Thursday April 24th 2014

3 healthy coping mechanisms instead of drinking and drugs

Coping with life

There are many different ways that people deal with ‘life’. When life is going well, they feel on top of the world. But, when life throws us a curveball, that is when we find out our true coping skills. Some people have strong, solid coping mechanisms and can deal with problems in a healthy way. While others of us find that we do not have a solid coping foundation and turn to substances to deal with our problems.

I am guilty of the latter. When my mom got sick and passed away, I found out I did not have good coping skills. Up until that time, my life had gone pretty smoothly. I turned to narcotics to deal with my pain and it only ended up causing even more pain for me in the long run. There are 3 coping mechanisms I wish I had turned to, instead of substances.

Mental health coping skills

1. Exercise to cope with stress

I know that it is like a broken record, but exercise does help with coping with stress. When you exercise, it is said that endorphins release during physical activity. Therefore, you get a feeling of euphoria. For that reason, it is said that exercise enhances one’s sense of well-being. Exercise also helps remove byproducts of the stress response, thus allowing the body to return to normal and reduce the physical impact of stress. Exercise can also be a very healthy outlet for anger. And, an addiction can cause a lot of anger.

2. Journaling to express thoughts and emotions

When you journal, you are putting your thoughts and feelings on paper. By doing this, you can express your feelings and maybe gain some insight on them. Many people have trouble opening up to someone about their addiction, so journaling is a great way to get those feelings out. It is also helpful to be able to go back and look at your journal at times to see what feelings you were having and how you were dealing with them.

3. Talking it out

Many times, you can work through troubling thoughts and feelings by talking about them to a trusted friend. When someone tries to handle stress or a devastating event in their lives on their own, often it ends badly. During these times, a person is usually not sleeping well and not thinking clearly. This combination can lead to very bad decision making. Holding those feelings in can be very destructive. Thus, talking to someone helps take some of the burden off of you.

Practice your coping skills

The combination of high stress and/or a devastating life event can lead to an addiction if you do not have healthy coping skills. Please leave your questions or comments below. We’ll be happy to promote healthy coping mechanism by lending an ear, or providing you with suggestions for who to talk to.

Photo credit: Difei Li

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About Nurse N Recovery

Nurse N Recovery has been an RN for 16 years. Most of those years were spent in Critical Care. 4 years ago, she became addicted to narcotics. She is now in drug addiction recovery and has developed a website to help others suffering from addiction.