At some point, you will have adversity in your life. Death, divorce, illness, tragedy, natural disaster, accidents, loss of a job or something.
How will you cope? What are unhealthy coping strategies? What are healthy coping strategies?
We all self-medicate at some point. If not with drugs or alcohol, with ice cream and snack foods, gambling, sex, self-harm, or shopping sprees. The trouble with temporary numbing strategies or thrill-seeking approaches to feel good is that we don’t solve anything. We just delay the solution or the healing process. And in so doing, we gain weight, develop problems with drugs or alcohol or other addictions, and otherwise end up with more issues than we started with.
We make a bigger mess by trying the quick fix. And that takes a really long time to solve. Avoidance makes a problem that much more agonizing. It makes it last forever!
Stuff is going to happen in your life. Think about what might work for you. Exercise, meditation, reading, writing, talking, group therapy, listing what we are grateful for, giving back, and helping others are all strategies that have a track record for working. Pick one! Think of something else that would replace that which is the unhealthy strategy. Get into something you like such as traveling or camping.
Binging, cutting, purging, drugging, drinking, overeating, gambling just makes you feel sorry the next day.
What I find is that people simply don’t know there is a difference between self-destructive habits and healthy ones. It’s easier to take a pill every night than do 8 minutes of meditation.
If you are attracted to the “feel good” moment of eating all the brownies, stop yourself and ask, “How long does the good feeling last compared to the days of guilt for having consumed all that chocolate?” Step away, pause, think. Remember when you did that once?
When my son died by suicide, I wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. Then I wrote a book. I have thousands of posts here to prove it and I can look back and see healing. Do I hurt still? You bet. I can’t fix what happened. And there is no way to put lipstick on that horror show.
But I can manage it better. It took time to figure out what works for me but it’s been worth it.
Here’s the thing, you can’t heal if you can’t feel. And if you don’t develop healthy coping skills, you’ll always struggle with managing life’s difficulties. What helps you?