Energized marathon runners dressed in fun costumes with smiles on their faces, I could hardly believe my eyes. I said to my husband, “They do not even look tired after running 23 miles; they had another three miles to go.

We were meeting family at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and it was an unexpected surprise to see a crowd of people running through the Park. Those leading the pack appeared to be running effortlessly. We watched for a little while and cheered them on. Two hours later we came back to that spot as the last of the runners passed the 23 mile mark. These runners looked tired but still had smiles on their faces and appreciated our cheers that said, “Keep going; you can do it.” We even cheered the people riding on several trams.

I felt excited to witness these courageous people, young and old, who took on this challenge. All of them were heroes to me. They set a BIG goal for themselves, planned and trained and showed up to do their best. BRAVO!

Seeing those marathon runners reminds me that life is one big marathon. We go the distance with ease and vitality based on our training—the diversity and quality of our copings skills. Those who adapt health affirming life skills are able to: 1) manage their thoughts and emotions; 2) become effective decision makers; 3) set and accomplish goals; 4) get through life’s challenges more easily; 5) have satisfying relationships; and 6) create lives filled with purpose and passion.

Addictive patterns like smoking, drinking, overeating, shopping, gambling, and more, distract us from ourselves. They also have negative consequences and can shorten our lives. Positive coping techniques include strategies that enable us to manage and reduce the stress in our lives, challenge our thinking and change our emotions while they lead us to personal empowerment and radiant health.

These basic coping strategies will enable you to live well longer:

Change your behavior – To Manage a stressful situation or relationship, you can 1) change the stressor; 2) avoid the stressor; or 3) accept it. If you accept it, you need to change your perception of the stressor and build up your resistance to stress.
• Change your perception by changing unrealistic expectations and irrational beliefs.
• Build up resistance to stress: physically by getting enough healthy food, sleep and exercise; socially by getting the support you need from others; spiritually by developing beliefs and doing activities that uplift you; and mentally by focusing on a positive outcome.

Change your thinking – Challenge your negative self-talk – Your self-talk empowers or diminishes you. Be sure you back yourself no matter what is happening in your life. An affirmation might be: “It is OK to make mistakes while learning, and we are all learning.” Use mindful exercises like guided imagery, affirmations, breathing techniques, and more.
Redefine the situation (reframe) and cultivate a positive attitude. Loss of your job can be viewed as an opportunity to find a job closer to home.
Develop effective decision making skills: Be able to assess the real problem, identify possible solutions, evaluate consequences, and take effective action. Make decisions when you are out of emotional turmoil so you can see and think clearly.

Change your emotions - Manage emotions with mindful practices. Become an objective observer and allow your emotions to move through you. These practices are effective in taking charge of your emotions: exercise, sleep, diet, meditation, distractions, supplements and if all else fails prescription drugs.
• Manage emotions so you can think clearly and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes instead of more powerlessness.
• Take responsibility for your own emotions and do not allow another’s emotions to disempower me.
• Find the message in the emotion and apply the message toward your personal growth.

People who have effective life and coping skills lead the pack in the marathon of life, and they do it effortlessly. With effective coping skills in place, you will run your marathon with ease. Be a part of the front runners and become a model for those who struggle with life. Life challenges are meant to help us grow in love, power and wisdom. Take the challenge!

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Miniere, M.Ed., is life and wellness coach, certified Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner, Amazon best-selling author and speaker. She is a former holistic mental health counselor and has been helping people transform themselves and their lives for over 30 years. Her website is www.IntegrativeWellnessExpert.com.