Our responses to stress and our ways that we cope all differ. Sometimes we are looking to fill a void within us, looking to not feel how we really feel and avoid our emotions, . Sometimes it’s a bad habit, sometimes it’s an addiction. Whether it is over or under eating, drinking, nail biting, spending money, over working, promiscuity/sex/attention, gambling, procrastinating, withdrawing/ignoring/isolating yourself, taking care of others, obsessing about our bodies, perfectionism, bingeing on TV, scrolling social media, or any other number of things we do to avoid, to cope, to numb or to fill; Whilst these actions may soothe us they will not ever fulfil us. Having the awareness that this is what we are doing is the first step to changing. What feels good in the short term often isn’t helpful or healthy in the long term either mentally or physically. Generally these unhealthy coping mechanisms will have detrimental affects on our health and our lives in the future. It is more obvious to see that food is the overweight persons coping mechanism, many of us have one or more ways of coping that are not so obvious, they can be hidden and ignored. We can look to reduce, remove, replace with healthier options, when we know better, we do better. Other ways to cope could include movement: Walking, running, dancing, lifting weights. It could be mindfulness, meditation, breathing and/or time in nature. It could just be feeling what you are feeling and not denying or ignoring the feelings you have. It could just be not doing what you have always done because you know it ultimately isn’t helpful or good for you. Acknowledging that something isn’t healthy, helps. If we have the strong desire to do something unhealthy, we can have the strong desire not to, it all comes down to developing mental fitness, something that comes with awareness, practice and consistent effort. What are you unhealthy coping mechanisms?