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Positive Coping Mechanisms: Learning To Manage Stress In A Healthy Way

You can't avoid stress, but you can control how you cope with it.

Wellness

The past year and a half has taught us that life is not fair and that many individuals have experienced deep hurt, anxiety, depression and more. The unfortunate part about life circumstances is that we do not have control over them. However, we can control how we respond to things. Positive coping mechanisms are meant to build one's resilience and redirect one's stress level. When dealing with a stressful situation, it is essential to evaluate and determine if you need to change your situation or discover a way to cope with the matter.

Various studies have spoken about two types of coping: problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. Problem-focused coping is when you need to change your situation such as getting rid of the cause of stress. Emotion-focused coping is when you focus on your emotions since you cannot or do not want to change the situation that is causing you stress.

After you have determined the approach in which you are going to take, the implementation of how you choose to cope begins. It is essential that you create a plan of how you decide to deal with stressful moments because it is quite easy to adopt unhealthy methods that can have a negative effect. For example, an individual may decide to binge on junk food as a way of dealing with a hard day of work or finish a bottle of wine or two as a form of dealing with rejection. Both options may seem harmless at first until one's health is in jeopardy.

As you can see, a healthy approach to coping is for your own benefit. So when and if you are experiencing stress or dealing with a difficult time, the following coping mechanisms can be effective.

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Exercise (emotion-focused):

  • Working out releases endorphins that are "feel-good" chemicals that drastically brightens up one's mood. Working out gives you an opportunity to redirect and exhaust your stress and frustrations.

Journaling (emotion-focused):

  • There is something soothing about taking all of the thoughts in your head and writing them on a piece of paper. Keeping things in is not healthy. Therefore, I encourage you to write your feelings out.

Ask for help (problem-focused):

  • Asking for help is never easy to do but it may need to be the very first thing for you to do if the very thing that is causing you stress can be rectified once help arrives.

Implementing a positive coping mechanism into your routine takes time and it is an individualized approach. Meaning, what may work for one person may or may not work for you. Having an open mind allows you to try new coping techniques. You will be very surprised that the technique that you least thought to be helpful may be the most relieving approach.

If you are finding positive coping mechanisms ineffective, I strongly suggest that you speak with a licensed mental health professional who can be of assistance.

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