(Save it for when you reallllllly want to)
You’ve had a rubbish day. Boss, traffic, family, whatever the cause. You get home. There lies that lovellllly box of chocolates Joan bought you the other day. You’ll just have one. One won’t hurt.
Two hours later… the box has gone.
We all have them. We actually need them. Coping strategies help us to bring ourselves back into balance when things have swung astray.
But, we need healthy strategies. Not ones we’re going to regret a few hours later. These short term fixes are actually detrimental to our health and happiness in the long term.
Signs of Negative Coping Mechanisms
Binge eating or starvation
Working too much
Binge watching TV
Alcohol, cigarettes or other substances
Entertaining toxic relationships (particularly sexual)
Running away from a situation
Verbal or physical violence
Healthier Coping Mechanisms
Talking to a loved one or trusted confidant
Going for a walk
Having a bath or doing your nails
Making a gratitude list
Spend time with pets, animals or out in nature
Write, paint, colour or draw
Get a good night’s sleep (when tired)
Have a cup of delicious herbal tea
The Key behind not needing your “Fix”
Coping mechanisms arise when a situation or emotion arises that makes you feel overwhelmed or fearful. You may not recognise it as something that overwhelms or scares you, but these tend to be the underlying emotions.
First, have compassion on yourself. Life is not always a bunch of roses. There are going to be tough times and great times. So recognise that this is a tougher time.
Then identify what is going on - why are you compulsively needing to head for the chocolate box, or are suddenly snapping at people out of the blue?
Next, sit with it. One of the hardest things to do, but just sit with the emotion or situation that is making you feel bad. Allow yourself to really feel it. It is impossible to hold and really feel an emotion within our bodies for longer than 90 seconds. During that period it will already start to pass.
Finally, identify what you need. What can you do to help the situation? What do you need to make yourself feel better? Sometimes, there is nothing you can do. That’s when having a list of positive coping mechanisms lined up can be really helpful.
Have these positive coping mechanisms more easily available than the negative ones. The minute you start leaning towards the negative, throw in a positive one. If it helps, tell yourself you’ll do the positive one (e.g. go for a walk or have a bath) first, and then if you still really feel like you need the negative one (chocolate or G&T) you’ll have it after. Chances are, when you’ve finished your positive strategy, you’ll be feeling better and will no longer feel like you need the negative one.
This is something that comes up for us almost daily. So don’t beat yourself up about it. Just start taking small steps and reward yourself every time you go for a positive strategy. It won’t happen 100% of the time, but every single time you do, you’ll be breaking the pattern and making yourself feel better.
As ever, I would love to have your feedback so please drop me a comment. And please do share this with any friends or family members who would benefit from reading it. You can share it using the social media icons below or share or screenshot this page :)
Until next time!
Kat, Life Coach, Relationship Coach, Equine Therapy & Hypnotherapy
P.S. If you’d like extra help breaking negative patterns, see below for more information on working with me :)
Working with me
If you have a negative behaviour pattern that you’d like help shifting, book your free hypnotherapy consultation session with me. Hypnotherapy is one of the most effective ways to change trigger-related behaviours.
I still have a few spots left for the Equus Taster sessions on 19 and 20 April. One hour sessions for just AED400, or AED220 each if you want to share a session with a friend. Email me to reserve your spot.
My next Monday Meditation is 15 April, you can find out all the details and sign up.
If you’re interested in working with me one-on-one, I have a few spots left for Dubai based clients before the summer. Book your free consultation here.
UK people - I want to hear from you! If you’re interested in hypnotherapy or coaching, I’ll be taking on a limited number of clients over the summer. Reply to this email to express your interest. Please also note the new dates for my UK Retreat.
"I wanted to thank you for yesterday. I couldn't imagine how a single session could be so powerful and bring up so much at once. I woke up with a strong sense of clarity and I feel like plenty of things start to make sense. I really forward to whatever the next sessions will bring and for them to reinforce this feeling of clarity. Thank you once again" Bianca, Events Organiser, Dubai