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Mental Health: Little Things We Do to Get Through the Day!

WHAT ARE COPING MECHANISMS?

Momentous life events, be it positive or negative, can cause mental stress. Problematic events, such as divorce, miscarriage, the passing of a loved one, or the loss of a job can cause most people to feel anguish or sorrow. But even events that are generally considered positive— getting married, having a baby, and buying a home—can lead to a substantial amount of stress. To adjust to this pressure, people may employ some combination of behavior, thought, and sentiment, contingent on the circumstances

People use coping mechanisms for trauma or to cope with anger, loneliness, anxiety, or depression.

TYPES OF COPING MECHANISMS

Among the more commonly used adaptive coping mechanisms are:

Support: Talking about a stressful incident/problem with a supportive person can be an effective way to manage stress. Seeking outside support as an alternative to self-isolation which makes internalizes the effects of stress can greatly reduce the adverse effects of a difficult situation.

Relaxation: Various relaxing activities can help cope with stress. Such activities may include meditation, muscle relaxation or other calming practices, spending time in nature, or listening to relaxing music.

Problem-solving: This coping mechanism encompasses identifying a problem that is triggering stress and initiating potential solutions to effectively manage it.

Humor: Making light of a traumatic situation may help people maintain perspective and deter the situation from becoming devastating.

Physical activity: Exercise can act as a natural and healthy form of stress release. Yoga, swimming, walking, dance, team sports and jogging many other forms of physical activity can help cope with pressure and the consequences of traumatic events.

A short list of common maladaptive coping mechanisms includes:

Escape: To cope with anxiety or trauma, some people withdraw from social situations and isolate themselves. They may engross themselves in a solitary activity such as playing videogames, reading, watching television or spending time online.

Unhealthy self-soothing: Some self-soothing activities are healthy in temperance but may turn into an unhealthy addiction, to use them to self-soothe. Some examples of unhealthy self-soothing could include alcoholism, overeating or excessive use of internet or video games.

Numbing: Some self-soothing behaviors may turn into numbing behaviors. When a person engages such behavior, they are often aware of their actions and may seek out activities that will help them drown out their stress. People sometimes numb their stress by eating junk food, alcoholism, or drug use.

Compulsions and risk-taking: Stress can cause people to seek an adrenaline rush such as irresponsible driving, gambling, unsafe sex, drug abuse or theft.

Self-harm: People may sometimes even engage in self-harming behaviors to cope with extreme trauma or pressure.

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