A coping mechanism, coping strategy, or coping behavior is the action someone engages in to cope with stress while protecting themselves from psychological harm. Coping styles can be healthy or unhealthy, some even destructive. Emotion-focused coping is typically healthier than problem-focused coping. Unhealthy coping mechanisms are counterproductive.
Emotion-focused coping skills shifts how we experience potential stressors to lower their negative impact. It can be valuable because we don’t need to work on changing the inevitable or wait for our lives to change. We find a way to accept the situation we’re facing at present, allowing the body to recover from stress and eliminating the risk of chronic stress and everything it entails.
Another benefit of emotion-focused coping skills is the fact that it enables you to access solutions. You can use this coping strategy to get into a better frame of mind before attempting to find solutions. We all know it’s impossible to make effective decisions when you’re stressed and overwhelmed. Some of the most beneficial healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress are:
You can manage your emotions through journaling in many ways. It can serve as an emotional outlet for overwhelming feelings or allow you to brainstorm solutions for issues you might have. Journaling can also help you feel less stressed by encouraging positive feelings.
Reframing is an excellent way of coping with stress. It enables you to change the way you view a problem, allowing you to choose whether you feel stressed or not. It’s not about pretending the stressor doesn’t exist or tricking yourself out of feeling stressed, but more about seeing new perspectives, benefits and solutions.
Dealing with stress alone is likely to make you feel hopeless, especially in the case of the death of a loved one. One of the best ways to manage this type of stress is seeking social support. Turn to your friends and family in order to cope with such a stressful event.
Meditation enables you to relax your body to reverse your stress response. It separates you from your thoughts and the way your body reacts to stress. Meditation allows you to take a moment and choose a response rather than react out of fear or panic.
Ineffective Coping Mechanisms (Styles of Coping) to Avoid
- Lowering your expectations
- Wishful thinking
- Avoidance and denial of the problem
- Addiction (pills, drugs and alcohol)
- Anger or aggressive behaviour
- Eating disorders
Positive thinking or, rather, toxic positivity can also be a negative coping strategy. It’s the belief that, no matter how terrible a situation is, people should continue to have a positive mindset. This coping style reduces and denies all human emotions that aren’t positive or happy.
Not all problems can be solved. You can’t change the way someone behaves, control stressful situations or undo a health diagnosis. But, you can change how you feel about and react to the problem. Try out different emotion-focused coping styles to discover which ones work for you. At Integrative Coaching, we value your health and well being. If you need help with forming better stress coping mechanisms, wish to locate the source of your problem and find solutions, we are here to help you. Give us a call to book a session today. Your first one is free.