Many years ago, before I could even read, I tried my hardest not to cry; being called a baby was the worst! To prevent unwanted tears from leaking down my face, I would pinch my arm to distract myself. It was my own personal coping mechanism, and it worked. Every single day, we are faced with challenges and emotions, and coping mechanisms are ways we deal with these stressors. People suffering with an addiction have trained their body and mind to rely on their addiction as a coping mechanism. When life gets tough, taking a drink of alcohol or hit of drugs is one way to avoid feeling or dealing with the situation. Coping mechanisms can come in every form. You have the responsibility, and opportunity, to create positive ways to deal with life stressors.
Here are 21 coping mechanisms to get you through hard times.
Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Practice taking deep breaths to calm you down and relax your body.
2. Write Down Your Feelings:
All of that anger and frustration can be written out, and once it is all down on paper, you feel like a weight has been lifted.
3. Call a Friend:
Have a couple of close friends that know and understand your situation. Call them when you are overwhelmed and feeling weak. Sometimes talking it out is all you need.
4. Go for a Walk:
A quick walk is an easy, and healthy, way to instantly calm your body down.
5. Eat Crunchy Vegetables or Fruits:
Have carrots and grapes ready in the refrigerator, and the moment a stressor hits you, take a couple of minutes to munch on these healthy snacks. It will allow your body to move, distract your hands, and give you a moment to think while you chew.
6. Listen to Music:
I don’t care what type of music you listen to; music is a powerful coping mechanism. Turn the radio up and let the words of a song speak for you.
7. Count to Ten Slowly:
Taking deep breaths, begin counting to ten very slowly. It will give you time to act and not react.
8. Get a Drink of Water:
Physically doing something is a great way to cope, and taking a drink of water will help you feel refreshed.
9. Read Positive Quotes:
When you reach your lowest moments, positive thoughts can go a long way. Reading a list of inspirational quotes can be the hand to lift you up and out of your despair.
10. Meditate Daily:
Take a few moments every day to relax and meditate. It will prepare you for surprise stress.
11. Devise a Plan to Overcome the Stressor:
Life is unpredictable, and you might be hit with a trigger at any moment. On a piece of paper, write how you will overcome this stressor when it happens.
Go for a run or to the gym to boost your energy and fight off unwanted urges.
13. Start a New Hobby:
This is a fun way to boost self-esteem and build new skills.
14. Go to the Library:
The library is a safe, quiet place where you can relax while checking out books.
Cleaning distracts the mind while completing tasks.
16. Join a Club:
If Wednesday nights are the hardest night of the week, join a club that meets then so you don’t have to get through the night alone.
17. Start a Project:
Painting a bedroom, building furniture, or working on an old car are some of the projects you can turn your attention to whenever you need a break.
18. Face the Problem:
While coping mechanisms can be good for the mind and body, sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is face the situation. Train your body to complete a task to relieve stress, rather than avoiding it.
19. Donate Unused Items:
Clean out that closet or crowded garage and donate items to Goodwill and other donation centers. It always feels good to organize a cluttered shelf, but giving to others feels even better.
20. Visit a Friend or Family Member:
Hanging out with people is a fun way to enjoy the night and allow stressors to pass.
21. Get Help From a Professional:
A counselor is a safe person you can talk to who will never judge you. You can express your emotions, talk about your weaknesses, and help create healthy coping mechanisms together. Hard times happen to everyone, but with the right tools, you can learn to deal with them in a positive way.
Learn Coping Mechanisms at Morningside Recovery
Rehab may be a viable option, where a professional therapist and a support group can help you work through it and find a healthy balance. The experiential therapy and adventure therapy programs at Morningside Recovery can help you build an arsenal of coping mechanisms that will sustain your recovery. Simply call us at 855-631-2135 to learn more.
By Michelle Conway
Photo by: Pedro Ribeiro Simoes (Flickr)