Even if we’ve been taught the healthiest ways to handle distressing situations, all the lessons we’ve learned can go out in an instant the minute we’re having a bad day. Our blood temperature rises, our face gets hot, we become more irritable or sad, and before we know it, we’re doing something we’ll later come to regret. This happens to all of us at one point or another – but addiction recovery is a vulnerable process and the wrong coping mechanism could lead us into relapse. If you’re ready to take hold of your mental health, it will help to identify what you may be doing that’s not helping you before you can learn what will.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanism #1: Drinking too much caffeine
What to Replace it with: Tea
Caffeine jumpstarts our energy but while we think it may be helping us, it’s actually harming us. Many people who consume caffeine report having difficulty sleeping at night – and since caffeine actually makes us more stressed and anxious, it’s not a good coping mechanism to turn to. Instead, drink some tea; herbal teas such as lavender, chamomile, peppermint and more have been known to mitigate stress.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanism #2: Emotional Eating
What to Replace it with: Activities
In addiction recovery, it’s easy to replace a substance addiction with that of something else. Many people in recovery experience weight gain, and this is because they turn to unhealthy foods to satisfy their cravings or to help cope with painful emotions. It’s too easy to become addicted to foods that aren’t healthy for your mind, body and spirit – so next time you’re stressed, try getting involved in activities like walking, reading, or starting a craft to help you work through your emotions.
Unhealthy Coping Mechanism #3: Smoking
What to Replace it with: Chewing gum, eating a popsicle, flossing/brushing your teeth, etc.
For those who smoke, cigarettes can feel like a huge stress reliever – but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that tobacco not only causes more deaths each year that substance use, it harms virtually every organ in the body. Instead, find something to replace it with – and before you know it, you’ll be on your way to healthier living.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment to develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. It’s never too late, and there are people here ready to help you.