Here are some common unhealthy coping mechanisms to avoid

Most of us deal with stress daily in our lives and we develop habits to help us cope with it. These habits are known as coping mechanisms and they’re important in helping us get through difficult situations. At times, these coping mechanisms can be unhealthy and have a lasting negative impact on us in the future. Here are some examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms to avoid.

Avoiding the issue

Avoidance is the most common coping mechanism for situations that make you feel afraid. It’s easy to try and stay away from anything that makes you anxious or worried. Sleeping or hiding to avoid dealing with a particular situation is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Being able to escape a stressful situation may seem easy to do and although avoidance brings immediate relief, it doesn’t necessarily provide solutions in the long-term. Learning to confront your worries and work towards a solutions is a healthy way of dealing with an uncomfortable or stressful situation.

Substance abuse

Another behaviour that feels as though it brings about immediate relief is binge drinking and abusing other substances. While this can numb your emotions and offer an escape or distraction, it can create more problems in the long run.

Consuming excessive caffeine

As with substance abuse, you can also get an instant sense of relief whenever you drink coffee or carbonated drinks. Although it may help in the moment, over time it can develop into a caffeine dependency which can cause caffeine crashes and poor quality sleep which ultimately affect your overall well-being.

Engaging in unsafe sexual behaviour

Engaging in casual sex to cope with stressful situations is another unhealthy way of blocking out stressful situations. If you find yourself having multiple sex partners and not using a condom each time you have sex, you may be putting yourself at a higher risk of contracting a Sexual Transmitted Infection (STI)/ HIV infection, including unplanned pregnancy. It’s always a good idea to wear a condom each time you have sex.

Whenever you feel stressed, it’s best to try and adopt healthy mechanisms of dealing with the uncomfortable situation. Although a negative coping mechanism may bring you instant relief, it will only cause more harm over time. If you or someone you know is struggling with stress or anxiety, you can contact SADAG for extra support.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657.