Healthy vs. Unhealthy Coping SkillsMar 17, 2022
Coping with Loss
The way you choose to cope with grief and loss has a huge impact on how easy or difficult it will be to recover from the loss. If you lean towards destructive and unhealthy coping skills, then healing and recovery would be challenging and take much longer time. If you do your best to help yourself while letting others help you too, then the pain and suffering can be somewhat easier. Coping skills are not always easy to implement nor are they typically taught in school, by family, or come with an instruction manual. Most are learned behaviors.
Recovering from loss is indeed a difficult job for any person. Below is a list of healthy (and unhealthy) coping skills that you may currently be using to help you through the grieving process. Pay close attention to the unhealthy coping skills that could be hold you back from moving forward.
Healthy Coping Skills
Self-Meditation- Meditation has been proven to be helpful when it comes to the coping with loss. Self-meditation is a process of consoling yourself (self-care) against the challenges of the outside world. It includes various strategies like listening to meditational music or opting for physical meditation through Yoga. Both processes include the rebirth of the soul through a deep connection with your higher self, your Godself. In the process of self-meditation, one can easily encounter healing from the most painful losses.
Family Support- Spending time with dear ones is vital in the process of coping with your grief and loss. Family can offer comfort and support by listening, offering words of encouragement, being present, helping you with tasked that may seem too overwhelming, or simply just giving you a hug. The power of family support must not go unrecognized.
Prayer- Prayer is very personal, especially during a time of grieving a loss. It can be spoken silently or aloud and often times invokes deep emotional feelings. It serves as a space of surrender and a desire to release that which you cannot control. It can, at times, even create more pain and suffering when one feels their prayers are not heard. Loss in general can make you question your faith and your beliefs. However, if you tap into the courage and to move through those moments, it can deepen your connection and give you the strength you need to move forward and heal.
Sharing With Others- Sharing your problems with those who care has always been a source of support and encouragement during times of grief. It is good to find several people in your life to reach out to when you need some extra TLC. However, be conscious that you do not over share or use someone’s shoulder to cry on as your main source of support. Friends and family are not equipped to handle grief on a long term basis and may eventually become burned out or feel helpless in their ability to help you. Seeking a professional is also necessary as a support system for sharing your feelings and coping with loss.
Social Media- Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and WhatsApp can be helpful and harmful when it comes to coping with pain and loss. They help to provide a support system and an educational platform (groups tailored to grief and loss support) that you may not have access to in general. However, they can also be an inappropriate place to unleash your pain publicly due to everyone expressing their thoughts and opinions without censorship or consideration for how painful your experience is. You need to keep in mind that people can and will be insensitive, unconscious, and oblivious to where you’re at in the grieving process which can ultimately lead to more pain on top of what you’re going through already.
Talking with a Professional- Of course, it is always the best option available for any individual suffering from a trauma to talk about their feelings. A professional such a counselor, pastor, coach, or therapist are all great options to reach out to when you’re struggling. Insurance does cover this type of support to a degree, but often times you will end up paying out of pocket or utilizing outreach services as well. The price you pay for your mental health and well being is well worth it in the end because the price you’ll pay for not seeking help can cost you your life. if you're in need of support, schedule a free consultation with me and let's see how I can help. Schedule a call today.
Exercise- Exercise is not only helpful for physical health, but it can be very useful when it comes to psychological struggle like stress, depression, and anxiety. Exercise has been proven to relieve stress and depression not to mention it releases the happy endorphins that help you feel better in general. It has been studied by several medical specialists and has been encouraged as a way to reduce feelings of overwhelm and emotional pain associated with sadness and loss.
Unhealthy Coping Skills
Use of Alcohol/Drugs- Self medicating through drugs and alcohol is not uncommon in today’s society. It’s certainly not healthy either. Many people simply do not know how to cope with feelings that are uncomfortable, let alone feelings that are painful. They would rather escape the pain and pretend it doesn’t exist period. Perhaps growing up they witnessed family members use drugs or alcohol to cope or learned it from watching tv shows that taught this as a way to deal with life and death. Regardless, using substances to avoid, or cope with loss and grief is destructive and causes more harm than good. Overmedicating with pharmaceutical drugs is just as bad and falls into this category as well. The doctors and hospitals are way too eager to implement pill pushing strategies to those dealing with sadness, depression, anxiety, and stress instead of teaching healthy coping skills and supporting one through natural cycles of life and death.
Isolation- Taking quiet time for yourself is a good thing. However, isolating yourself from the world and your troubles is not. Grief and loss, especially of someone you were close to can be very lonely at times. Dealing with feelings of abandonment, loss, and grief often send you to a place in your mind where you just want to crawl into a dark hole and waste away. This place of isolation can spin downward very quickly and lead to major depression if it’s not kept in check. Make sure you are able to maintain a healthy sense between alone time and isolation so you don’t lose yourself in the grieving process.
Shopping- In this consumer culture, shopping is used as a way to kill time or distract you from things you really should be taking care of. It can be a temporary way to whisk you away from the reality of the situation at hand. Overspending on items that you don’t need but think will fill the void or loss, is an unhealthy coping skill that can cause you to get in debt real quick. It can also give you a false “feel good” rush that enables you to believe you’re doing ok. Don’t be fooled by the illusion of material things and their ability to make everything better. If you’re going to shop, try window shopping as a way to escape temporarily.
Avoidance- Avoidance is another temporary solution to coping with grief and loss that doesn’t serve your highest good. It’s human nature to want to avoid and escape pain and suffering. We’re actually masters at it. However, it will catch up to you in some form or fashion. It can show up as depression, escapism, anger and resentment etc. and steal your life away. The situation of loss is not going to go away and at some point it will ask you to deal with it. In short- can only avoid the pain for so long before it manifests in other areas of your life and you are forced to deal with on terms other than your own.
Food- Food can be another silent killer. It provides comfort and an escape to feelings you would rather not deal with or not feel. Using food as a way to cope can cause weight gain, stress on the body, depression, and lead to many unhealthy eating habits that will be hard to break in the future. It can also lead to high cholesterol, high fat, and diabetes eventually. Be cautious of this feel good method to ease your pain and escape from a situation that is needing to be addressed.
Below are a few more unhealthy ways you may cope with your pain which only add to the struggle of moving forward. Which ones can you relate to?
- Not thinking about it
If you are feeling as though you are spinning out of control or need additional support in coping with grief and loss, please schedule a free consultation and let's get you back on track. Schedule your call NOW!