Coping mechanisms are something we all use, whether that be with an awareness or not. And the possibilities are endless, with no two people relying on the exact same techniques. Moreover, most people use an array of ways depending on their mood, the situation, their aim…..
There are a plethora of ways that we can use to help us deal with difficult times.
And as you can see, the list is varied.
Often people may try to organise these into positive and negatives, but in my opinion, that’s impossible. Because whilst some people may believe that withdrawing is detrimental, for other, the use of socialisation is merely a distraction from the bigger issue. Exercise can be extremely healthy for some, but for others, there are darker undertones and the risk of it evolving into an addiction or obsession.
Furthermore, as I mentioned, the choice you make can be based on a range of factors. If you are looking for a short term release, exercise is great! But unless you’re Forest Gump, you can’t run from your problems forever (metaphorically or otherwise). And whilst writing can be a beneficial long term solution, what if you have nothing to write about when you need an outlet?
We must also look at the role that these behaviours play in our lives, and why that makes them attractive in times of trouble. I can’t help but think that most provide some form of distraction from a bigger issue. Creating something, being somewhere or making plans, forces our brain to focus on something, ideal when there’s another thought lingering at the back of your mind, trying to lure you in. And I have to question whether distraction is really that advantageous – you will need to deal with the problem sooner or later, and often, the longer you let it linger, the more problematic it becomes.
Some others take the role of a release of some sort. A chance to forget about it, or let out emotions. I whole-heartedly support the unbottling of pent up feelings, please son’t leave it to the stage that you’re full to the brim, ready to pop because you’ve held in so much anger, sadness or terror. But there are HEALTHY ways of doing this that don’t involve substance abuse, self harm or risk addiction. That could be exercise for some, screaming into a pillow, talking it through with loved ones, writing it all down and burning it….. It is not necessary to hurt yourself in a bid to express how you’re feeling. Hurting on the inside is not a good enough reason to hurt your outside too.
So maybe it’s time to review your own coping mechanisms. They might be perfect for you, I don’t know! But at least an increased awareness of them can help you better prepare for the next time you have to use them.
You’ll be able to face the situation with an armoury full of choice, with something for every possible circumstance…..Well, hopefully.
And if all else fails, cover yourself in glitter and watch Ru Paul on repeat.