Healthy vs. Unhealthy Ways of Coping

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Ways of CopingMany of us are familiar with the McDonald’s commercial, which features the catchy phrase, “You deserve a break today.” If we’re honest, we’ll admit that many of us have turned to food (or other things) to cope with bad days or pain from past traumas.

But suppose we know the difference between unhealthy and healthy coping methods. In that case, we’ll be much more likely to overcome addiction.

Unhealthy Ways to Cope
If you’re stuck in addiction, you may embrace the unspoken belief of “avoid pain at all costs.” If your primary defense has been to stop acting out, unhealthy coping patterns will keep you from healing. (more…)

Self-Control is a Muscle You Must Exercise

Self-Control is a Muscle You Must ExerciseSelf-control is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “restraint exercised over one’s impulses, emotions, or desires.”

But self-control doesn’t come naturally for most people. It can be difficult not to give in to triggers and temptations. Old habits die hard; healthy habits take work. It’s easy to get through the end of a hard day and feel entitled to spend the evenings escaping by turning to overeating, watching porn, or on the couch binge-watching television or playing video games.

Where does self-control come from? The Bible teaches that self-control comes from two things.

First, it’s a fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT) says, “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!” (more…)

9 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holiday Season

9 Tips for Staying Sober During the Holiday SeasonBetween parties and family get-togethers, staying sober during the holidays can be a challenge. Interacting with old friends and family members may stir up hard feelings, bad memories, difficult conversations, and tempting situations. But by following these tips, it’s possible to thrive—not just survive—this holiday season.

1. Have a plan in place.
Before going to a party or spending time with family, think about what will happen. Have a team of friends and accountability partners to provide support. Here are some questions to ask:

  • “Who is going to be there?”
  • “What feelings will this bring up?”
  • “Am I even ready to go?”

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Substitute a New Behavior for Eating

Substitute a New Behavior for EatingHealing and recovery are often progressive because it requires changes in a person’s character and actions. The way to cope with emotional pain must change if the decision is to no longer eat (drink, or any other addictive reaction) through the pain.

Keeping a record of what one does when one becomes emotionally upset is an excellent way to watch progress occur, perhaps in a journal. The journey to finding new alternatives to eating might look like this: “I received an upsetting phone call from my ex. This made me feel hurt, so I went to the refrigerator and opened the door to eat.” Now, think of a new way to cope with that feeling. What could be a substitute for eating? One recommendation is calling a friend to pray. Here’s another example: “I heard someone gossip about me at church. This made me feel angry, so I stopped for fries at a fast-food restaurant.” A good alternative would be to gently confront the person who did the gossiping rather than feed the feelings. (more…)

How to Calm Anger

How to Calm AngerWhenever a disappointment in life remains unresolved, a thin layer of pain is formed over the heart. Over time, and as more and more layers of pain are added, the heart grows heavier and harder. Eventually, a person ends up with a heart of stone.

Anyone or anything that attempts to penetrate its exterior is met with harsh, cold rage. These disappointments range in size—from smaller  ones, such as a mom forgetting to give their child a promised ice cream cone, to larger ones like a dad telling a child that he is ashamed of them and wished you had never been born.

But even after a lifetime of mismanaged disappointments that have turned into anger, there’s hope to calm anger.

The actual object of anger must be confirmed. Most of the stuff that creates anger isn’t what a person is furious about. Those are just the triggers that set in motion the wheels of angry behavior. A driver might falsely accuse some out-of-control motorist of their anger when, in fact, it often goes much deeper than that. (more…)