Over the years, I’ve added many coping techniques and strategies to my mental health toolkit. While these techniques have provided a lot of support on my mental health journey, they’ve also created some problems. I realized I was putting too much pressure on my coping techniques, and that’s what I want to share today.
My best example of this problem is my current relationship with meditation. For a long time, I was averse to meditation – it’s not that I thought it didn’t work for people, I just thought it didn’t work for me. After shifting my attitude around meditation, I started to have success with finding time in my day to ground myself, find peace, or decompress after a long day.
But the more I meditated, the more I relied on it to help me with any issue I was having with my mental health – and this is where I ran into trouble. I was placing an enormous amount of pressure on meditation to fix what was wrong with me, to make everything better. I’d developed an unrealistic and unhelpful relationship with meditation, and I needed to do something about it.
When I tinker with coping techniques and strategies related to my mental wellness, the most important question I have is “will this work for me?” Obviously it’s helpful to know if other people have benefitted from it, but I make sure that I am still the most important factor (as each person should be when they’re making decisions for themselves).
And while that question is helpful to ask when I want to learn something new, there’s a more important question to ask when I’m putting my techniques into practice – is this what I need right now? I rarely asked that question before, and now that I’m starting to ask it, I’ve noticed a few things. The most important thing I’ve noticed is that when it came to a lot of my coping techniques, I was relying on what I wanted to do, not what I needed in the moment. And that’s what I want to correct.
I ignored what is one of the best parts of having a mental health toolkit – there is more than one thing that might provide relief or calm when we’re facing challenges. In fact, there could be several! And by shifting to focusing on what I need rather than what I “feel like” doing (which is a whole other issue, believe me), I’m placing a focus on wellness and building good habits.
Like many other aspects of mental wellness, I’m working to undo almost 30 years of thinking one way in favor of another. That type of change takes time. But the more we can recognize our tendencies and replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, the better off we are on our mental health journeys.
Now, over to you! Do you ever find yourself relying a lot on a coping technique or some type of mental wellness? Let me know in the comments!