Coping mechanisms are helpful activities that we can use to help us work through hard times. Having coping skills is important when you have mental health disorders because it helps you step away from detrimental symptoms. Having healthy coping skills is important for building resilience, gaining control and processing specific situations.
Coping mechanisms can be classified into healthy or unhealthy. Healthy coping mechanisms are those that help you feel good, as well as move you towards a space of emotional processing, physical wellness and/or a state of self-care. An unhealthy coping mechanism is an activity that becomes a crutch or a necessity to complete to feel better. In other words, the person feels that they are unable to work through difficult moments if they do not have the unhealthy way of coping. The unhealthy coping skill works to numb the senses and avoid the problem instead of helping understand the problem and process it.
Unhealthy coping skills work to avoid or worsen the symptoms. They tend to increase stress and anxiety. It can lead to detrimental behavior and difficulty in creating/sustaining relationships. Examples of unhealthy coping skills are:
- Excessive Drinking
- Excessive Smoking
- Unsafe sex
- Ignoring or storing hurt feelings
- Excessive working
- Avoiding problems
Health coping skills give you strength to get over difficult symptoms and situations. It works to relieve stress as well as establish wellness. Examples of healthy coping skills are:
- Meditation and relaxation techniques
- Time to Yourself
- Going out with friends
- Going out into nature
- Giving your pet’s love
- Doing art
- Get enough sleep
- Eat healthy
- See a therapist
There are many ways to express self-care through healthy coping skills. The sky is the limit! It is very easy to fell into unhealthy coping skills. However, keep in mind that they will do more harm than good. Always keep in mind that when you practice healthy coping skills you care for yourself. You give love and support to the most important person in your life, which is you. Nobody can care and love you like you can. So why not do it right?
P.S. Here’s some more information on coping skills and strategies
- Centre for Studies On Human Stress
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America
- Mental Health Wellness Week