Monday, May 13, 2013

Positive Coping Mechanisms

About a week ago I was discussing something with a cousin of mine when she said "I was going to say 'don't let it get to you', but nothing ever does get to you!"  I'm glad I show that kind of positive attitude.  Not true of course.  I'm only human.  But I have made a very long term and serious study of positive coping mechanisms and I observe them enough that apparently the world at large doesn't generally see it when I am frustrated.  Allow me to share some thoughts on that subject with you.

My first, last and foremost coping mechanism is prayer.  Everything else comes in second.  Nevertheless, there are tools that anyone, religious or not, can employ.  Firstly, listen to your body.  It can help heal your mind, and it knows what the body can do to help.  What is one's initial reaction when angry?  Punch something, right?  Exactly.  Go to the gym and take it out on weight lifting or kickboxing.  This releases the energy that is pent up and irritating you.  What does the body do when nervous?  Pace?  Jump on the treadmill or engage in other forms of cardio.  It has a tendency to clear the mind of anxiety.  Can't let something go?  Stretch it out and release tension with yoga.  One of my favorites is coping with depression, and it is because of my coping strategy when depressed that people think I am constantly happy.  When I am depressed I look for good in others and tell them I appreciate them.  I serve others.  It seems counter intuitive, but it reverses the very self centered poison that feeds depression.  My fear I turn into becoming profoundly positive and outgoing.  It is difficult for anyone to harm you when you are complimenting people left and right and everyone thinks you are terribly sweet.  It helps a person cope and is extremely disarming to anyone else who may wish to cause trouble.  Now, I am not saying that this is the only reason I have a positive attitude.  Usually it is very sincerely positive.  But there are times when my outward positive attitude stems from pain or sadness. 

I have to revert back to the subject of prayer because there are times when all of this together will fail to release the negative energy a person has locked away.  I turn to the Lord and express my honest willingness to do anything, sacrifice anything, to have peace restored to my soul.  Sometimes the Lord sees fit, even after countless hours on my knees, to let me hold on to whatever negative issues trouble me.  At that point, I have to ask, "what wouldst Thou have me do with it?"  And I promise that when we leave no stone unturned, give our whole souls to seek peace and still peace doesn't come, there is always a reason and God will fight our battles for us.  Some years ago, a situation became so rough that I had no choice but to face confrontation, which is always my last resort.  At that moment I felt the power of the Lord with me and I leveled an accusation at the other person that surprised me out of my wits.  It was not at all the reason I was frustrated.  Nevertheless, I felt powerfully that this was what the other person needed to hear.  I spent much time pondering that experience and later, as I came face to face with this person again, dynamics had shifted ever so slightly and a light bulb flashed on in my mind.  I realized that had I used my own words, it would have made the situation much worse and left me flat.  The argument I employed had hit a mark that I hadn't even realized was there.  As I turned to the Lord after that I felt much impressed as to the reason He had left that frustration with me.  The answer came to my mind "This was never your argument, or your battle to fight.  It was Mine.  You were just the instrument." 

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