A big first step for coping is to accept that a problem exists. Such acceptance empowers you to seek new approaches and solutions. But just because you’re coping doesn’t mean you’re coping effectively. Even with the best intentions, you may be looking for relief in all the wrong places.
In times of stress, it’s not always easy to make healthy choices. There’s no shame in catching yourself and switching courses. Again, it begins by recognizing the need for change. Let’s first examine some ineffective coping choices. From there, we can do the work to turn things around.
6 Ways You’re Coping Ineffectively
1. Comfort Eating
Junk food, binge eating, etc. — it can initially feel so good to give in to these choices. But they are a one-way ticket to deeper health issues.
2. Erratic Sleep Patterns
It could be either end of the spectrum: not enough or too much. In some cases, you may fluctuate between the two.
3. Retail Therapy
Who hasn’t turned to online shopping for a little pleasure over the past year? Obviously, this can lead to another form of stress: financial.
Your TV, your phone, and your other devices are consciously designed to capture your attention. Screen-time is not a sustainable coping mechanism.
Alcohol and drugs are the obvious examples. However, you may also seek out “doses” of relief in the form of gambling, sex, or risky behaviors.
This is ineffective coping taken to its most extreme. Stress can lead us down a dangerous path of self-punishment. Behaviors like harming yourself or starving yourself can trick you into feeling as if you are in control.
How to Turn Things Around and Learn to Cope Effectively
Cultivate a daily self-care regimen to follow. This helps you cope with life’s inevitable stressors. It also creates structure in your life. Common elements include:
- Daily activity and exercise
- Regular sleep patterns
- Healthy eating choices
- Stress management and relaxation techniques (like meditation)
Create a Support System
Social withdrawal will appear tempting. While some solitude is part of any self-care plan, you cannot isolate yourself. Stay in contact with loved ones and trusted allies. Be there for each other.
Live, Laugh, Love
This is the corny punch line of many a joke but… it’s a cliché for a reason. You need to make time to seek out joy — whatever that means for you. Cynicism may get a laugh but community is what brings healing.
This is another cliché that should not be shrugged off. Each day brings countless opportunities to practice compassion. Seize these moments. You will not only help others. You will also benefit deeply from the simple act of kindness. Make this part of your daily existence.
Maybe You Need a “Coping Coach”?
By now, you may be experiencing either of these two reactions:
- Never mind effective, I can’t even get started on learning to cope
- I want to cope but now I’m stuck in a cycle of counterproductive habits
Once again, the first step in finding relief is recognizing the need for change. If you have trouble implementing new ideas, ask for help. Don’t suffer in silence. You deserve to feel better. Working with an experienced therapist is an option more and more people are selecting. Your regular sessions are like a workshop. In the presence of an unbiased guide, you get to work through the behaviors that are keeping you stuck.
It’s a lot to handle. It’s a lot to think about. But you don’t have to find all the answers on your own. Start things off by reading more about anxiety treatment and scheduling a consultation. Let’s assess your needs and get you on a healthy path toward effective coping.
Getting Started With Anxiety Counseling in Lakewood & Longmont Colorado
We invite you to call us at 720-551-4553 for a free 20-minute phone consultation. You can schedule your appointment via phone, email, or the contact page on our website. We offer both in-person and online counseling. We’re open to whichever option you feel more comfortable with. We look forward to hearing from you!