5 unhealthy coping mechanisms you need to discard in 2023
People often fall for unhealthy coping mechanisms during their tough times trying to get rid of negative emotions. Over the period, they become a habit and become even more detrimental to mental health. Even when people overcome tough situations, the habits they adopted along the way die hard. Here are five common unhealthy coping mechanisms that you need to get rid of in 2023.
Escaping or isolating
Always finding an escape or isolating yourself involves avoiding social interactions and disconnecting from others. It can be a way to try to protect yourself from potential hurt or rejection. If you find yourself isolating, try to reach out to others and engage in social activities, even if it feels difficult. Or, seek support from a mental health professional.
Over-reacting or under-reacting
People who lash out or stay stoic in face of triggers often have deep stacks of unexpressed feelings piled up inside them. Over-reacting can lead to problems in relationships and interfere with daily functioning. While under-reacting can give people the chance to take advantage of you because you did not initially set boundaries. Identify the underlying causes of your reaction and seek professional support.
Over-eating or under-eating
Both, over-eating and under-eating as coping mechanisms can lead to serious health problems in an individual. Seeking comfort in eating more junk food might make you feel better at the moment, but in the long run, this habit can lead to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. In such cases, it may be helpful to work with a registered dietitian to establish healthy eating habits.
Catastrophizing is a coping mechanism that involves thinking about the worst possible outcome of a situation and expecting it to happen. It can be a way for people to protect themselves against potential negative outcomes, but it often leads to excessive worry and anxiety. In such cases, it may be helpful to try to challenge your negative thoughts and consider other possible outcomes.
Smoking, alcohol, and drug abuse
People who chain-smoke, consume excessive liquor, and abuse drugs do so to numb negative emotions or escape from problems. However, drug abuse can lead to serious health problems and can worsen mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. A mental health professional or addiction specialist can help you address the underlying causes of your substance use and develop healthier coping strategies.