#VashtieVices: Unhealthy Ways you may be Coping with Anxiety

2019 has been the year for mental health. Everyone is talking about self-care and ways to achieve mental wholeness. In fact, the word “anxiety” is so commonly used these days that it seems like a normal state and not a condition. Apparently, many people are dealing with some sort of mental exhaustion. It leaves us to wonder if everyone has anxiety today, how are they coping with it?

Coping with anxiety doesn’t always mean using drugs, alcohol, or medication. Sometimes, it can be simpler than that. A coping mechanism can be anything you do to distract yourself from feeling; whatever it takes to silence your mind. Pay attention to what you do when you feel anxious or overwhelmed.

What is your first reflex? How do you cope? We must be intentional about the way we handle negative feelings because that habit will stick with us along as the feeling does. If we can be intentional about the ways we cope with feelings of exhaustion or anxiety, we can create positive coping mechanisms.

Let’s look at a few habits that you may be using to cope:

This photo illustration taken on March 22, 2018 shows a woman looking at Social Networking applications Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Twitter, Messenger and Linkedin on a smartphone in Kuala Lumpur. / AFP PHOTO / Manan VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP via Getty Images)

How long have you been scrolling?

Social Media is a great tool for networking and staying connected, but, if you feel the need to run to IG or Twitter every time you feel overwhelmed, it could be a problem. Randomly scrolling for hours is not very productive. Moreover, seeing the highlight reels on social media can make you feel even more anxious. Find an e-book to skim through when you need to get away for a few moments.

Are you eating again?

Food is good for the body and the soul. A nice, home-cooked meal makes us feel all warm and cozy inside. But if you’re eating 3 square meals a day, plus a snack when you’re stressed, and a bite when you’re bored, and something quick when you’re mad, you may be using food to cope. Food is like a reward in our brain, so we have the tendency to use it as a pick-me-up. Watch out.

What are you buying?

Does walking into your favorite clothing store ( or browsing their homepage) bring you relief? Does it help you to exhale? Yes, yes we’re talking about retail therapy. There is nothing wrong with adding a few pieces to your closet to boost your confidence, but buying a new outfit after every bad workday may be evidence of a bigger problem.

These habits appear to be harmless, but as the saying goes, too much of anything can be bad for you. Social media, food, and retail therapy are great in moderation. However, if these things are overused to offset anxiety, it could be a problem.

Let’s all endeavor to find healthy ways to combat negative feelings.

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