We all encounter stormy times in our lives. The good news is no storm is permanent. They all dissipate. The question is, how do we handle them? What are some healthy coping mechanisms that help us to weather the stressful times?
I love to tell stories. I’m a storyteller by nature. Martha is a busy lawyer with a husband and three children. She has all the responsibilities of a career woman, a mother, and a wife. One evening she broke down in tears over her life situation. How could she cope with it all?
Her twin sister, Mary, did a planned intervention. She confronted Martha with her situation. She encouraged Martha to find healthy coping mechanisms to help her deal with stress.
Coping mechanisms come under two categories. One is called unhealthy coping mechanisms. The other is healthy coping mechanisms. Let’s take a look at three mechanisms under each category.
Unhealthy coping mechanism. I call this the terrible threes.
1. The top of the list is addictions. I succumbed to depression, anxiety, and psychosis when I was a teenager because I adopted a lifestyle of an addiction to sugar in response to my father’s alcoholic proclivities. It gave me solace at the time and it filled the need to be loved. But it caused me a lifetime of illness. My poor brother, Jack, lived to deeply regret his addiction to alcohol. Again, it brought him the love that he needed. It also caused serious cardiac difficulties that nearly killed him at age thirty eight and brought serious health issues for the next forty years.
2. Number two is a tendency to lead rushed, chaotic lives. Yes, this is exciting. But it also leads to problems with stress and anxiety.
3. Number three involves becoming isolated and lose connections with others. This limits our options because others can serve to help us through our problems.
Healthy coping mechanisms. I call them the terrific trio.
1. Number one of healthy coping mechanisms is a connection to a higher power. We cannot do everything alone. God, as we understand Him is there to encourage, exhort and lift us up.
2. Number two of healthy coping mechanisms is to network, network, network. When we connect with people, especially emotionally healthy people, we have a greater number of coping resources.
3. Number three of healthy coping mechanisms is the ability to observe and emulate healthy behaviors. Those of us who observed unhealthy behaviors can benefit from watching the way healthy individuals interact.
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