Defense mechanisms (or coping mechanisms are automatic ways in which we have learned to cope with the disturbing stimuli bombarding us throughout our days. We use these coping mechanisms automatically, without thought. They are often self-soothing, feeling good at the moment but without thought to how it effects you or others. Some of them are benign, harmless – think pacing, playing video games, watching porn, isolating, etc. Though such things are not obviously harmful, in excess it can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle and feeling even worse about yourself. Other self-soothing coping mechanisms can be harmful and toxic to us, leaving us in a worse state than we started off. Such coping mechanisms that are more immediately risky include pulling out one’s hair, cutting, stealing/ kleptomania, risky sexual behaviors, the list goes on and on. You can make a conscious intervention with such automatic mechanisms. Build new habits using your conscious awareness that you are feeling badly. Put together some healthy coping skills/ coping strategies that are healthy and actualizing to you. Activities such as calming breathing exercises, meditating, yoga, physical exercise. Creative endeavors such as art, music, knitting, writing, etc. These kind of activities are healthy and enriching can become more automatic, habitual in the face of stress. They can be your go-to behaviors and can be made automatic with conscious repetition. Find out what your specific go-to coping skills can be (they’re different for everyone) and make a habit of them.