Coping mechanisms are the things we do that help us ‘deal with it’. Some people wash dishes when they need to think. Others cook to lift their mood. Some write a letter they will never mail to the person they just had a fight with.

Coping mechanisms can also be unhealthy for us. Such as eating too much ‘comfort’ food. Or using alcohol to deal with the pain from the argument.

To get past my pain, I tend to play computer games. Like “Zeus” and “Pharoah” and “Black and White” and “Recoil”. I play them to go places away from myself, making the pain seem further away. I build towns and blow up things and other fun stuff. I also read. I read lots of different genres from fantasy to science fiction and yes, even romance novels. Recently my saving hobby has been amateur radio. I am KG4VPY.

Try finding a hobby. What part of your body still works the best? Your brain? Read all you can then read some more. Learn a new word a day and try to use it. Learn a new language. A study of nuns has found that those that kept a journal and continued to read and learn were far less likely to get Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Still got a hand that works? Write, type, hold a book, knit, needlepoint – do something. Hand works but not shoulder? There are a plethora of gadgets and doohickeys out there to help with that.

Still walking? DO IT!! Walk often, especially in quiet areas like a park or an easy trail. Join a walking group. Start taking short hikes. Become a volunteer at the hospital.

Got a wheelchair? Go to the library and read books to kids. Volunteer for an after school program and help kids with homework. Stuck at home? Get on the internet! It’s not as expensive as it once was. It is amazing the amount of information, support group, and education opportunities are out there.

The best coping mechanism is to do something and to find the Joy in the doing, not the getting it done. I know that once I plant some seeds, I may not be able to come out and check them every day. But I find Joy in the doing.