Life is an ongoing ride of ups and downs. While we experience good times, sometimes the bad times can feel heavy and overwhelm us. Each of us has our own ways of coping, even if you don’t know it. Coping mechanisms are the strategies people often use in the face of stress to help manage painful or difficult emotions. Coping strategies can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being.
If you’re stressed, you may take a nap or read a book. While there is no “wrong” way to cope, there are some damaging coping mechanisms we can default to. One way to get through the struggles in life while practicing healthy habits is to better understand what coping is and how you can do so in a healthy way.
Stress and hard times are inevitable, arm yourself with the right tools by learning and executing the coping techniques we dive into here.
We’ll start with the definition of Coping: “to face and deal with responsibilities, problems, or difficulties, especially successfully or in a calm or adequate manner.” By definition, we cope with just about everything in life. Good or bad, how we “deal” with those things is how we are coping.
The unfortunate fact is American’s continue to feel moderate to high stress, with 44 percent reporting their stress levels have gone up in the past 5 years. American’s report stress coming from money, work, and the economy to name a few. With these mounting stresses, coping techniques are needed.
We can break down coping into three different coping styles: Task-oriented, emotion-oriented, and avoidance-oriented. We’ll explain how these styles are used when facing illness.
Task-Oriented This style is focused on efforts to solve the problem. An example of this style is seeking medical advice.
Emotion-Oriented This style has emotions in the driver’s seat. An example of this style is ruminating about the illness.
Avoidance-Oriented This style is engaging in an activity or thought that is not related to the stressor. An example here is not going to doctor’s appointments or planning an approach to care.
There are healthy and helpful coping strategies as well as unhealthy ones. For example, smoking a cigarette is a common coping mechanism, but it is bad for your health. There are plenty of alternatives that are not going to harm you and some can even help you to get past the stressful situation.
Some positive coping techniques include:
Positive Reframing When facing a troubling diagnosis or bad news, it can help to find the humor in the situation. By reframing your situation and looking at it from a positive light, it can help ease stress.
Seek Support Support is huge in getting through tough situations. Whether you lean on loved ones or locate a support group for what you’re going through, this is a healthy way to cope.
Relaxation This can mean rest, sleep, meditation or calming yoga practice. However you choose to relax is an excellent option to get through a hard situation.
Your best bet to move through stressful feelings while also working toward a resolution is by using task-oriented coping strategies. While this might be the best route, it’s not the only one and might not help you as much as other options.
Above all, we recommend you take a second and recognize how you cope with difficult feelings and situations. Are you harming yourself? Are you avoiding it altogether? How can you practice positive coping strategies?
The Mooditude app is your way of learning, mastering, and practicing the best coping strategies for you. Mooditude offers coping activities to prevent impulsiveness and unhealthy coping with its comprehensive coping program full of activities. You may not have control over the struggles in life, but you do have control over how you get through it.