Coping strategies are actions we take whether consciously or unconsciously, to deal with problems, stress, or uncomfortable emotions. Unhealthy coping strategies tend to feel good in the moment but have long-term negative consequences. Healthy coping strategies may not provide instant gratification however they lead to long-lasting positive outcomes.
Sometimes life simply gets too much, and we feel overwhelmed by a situation, and we use coping mechanisms that do not necessarily help us to move forward with a positive mind set.
Let us look at some of the most common unhealthy coping mechanisms:
Over or under eating- Your body needs nutrition and fuel to function throughout the day. Your input needs to equal your output. Anything over or under the recommended guidance can cause severe health issues or sickness.
Avoiding issues- Though this might feel like an easier way to deal with current problems, pushing back your issues will ultimately find a way of reaching the surface again in one form or another.
Sleeping or exercising too much - Your body needs rest but also requires physical movement, to swing to far into either is unhealthy.
Excessive drug or alcohol use - Drug and alcohol use can be a slippery slope. Stimulants and depressants may help to numb feelings, pain and subside those negative thoughts that are actively being avoided, however excessive use can lead to health complications and addiction.
Impulsive spending – We all love a something new and the excitement of trying it on or showing our friends. Retail therapy in excess can lead to severe financial problems within the family, hoarding or secrecy.
Should you find yourself feeling depressed, anxious or having a difficult time you could use these methods to help address the challenges in a much more positive and longer lasting way:
Talk to a trusted friend of family member who can help you decompress and help hold you accountable to ultimately find a positive outlet for your stress.
Get moving with a sport or hobby as creative and athletic outlets can be therapeutic and stimulate your mind beyond your worries. Keeping track of how you feel in different situations and being aware of how you react will set you up for success.
Seeking professional help to navigate your triggers, relevant emotions can be beneficial to learning how to cope and process behaviours through an objective perspective and knowledge base.Burying or denying issues can cause a ripple effect in your life which can result in them popping up when, and where, they can cause greater challenges.
Reach out for a chat if you are feeling overwhelmed, you won’t regret it.