9 Life Coping Mechanisms You Might Not Realize You’re Using

1. Talking about and expecting worst-case scenarios.

Your check engine light came on so that means your transmission is going kaput and it’ll cost thousands to repair. You have stomach pains so they must be a symptom of pancreatic cancer. There’s turbulence on this flight so your plane is going down in flames any second. Speculating on, and even preparing for horrible outcomes can become second nature for neurotic worriers. I’m guilty of it at times, mentioning awful hypotheticals in the hopes that things won’t actually pan out that way. But there’s some odd comfort because even if they do, I was expecting it to some degree. Still, by doing this you’ll make people think you’re a negative, unpleasant individual and if you do it long enough, you just might turn into one.

2. Eating.

Who doesn’t eat their feelings occasionally? There are few issues in the world that don’t feel at least a little better after chowing down on your favorite dish. Unfortunately cheeseburgers don’t solve problems – trust me, I’ve tried. Often we don’t realize we’ve been using this coping mechanism until it’s 10 pounds too late, and for the sake of our health it’s probably not the best solution to feeling better about our trials and tribulations.

3. Being cold to people when first meeting them.

It’s not always necessarily cold, so much as it is shy. For many, it takes a little time observing and listening to people before they can get a good feel for ‘em, then they’ll engage freely. Unfortunately quiet, and perhaps a little standoffish is often mistaken for rude or snobby, which is why it always helps if you’re able to be shy while wearing an approachable smile on your face.

4. Self-deprecating humor.

Having a good sense of humor is one thing, but insulting oneself should have its limits. When we constantly make jokes about ourselves with the intention of beating any other potential comedian to the punch, we’re blatantly exposing our low self-esteem. For the most part, we want to be confident – or at least give off our best impression of a cool, self-assured individual. The right amount of self-deprecation? You’re Conan O’Brien. Too much, and you’re like a real life Michael Cera character.

5. Using your phone.

We are so dependent on our phones to get through awkward or uncomfortable situations, it’s becoming second nature for the vast majority of people to keep themselves occupied by tapping away at their cellular device. It just creates the appearance of being occupied, allowing us to seem busy or unavailable for any type of other interaction. It’s routine for us to hold these in our hands so that the instant we aren’t completely comfy, we have this to fall back on.

6. Sleeping.

Some have trouble dozing off when their mind is moving at a thousand miles a minute, others? Not so much. If you’re able to sleep during stressful times, it’s really hard not to take advantage of it. When reality is a nightmare, sleep is simply like clocking out and taking a break from life. Sure, we may have bad dreams, but at least we can open our eyes, wake up and escape those nightmares. The thing is, after we’re done sleeping, our reality will continue to make us unhappy until we do whatever we must to fall back in love with life.

7. Shopping.

When we’re not feeling our happiest, there’s something satisfying about owning new things. Wearing new outfits, playing with a new phone, etc. This is even more enjoyable when we order things and get to look forward to their arrival in the mail. Problem is, if you can’t afford to go on these binge-shopping sessions you’ll set yourself back financially. Imagine impulse leasing a car to cope with unhappiness, then being strapped for cash over the next couple years. Also, even if you can afford it, depending on materials to make it through life isn’t exactly healthy. If you insist on spending, always buy an experience over an object.

8. Drinking.

Sometimes we can combine this with the aforementioned eating, and create a hybrid, calorie-heavy coping mechanism. Look, history shows that a drink or two can relieve stress — and other times it’s going to take significantly more than that to get you on the level you’re wanting to reach. It’s difficult to find that fine line between a person utilizing alcohol to ease a taxing stretch of life and a full blown drinking problem, but it’s best that we refrain from judging others immediately. Who knows, in the future you might have a rough two weeks and spend the greater part of that period attending bottomless wine nights on your bathroom floor. Still, like all the others, booze won’t be a resolution to any problems in the end.

9. Significant physical appearance changes.

When we go through some traumatic experience, for example a breakup, sometimes a BIG change of our looks is the answer. Chop off or dye your hair, get a tattoo – these things are representative of our fresh start. Maybe at the time we don’t realize it, but a lot of substantial aesthetic alterations are made with a new beginning in mind. TC Mark

image – Shutterstock

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