A Brief Guide on Coping Mechanisms
Life is always not easy breezy, and there are many curveballs that you may deal with. Depression, anxiety, and other stressful times may break a person and lead them into a downward spiral.
How you react or adapt to it is a coping mechanism to manage many difficult and stressful situations.
A person’s behavior and living patterns can change when dealing with depression or anxiety. Your brain triggers coping mechanisms as a defense mechanism to keep you psychologically safe.
Many people would be surprised to know that even positive emotions or events in life may trigger coping strategies. When it comes to coping, it can be internal, or it could show itself through your behavioral changes. In a stressful situation, a positive coping method could be leading an active lifestyle, but on the contrary, numbing one’s feelings or emotions is deemed an unhealthy method.
There are two different types of mechanisms when it comes to coping, such as adaptive and maladaptive.
1. Adaptive Coping
Adaptive coping can be deemed a cognitive response to an emotionally stressful situation. It is a psychological mechanism that steps in as a protective measure to deal with the adverse effects of a stressful situation.
Problem solvers and curious people often adopt this coping strategy as they may react better to these situations.
- Get active: When you indulge in physical activity, your brain releases endorphins, a natural stress-relieving hormone. This helps reduce the emotional distress caused by a stressful situation.
- Laugh more: Laughing can seem like far-fetched emotions when you are under stress, but by simply consuming funny content or surrounding yourself with humorous people, you can help yourself cope with stress.
- Address the problem: If there is a particular problem that is causing emotional instability, then you must look for ways you can solve the problem. If it seems too big for you to solace, you must seek the help of a person you trust to help you with the issue.
- Take time: Sometimes, all you need is some space and time to cool off. So, try to forget about the situation or things causing stress and indulge yourself in things you like. If you do not want to do something, just take a break to put your mind at rest for a while simply.
2. Maladaptive Coping
The maladaptive coping mechanisms may be effective in temporarily relieving the stress, but they fail to address the core or root cause of stress. So, it might lead to even more stress in the future or a downward spiral since you tend to put it off for a long time.
- Numbing behavior: Numbing the emotions refers to ignoring any emotion that a stressful situation might trigger. However, avoiding feelings and indulging in unhealthy habits may lead to more emotional distress.
- Escape mechanism: People tend to isolate themselves or might not take an interest in their work, social life, and everyday life.
- Overindulgence: When people try to block out the stressors, they might overindulge in activities that make them happy or reduce the stress altogether.
People adopt these two types of coping strategies when they are suffering from anxiety or depression.