What's your go-to coping mechanism right now? No judgement here, it's just a question to ask yourself.  Exploring your coping mechanisms is a good start for moving from feeling stuck, and for many of us stuck, overwhelmed and irritated may seem like the norm. Coping mechanisms help you deal with difficult situations, and we aren't going to talk about stripping you of the only thing that keeps you holding on right now, so take a sigh of relief and dig in.

First of all it's important to understand that even the worst coping mechanisms aren't completely bad. Now, I'm not advocating for drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes, but those are great examples of coping mechanisms that are helpful in some ways. They are also harmful in many other ways, but for now we're going to focus on what good they bring to the table so you can understand how to proceed.  

Examining the real value of your current “negative” coping mechanisms objectively is one of the most useful things your can do for yourself before you begin to try to implement any new behavior change.

  • For example, maybe food or drink is a coping mechanism you’re aware of but know is unhealthy. You go for a bowl of ice cream when your anxiety is high. You reward yourself with a glass or two of wine when you’ve had a hard day. What's the good that comes with that bowl of ice cream or glass of wine? Maybe they provide you with a sensory experience you look forward to that triggers a sense of emotional comfort. Maybe you just love the way it feels to let yourself off the hook for healthy eating.
  • Consider the cigarette smoker. It’s no secret that the health effects of smoking are damaging. But what benefit does smoking bring to the smoker? Perhaps an escape from uncomfortable social situations or a quiet place to think is the reward. Maybe the feeling of the deep inhale of smoke triggers a sense of full body relaxation.
Once you’re aware of the ways that the “negative” coping mechanisms actually serve you, you can choose better ones to replace them. Drive with the windows down and the radio up, anyone?

You can learn more about coping mechanisms and how to bounce back with more ease in your life to bounce back with more ease in your life with this free resource: Go here
 

Times are difficult, so make sure you share this with a family member or friend who could use some help navigating the times. 

All the best, 

Jessica Hill Powell, NBC-HWC, RYT-200
Founder + Health Coach at Meridian Integrative Wellness

P.S. We should talk...
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Watch the latest video blog post, 3 ways to avoid major stress and potential failure when trying to make healthy lifestyle changes now and learn: 1. Why resisting the urge to overhaul your entire routine, eating plan, etc is the most important thing you can do, even if you're fed-up-to-here with yourself.  2. Why choosing to start with easy doesn't mean you're lazy; it means you're smart. 3. Why micro-goals can actually help get you healthier, faster. 

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