I will start off by saying that 2018 was very tough on me. It was arguably the toughest year of my life, mentally, physically and emotionally, so far. I experienced two really tough losses and had several medical challenges- all shortly after getting married and moving hundreds of miles away from all of my family and friends.
I struggled with many difficult emotions.
Though I consider myself a very strong person, after a while, it felt like my internal reservoir of strength completely dried up! More and more, I would feel really….ON EDGE. Thoughts and “what ifs” would constantly race through my mind and fill my brain. I’d get annoyed and wound up really quickly; any slight inconvenience would just make me snap! It was not a healthy mental state and I wasn’t equipped to cope with this newfound anxiety and stress.
Well, I serendipitously stumbled upon an unusual coping mechanism that ended up REALLY helping me:
Yes, you read that right.
Candy Crush, as in the app. Yup…this phone game:
I originally downloaded Candy Crush so that my nieces and nephews would have something to play when I visit them.
(I take my self proclaimed title of ‘cool auntie’ VERY seriously).
The game had a massive amount of positive reviews on the App Store and I remember hearing people talk about how addictive Candy Crush it is. So, I downloaded it.
So now, you’re probably wondering how I started playing Candy Crush for myself
Well, in the moments when I would feel especially irritable and stressed, I craved something to distract myself from my thoughts and my emotions. I wanted to channel all that raging mental energy somewhere and into something because darn it, it was driving me crazy.
FOR MORE WELLNESS CONTENT, READ:
1. Emotionally Drained: 10 Things I Did To Bounce Back From Extreme Discouragement
2. How To Be More Positive
So, one day when I felt overwhelmed with emotion, I sat down on my room floor and opened the Candy Crush app in an effort to distract myself by discovering and conquering a new game.
Before I knew it, I was playing candy crush every single day. As soon as I would feel triggered, I opened the app. I crushed 2,970 levels over the course of a few months. I was really dedicated to crushing candy (haha) and guess what? IT ACTUALLY WORKED.
You’re probably wondering how in the world this little game could have possibly helped me…
Well, it was two things:
- It distracts my mind. When I am hyper focused on the game, my mind escapes the negative cycle of thoughts it was previously stuck on.
- Conquering multiple levels is uplifting and empowering. Candy Crush is basically an easy (yet progressively challenging) series of puzzles. Repeatedly solving these puzzles subconsciously gives me confidence when I am struggling with self-doubt. It’s this reaffirming cycle of: encounter challenge -> conquer challenge -> gain reward (points). That straightforward cause and effect is just calming.
Candy Crush obviously didn’t solve my problems but that’s not what a coping mechanism is even supposed to do.
Coping mechanisms help you stay emotionally and mentally stable so that you can address your issues and achieve wellness.
There are times when I don’t play Candy Crush for months!
But you know what? it’s a tool that is permanently in my wellness toolbag and I don’t hesitate to pull it out when I need it.
For more conventional coping mechanisms, check out this free trial for the Headspace app!
So, now it’s your turn to tell me….What weird coping mechanisms do you have?