4 Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms You Should Quit Today


As you go through life, you will come across adversity. When that adversity is physical, your instinct will be “fight or flight;” when the adversity is internal, it will be “accept or suppress.”The inability to deal with the stress can lead to feeling helpless and powerless, so you may create a coping mechanism to get by.

The coping mechanism can be conscious or subconscious ways to deal with uncomfortable situations or emotions. Although coping mechanisms can change how you feel or interpret a situation, they can build a false sense of security. There are positive and negative coping mechanisms. Positive coping mechanisms don’t have instant gratification, but they put you in a position to be better off in the long run. Negative coping mechanisms typically come with instant gratification but long-term negative consequences.

A person can go to extreme lengths to avoid feelings sometimes. What they use as a defense or coping mechanism can differ, but some are bad. If you can identify your coping mechanisms, you can get better control of your feelings and life direction.

1. Isolation

It may sound safe to rely on yourself alone, but there is a fallacy when you take it to extremes. People often tend to close up and keep things to themselves as it seems the easiest and best option. Humans are social animals, and you need to connect with others to have a healthy lifestyle.

Your mental health will improve when you have a rich and diverse community around you. If you have any problems in life, you can take them to your community for assistance. The opposite is true; people in your community should be able to come to you for help. When you have that healthy exchange of interactions, it creates strong bonds that will become invaluable.

2. Substance Abuse

Alcohol is a common habit for those looking for respite. Drinking your problems away is not the solution; you will not only impair your physical health but return to your issues with a hangover. What makes alcohol challenging to avoid is its accessibility, especially in social settings.

Drugs are another habit that many people resort to in times of trouble. Drugs can give the user a sense of euphoria or peace, but once the effects wear off, the user is left with deep sadness, irritability, or lack of pleasure. Drug use also invokes guilt and shame, which can compound stressful emotions or situations. Drug abuse can also come from self-medication which people tend to do in cases of low self-esteem, anxiety, and stress leading to addiction.

A healthier solution, especially if you find yourself struggling with addiction, is to use a residential treatment facility in Florida. The rehabilitation will help you grasp your emotions and coping mechanisms so that you understand what you are doing to yourself. It will also give you a healthy coping mechanism for the future.

3. Denial

Denial is the selective ignoring of information. It’s a form of self-deception that lets you detach yourself from a situation. For example, when you receive terrible news like a partner ending a relationship, and you refuse to acknowledge it. It allows you to form new beliefs around good news rather than bad news with disastrous consequences, like if your ex-partner wants to sit down for lunch for closure, but you see it as an opportunity to rekindle the romance. Accepting how we feel can be difficult, but it is one of the most critical steps toward recovering; it creates false security.

4. Catastrophizing

Catastrophizing can be related to overthinking, quickly jumping to conclusions, trying to predict how things will turn out, or feeling pessimistic about the future. Although it is normal to worry about the future, if it is extreme, it will hold you back in life. Sometimes catastrophizing is a coping mechanism for insecurities you may have in life.

You create scenarios in your head without rationale to avoid taking action. For example, you may not feel confident about your professional skills, so rather than apply for a promotion, you will create scenarios where the boss doesn’t like you or the company “deserves” better candidates. You will rationalize that you are protecting yourself from a more prominent threat when you are actually holding yourself back.

Find Healthy Ways to Cope

There is no way that you can live a life without adversity, but you can deal with it more healthily. Take the time to analyze how you deal with stressful situations and make an honest assessment. Once you are aware of your shortcomings, you can better prepare yourself for what life throws at you.