empowering and motivating thoughts. PsyPost. https://www.psypost.org/2019/08/study-finds-heroic-music-stimulates-empowering-and-motivating-thoughts-54308

Hoy, T. (n.d.). Support groups: Types, benefits, and what to expect. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/therapy-medication/support-groups.htm

Khidekel, M. (2022, September 16). Have you ever tried co-regulation? WonderMind. https://www.wondermind.com/article/coregulation/

Lippman, J.R. & Greenwood, D.N. (2012). A song to remember: Emerging adults recall memorable music. Journal of Adolescent Research 27(6). https:/doi.org/10.1177/0743558412447

Lovering, C. (2022, March 29). What are the benefits of therapy? PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-therapy

Madeson, M. (2021, April 23). The importance of counseling: 14 proven benefits of therapy. Positive Psychology. https://positivepsychology.com/why-counseling-is-important/

Mayo Clinic. (2023, March 16). Support groups: Make connections, get help. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/support-groups/art-20044655

Premier Christianity. (2022, October 10). 3 ways the church can support those struggling with mental health. https://www.premierchristianity.com/mental-health/3-ways-the-church-can-support-those-struggling-with-their-mental-health/14005.article

Sabatello, J. (2021). Co-regulation: How just being with someone can help. Healthy Place. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/relationshipsandmentalillness/2021/9/co-regulation-how-just-being-with-someone-can-help

Schafer, K., Saarikallio, S., & Eerola, T. (2020). Music may reduce loneliness and act as social surrogate for a friend: Evidence from an experimental listening study. Music and Science (3)1:1-16. ). https:/doi.org/10.1177/2059204320935709

References

Bondurant, M. (2022, May 2). How churches can help families in crisis. The Gospel Coalition. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/ help-after-crisis/

Dolan, E.W. (2019, August 24). Study finds heroic music stimulates empowering and motivating thoughts. PsyPost. https://www.psypost.org/2019/08/study-finds-heroic-music-stimulates-empowering-and-motivating-thoughts-54308

Hoy, T. (n.d.). Support groups: Types, benefits, and what to expect. HelpGuide.org. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/ therapy-medication/support-groups.htm

Khidekel, M. (2022, September 16). Have you ever tried co-regulation? WonderMind. https://www.wondermind.com/article/ coregulation/

Lippman, J.R. & Greenwood, D.N. (2012). A song to remember: Emerging adults recall memorable music. Journal of Adolescent Research 27(6). https:/doi.org/10.1177/0743558412447

Lovering, C. (2022, March 29). What are the benefits of therapy? PsychCentral. https://psychcentral.com/blog/what-are-the-benefits-of-therapy

Madeson, M. (2021, April 23). The importance of counseling: 14 proven benefits of therapy. Positive Psychology. https://positivepsychology.com/why-counseling-is-important/

Mayo Clinic. (2023, March 16). Support groups: Make connections, get help. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/support-groups/art-20044655

Premier Christianity. (2022, October 10). 3 ways the church can support those struggling with mental health. https://www.premierchristianity.com/ mental-health/3-ways-the-church-can-support-those-struggling-with-their-mental-health/14005.article

Sabatello, J. (2021). Co-regulation: How just being with someone can help. Healthy Place. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/ relationshipsandmentalillness/2021/9/co-regulation-how-just-being-with-someone-can-help

Schafer, K., Saarikallio, S., & Eerola, T. (2020). Music may reduce loneliness and act as social surrogate for a friend: Evidence from an experimental listening study. Music and Science (3)1:1-16. ). https:/doi.org/10.1177/20592043209 35709