Some coping mechanisms are so idiotic. Insane even. They shouldn’t even be called coping mechanisms, as they really hinder our ability to do just that: cope. For some people it’s substance abuse, for some it’s food, sex, avoidance, self-blame, religion, you name it–I’ve used many of these. I still have a bunch of ill-conceived ones, and up until recently I’ve been quite oblivious to them. Every time a challenging event or fearful situation appears on the radar, I tend to distract myself with the scariest thoughts that I can think of…and voila! Mission accomplished! I’m not concentrating on the challenging event anymore: I’m so paralyzed by the scary thoughts that I’ve created, that I hardly have room in my head to think about what was bothering me originally.
It often happens that as I write my blog, I end up learning something important in the process. Today it was by reading some info on Wikipedia about the subject of coping mechanisms. Turns out that the coping mechanisms I spoke of in my earlier paragraph are actually called ‘maladaptive coping’ or ‘non-coping skills’. How fitting! That’s truly what they are. Apparently there are actual coping skills out there, that would actually help! I have even been learning many of these in the last couple of years, but they still often go out the window in times of adversity.
But in this, as in so many other things in life, knowledge is power. Now that I know I have healthier options to deal with problems, why the fuck would I opt for the negative? My challenging event is fast approaching and I have two choices: wallow in fear about unrelated topics or check out how Wikipedia’s suggestions would work out. Here they are, for your reading pleasure:
“While dealing with stress it is important to deal with your physical, mental, and social well being. One should maintain their health and learn to relax if they find themselves under stress. Mentally it is important to think positive thoughts, value oneself, demonstrate good time management, plan and think ahead, and express emotions. Socially one should communicate with people and seek new activities. By following these simple strategies, one will have an easier time responding to stresses in their lives.”
Sounds pretty frickin’ healthy to me..!