The Healthy Coping Mechanisms Of Everyday People

Photo credit: Clarke Sanders

When we were asked what our healthiest and most effective coping mechanisms were, some of us first joked about wine, lots, and lots of wine! Some of us wondered if we had any healthy coping mechanisms at all. Some of us had to wrack our brains. Some of us knew exactly what we do to make our lives lighter.

But we all promised to do more of them more often.

Many of us swear by healthy eating and exercise. Zelda says, ‘Start moving … it’s the best. Getting out and cycling or walking with the dogs on the beach when I am feeling frustrated, angry, or miserable is way better than couching with pastries.’

Kaz hits the gym, her mountain bike, or the kayak. For Morgan it’s Bikram Yoga, for Maryke it’s horse riding, and for Tumi it’s her early morning walks.

Bongani runs, Anni dances, Hayley swings for hours under her willow tree, Catherine hikes in the mountains, and Melody reminds herself that other people’s behaviour and reactions usually have more to do with their own experiences than with her – and that there’s nothing she can do to control that.

Palesa spends time with her family. Prisha reads, Anna writes. Cathryn takes it all one step at a time and speaks to those who have become her mentors. She says, ‘There is always sage advice when you are prepared to listen.’

Ingrid says that it’s not just one thing for her. For her, it’s the entire package, her lifestyle as a whole, the balance between work and play, her family time, and her small slice of plot life in a big city.

Amour says it’s meditation for her for sure. She listens to guided meditations like the Law of Attraction audio that calms her down and reminds her that she is in charge of her own destiny.

Skye finds baking particularly therapeutic. ‘When I’m concentrating on measuring and sifting and folding vs stirring, I’m not thinking about the other stuff.’ She also watches movies that make her cry – both for the emotional release, and to remind herself how lucky she really is.

Simone gives herself complete and utter downtime on the weekends. Caroline embraces her domestic goddess, creating order and beauty in her home, losing herself in the simplicity of tasks she doesn’t even need to think about doing.

Lou counts her blessings. Mathapelo counts to ten and goes to her happy place in her mind, ‘… it’s usually on a mountain top, where the air feels fresh, and I am then overcome by calm, followed by a smile. It just makes everything seem so easy to handle.’

Inspired by Japanese forest bathing and the science of transferring Earth’s electrons from the ground into the body through the soles of your feet, Bronwyn steps outside, takes off her shoes, and truly feeling her bare feet on the earth, reconnects to nature.

With renewed clarity and a sense of calm, Bronwyn then draws up a plan and plots what she needs to do next. With a list, she feels like she can cope. With a list, she has both direction, and a starting point.

She eloquently sums up what the rest of us are doing when she says, ‘Get away from your current space. Whether it’s your desk or your office or your house, your problems always seem worse when you are sitting in the same space staring at the same walls.’

Whether the change in your life right now is good or bad, if you’re finding yourself in a space where you’re leaning towards unhealthy mechanisms like using drugs, drinking too much, self-mutilating, bottling up, ignoring your feelings, working excessively, avoiding your problems, denying what’s really going on, spending too much money, binging, gambling … don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Because there’s always something better we can do.

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