So my doctor always says this, “Whatever works, works”
And he is right!
Everything heals with time, and the fact that it might break and tear again does not invalidate that. However, some actions we take can speed up healing.
Therefore I have a bag of tricks… coping mechanisms, from recording uplifting videos, to journaling, to mediating and even what I am doing now…
writing… better yet sharing.
Today’s post is about the tricks of the trade in more detail, I was inspired to discuss this, because my mum shared (loving that word, today) an article from Harvard Health on Nutritional psychiatry, which highlighted, what to me is one of the most powerful trick… yes what you eat is a coping mechanism… and you need to be careful with it; sometimes you abuse it and then develop another problem.
Now, the thing you should keeping in mind is that… not all tricks work all the time. In fact, some tricks have to be abandoned or refined. In addition, some tricks may actually be conflicting, counterintuitive or cumbersome to execute.
Okay, lets dive in, in no particular order…
- Nutrition: as earlier mentioned what we eat determines who we are literally, both in our bodies make up (physical) but also other aspects of our person: our mind (mental/work), our heart (interactions/relationships) and our soul (purpose/meaning/mission). Now you are wondering how those chemicals have anything to do with thoughts, concepts, networks etc. but you have to understand no matter how good the software is, its the hardware that determines its limits.
- Music: another of the most powerful coping mechanisms for me… and it doesn’t matter what genre, because different genres have their moments. Both the melodies and the lyrics are equally powerful; from high octave inspirational gospel music, to mellow sleep inducing classical music and all the afrobeats, pop, rock, jazz… in between.
- Motion: this is more than just exercise, this is motion in all its facets: standard exercises especially walking, dancing (this is a big one for me as I called my self an amateur professional), yoga, play and sports, Tai Chi, even simple labour and chores.
- Writing: I isolate writing because anyone who has felt the pressure of too many thoughts and lack of peace understands the release in being able to unload of those ideas, with pen and paper, in their raw form. Writing to me also involves creating literature, journaling or documenting (reflections, plans, goals, to do lists, activities), which helps keep you accountable and aware of your current mindset, and writing posts (sharing)
- Creation & Appreciation: this covers the videos I make for myself, the affirmations I create and other aspects of creation (games, drawings, stories) as well as appreciating other people’s creations. This is another powerful tool for me both in the terms of reconnecting with my motivation and my belief in the awesomeness of human beings, as a tool to create or inspire myself, as a tool to remind myself of better days, of the rewards of perseverance, of the fact that some of the happiest moments in my life are still ahead, of the fact that valleys are only located near mountains.
- Meditation & Communing: mediation and communing is going back to spend time in the presence of my God; that breath of life he gave to me, focusing on it and listening to his counsel in my heart.
- Social interactions: positive social interactions and relationships, that add to your cup, sometimes from you serving and sometimes from them serving. I prefer to emphasis laughter here, as although it also manifest in Creation, Appreciation and Writing, it manifests the best for me in my relationships. Spending time with family and friends that actually love you and you loving is a balm.
- Sleep and relaxation: probably the most important and a grossly underrated coping mechanism. Sleep deeply, sleep long enough and rest frequently.
There maybe other coping mechanisms in my bag of tricks… but these are the ones I think hold the most universal application. I hope they help you navigate the storms of life… so not just cope but thrive.