Healthy Ways of Coping
Updated: Feb 25
There are many healthy methods of coping that are very effective, so it's important to focus on these types of coping instead of unhealthy tendencies. Try to focus on the following coping methods if you find that you often resort to unhealthy strategies.
Disrupting the Body's Stress Response
One effective type of coping mechanism is to change the state your body is in. These are usually most effective in scenarios in which you need to stay calm or when your functioning depends on you being relaxed. Here are some ways that you can disrupt your body's stress response:
Eating something can help relieve panic/distress since it can disturb your body's stress response. This is because most of the time, if we are eating something, we are not in danger, so eating something can help your brain realize that you are okay.
Meditating, relaxation techniques, stretching and massage all help calm the body down during times of stress.
Exercise helps change negative emotions since it can cause you to unconsciously re-attribute your body's hyper-excited state to the exercise instead of stress.
When you have control over a situation and can resolve a problem easily, it is usually most effective to deal with the problem head-on. Here are some types of problem-focused coping techniques:
Change your behaviour and take action to solve the problem you are faced with.
Acquiring information about the stressors or problems can help you become more okay with them.
In situations in which you have little or no control, or when you can't immediately solve a problem, it is usually best to tend to your negative emotions. Here are some types of emotion-focused coping techniques:
Seeking social support is a good coping mechanism when you are dealing with stress.
Practicing gratitude can help you focus on other positive areas of your life to try not to let your mind be carried away by your thoughts.
Giving to others and supporting others can increase your positive emotions and is a good way to take your mind off of negative emotions.
Some people find that thinking about a problem in different, more positive ways can help. For example, you could view setbacks as learning experiences or opportunities to try something new. However, make sure that you are still allowing yourself to feel negative emotions when they are warranted to avoid becoming intolerant of negative emotions. You can allow yourself to feel negative emotions while also trying to think of problems differently.