Recovery is a magnificent process – an exploration of the self, a deeper connection with one’s inner fears and desires, and the rejoining of families and communities are part of what makes recovery so beautiful. At the heart of recovery is the development of healthy coping mechanisms; perhaps you indulged in substance abuse, violence, crime, self-harm, and negative self-talk, thinking you were solving whatever was causing your inner soul turmoil. After time, you may have realized that these were the solution – that recovery was necessary for you to grow and develop towards leading a happy life.
Healthy coping is all about finding ways to express yourself, feel your emotions, and manage life’s obstacles without causing yourself or anyone else harm of any kind. Healthy coping is a powerful tool, one that can transform your heart, mind, and soul. It can get you through the most challenging of situations as you develop resiliency. For example, a 2017 study conducted by the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECN) found that women who were experiencing adverse life circumstances, such as living in a deprived community, had no anxiety if they had healthy coping skills.
Those with depression may find difficulty developing healthy coping skills, as they are more prone to negative thoughts. A 2013 study conducted by researchers from Poland found that compared to others, those with depression more often used strategies of avoidance and denial, and had difficulty finding the positive aspects of stressful events. When this happens, emphasis on treatment and recovery is evermore critical. We are not all born with the innate ability to utilize healthy coping, and if we were raised in an environment where this was not shown, we may not be aware of how to employ such techniques.
Psych Central notes several effective coping strategies that you can use for moments when you need it the most:
- Perform deep breathing exercises
- Try “progressive muscle relaxation”, where you tighten and release each part of your body, starting at your toes and working your way up to the top of your head
- Regular exercise
- Make time for music and artistic-related activities
- Find some time to laugh each day
- Pay close attention to signs that you are not coping well, such as lack of sleep, increased drinking or smoking, etc.
Keep tracking of the coping mechanisms you have used in the past and present, and write down how those tactics make you feel afterwards and if they are healthy for moments of despair. If they are not, work towards developing new tactics that can provide you with more grounding and relaxation rather than leading you towards avoidance, denial, self-blame, and more.
Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery center. If you are ready to seek treatment, call us today at 888-958-7511 for a consultation. We can work with you to develop healthy coping skills that you need to overcome life’s challenges.