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What positive coping mechanisms do you guys have?

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Old 12-12-2014, 11:43 PM   #1
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Default What positive coping mechanisms do you guys have?

More and more, lately, it seems like at least part of my problem is a total lack of positive coping mechanisms. I get really stressed out and sad/angry, and I eat. Or I drink a LOT of alcohol. Or I just don't eat for a day. Or I cut myself. It's ridiculous. None of these things is viable long-term, and all of them are damaging, so I'm pretty much just cycling through them and hoping none of them does enough damage to actually hurt me severely.

CLEARLY, I need to add something to the rotation that isn't damaging at all, but I don't know what, or how to transition. Nothing else I've tried helps. Drawing, reading, working, sleeping, exercise, all either have no effect or make me feel worse. I get that I'm supposed to be using those things as coping mechanisms, but when I'm feeling angry because I feel like the world isn't fair, the last thing that helps is doing something that feels like more work.

How did you guys make the transition? How do you destress without damaging yourself in one way or another.
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Old 12-14-2014, 02:23 AM   #2
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I started swimming a few weeks ago while looking for coping mechanisms too. I had not swam since I was a kid and really wanted to go. I kept putting it off and finally just said eff it I really want to go in the water.
I love going, it's not for any kind of calorie burn or weight loss but just to get better at it, seeing how I can improve over time. the first day I could barely do half a lap now I am doing a few laps,etc. It just gives me a fitness goal to work towards that has nothing to do with weight loss & I enjoy. Maybe you can look for a hobby or something you've wanted to try or learn(knitting is a popular example)yoga/meditation classes,support group meetings(OA),learning something online. I don't know if this is a good coping mechanism but a great movie or tv series that you can get caught up in.
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Old 12-14-2014, 08:41 AM   #3
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Lately I've been destressing by shopping in local thrift stores. It's not as noble as reading or painting, but it works for me.

F.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:29 AM   #4
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Davina I love your idea of swimming and it reminded me as a child what comfort I found in the water. Because I was floating I felt "thin" and used to imagine I'd turn into a mermaid. LOL OK I sound a bit "off" now but it was such a relaxing beautiful experience you've sparked my interest in going back to that and reliving those beautiful moments
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:43 AM   #5
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Posting on weight loss forums....hah. This one is pretty dead though. Post on another one that is way more active but takes a different direction.
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Old 12-14-2014, 11:53 AM   #6
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Writing -- a journal, a blog, to friends, on a forum. Whatever.

It helps to remind myself that over-eating and over-drinking weren't very good coping mechanisms either, seeing as they provided a short-term high followed by a long-term downhill blleeerrrrrgggggggggg.

Try to have realistic expectations for your new coping mechanisms, it will take time to get relief from them.
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Old 12-14-2014, 03:05 PM   #7
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Reading and going to bed early does it for me when all else is not possible/desirable.

If it's the middle of the day I either work out or look forward to my next meal.
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Old 12-14-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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I like the idea of doing a hobby you haven't done for a long time. I'm working on coping mechanisms now and I might take up cross-stitching again.

One thing that has worked for me is making some tea in the evening. I make a bit of a ceremony out of it, though. Rather than just put a tea bag in a mug, I bought an individual tea set (consisting of a ceramic tea pot, cup, and saucer) and also some gourmet loose-leaf teas and a tea strainer. This makes the tea more special and also distracts me from wanting binge foods.

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Old 12-15-2014, 07:25 AM   #9
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Well, first I had to accept that eating was my best coping technique. I had to accept it, I had to embrace it and I had to forgive myself for it. I had to learn its value in my life. Food was always there for me, it never denied me, it never talked back and it never obscured itself from me. I spent many years eating in response to stress and I had to finally face that it WORKED and that's why I did it for decades.

And furthermore I've had to allow it in my life as a viable coping mechanism, so it's on my list. When things get too too tough I let myself eat and I don't beat myself up about it. Simultaneously I've learned other forms of self care, and they all work great which means that eating is not my only coping mechanism any more - therefore I use it less and less and less!

Self care is very important. The whole point is to identify your needs as quickly as possible. When I can feel my body craving a food I immediately take a step back and rate my level of discomfort on a scale of 1-10. If it's 7 or above it's too late, my distress is too high and there's no pulling myself off the ledge. The kindest thing to do at that point is to go ahead and eat - I try to enjoy it as much as possible and not hide away like some drug addict though. But if my level of distress is less than 7 on the scale then I have other options. These include:

- talking it out with a loved one or friend
- meditation
- "sitting with my feeling" which is hard but really effective
- exercise
- distraction (but only if my level of anxiety is low)
- work
- journaling
- talking with a therapist or a priest
- going to a support group
- cleaning (it clears my mind, I do some of my best thinking while mopping or ironing)
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Old 12-17-2014, 05:28 PM   #10
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I try anything to distract myself. Sometimes reading, walking or watching a television show.
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Old 12-19-2014, 05:11 PM   #11
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I get out of the apartment and do something with friends, even if it's just going to the library to study.

Failing that (if its too cold/late/not a good day) I'll usually play some videogames, because it keeps me entertained as well as TV, but also keeps my hands occupied (so that I don't snack unnecessarily)
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