The importance of developing effective coping mechanisms

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The importance of developing effective coping mechanisms

  1. 1. The Importance of Developing Effective CopingMechanismsMarch 11, 2013| Last Updated on Friday, 03 May, 2013 13:22Coping mechanisms are the particular methods a person uses to deal with stresses or unanticipatedsituations. Some people listen to music, others have rituals or routines that they do to keep their mindsoff the situation. Some people pray and others will just repeat a particular phrase or saying. TheseCoping mechanisms can be positive or negative and if negative, need to be stopped.Self Injury is a common coping mechanism for people whether they realize it or not. Nail biting, hairpulling, pinching, cheek or lip chewing, and cutting or burning yourself are all common forms of selfinjury. Obviously some are more severe than others, but all can have negative consequences affecting aperson’s health and appearance.Drug use is another common negative coping mechanism. When I say drugs, I include Alcohol. Theonly difference between the two is one is socially acceptable in this country. People turn to drugs forcomfort and escape because they are instantaneous and effective. Not all drug use is for these purposeshowever. Some people use drugs for fun, others for religious reasons. We aren’t talking about themhowever, we’re here to talk about the ones who use drugs because they had a bad day. The ones whoget high because they can’t handle the stress of their everyday lives. These people have negative copingmechanisms with long term consequences.Trouble With CopingOne of the major problems with this coping method is that while it is extremely effective at first,eventually it becomes a major problem in its own right. Then, you need a way to cope with the originalproblems There are others with co occuring disorders such as schizophrenia that face twice the battle,addiction and mental illness. AND the problem that the drug addiction has become, not to mention anyproblems that may have resulted from the drug abuse, like imprisonment, illness, debt, and so forth.Drug abuse is a temporary negative solution that can have serious consequences down the road.Another way people negatively cope with their issues is by overeating. I am currently dealing with thisand have to learn a new way to relate to food. It’s different than dealing with drug use because I don’thave get high to live, but I do have to eat and therefore cannot completely avoid it, like I can with drugabuse. I am learning that it isn’t just my coping mechanism that needs to change, it is my entirerelationship with food. I need to stop seeing food as a reward and attaching significance to it assomething other than stored energy.It is that added significance that is a large part of the problem. I use it to celebrate, to mourn, to fightboredom, to reward, and I have even used it to punish myself. Food is my one remaining vice. I havegiven up drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana. I have restricted my religious practices and ritualsto conform with the norms of the people around me and so that I can have a safe place to live and goodjob. Giving up this last vice is going to be difficult and if I’m not careful, I will replace it with anotherafter giving it up.
  2. 2. Our StaffThe staff at Lifescape Solutions are very effective at removing old coping skills and patterns andreplacing them with positive new ones. Mike “the Motivator” Ross teaches and speaks about how todo this almost every day. He engages clients and encourages discussion during his classes and won’thesitate to let you know if you need to work harder. Mike is like a Coach on a sports team, he teachesstrategies and pushes his “players” to work hard and do their best and is always happy to celebrate theirsuccess and support them in their struggles.

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