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Coping Mechanisms

Coping Mechanisms

Coping mechanisms are the strategies people often use in the face of stress and/or trauma to help manage painful or difficult emotions. Coping mechanisms can help people adjust to stressful events while helping them maintain their emotional well-being.

WHAT ARE COPING MECHANISMS?

Significant life events, whether positive or negative, can cause psychological stress. Difficult events, such as divorce, miscarriage, the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job, can cause most people to feel grief or distress. But even events that are considered positive by many—getting marriedhaving a child, and buying a home—can lead to a significant amounts of stress. To adjust to this stress, people may utilize some combination of behavior, thought, and emotion, depending on the situation.

People may use coping mechanisms for stress management or to cope with anger, loneliness, anxiety, or depression.

HOW ARE COPING MECHANISMS AND DEFENSE MECHANISMS DIFFERENT?

Some may confuse defense mechanisms with coping mechanisms. Although these two concepts share some similarities, they are, in fact, different.

  • Defense mechanisms mostly occur at an unconscious level, and people are generally unaware they are using them. One’s use of coping mechanisms, on the other hand, is typically conscious and purposeful.
  • Coping mechanisms are used to manage an external situation that is creating problems for an individual. Defense mechanisms can change a person’s internal psychological state.

 

COPING STYLES AND MECHANISMS

Coping styles can be problem-focused—also called instrumental—or emotion-focused. Problem-focused coping strategies are typically associated with methods of dealing with the problem in order to reduce stress, while emotion-focused mechanisms can help people handle any feelings of distress that result from the problem.

Further, coping mechanisms can be broadly categorized as active or avoidant. Active coping mechanisms usually involve an awareness of the stressor and conscious attempts to reduce stress. Avoidant coping mechanisms, on the other hand, are characterized by ignoring or otherwise avoiding the problem.

Some coping methods, though they work for a time, are not effective for a long-term period. These ineffective coping mechanisms, which can often be counterproductive or have unintended negative consequences, are known as “maladaptive coping.” Adaptive coping mechanisms are those generally considered to be healthy and effective ways of managing stressful situations.

TYPES OF COPING MECHANISMS

Among the more commonly used adaptive coping mechanisms are:

  • Support: Talking about a stressful event with a supportive person can be an effective way to manage stress. Seeking external support instead of self-isolating and internalizing the effects of stress can greatly reduce the negative effects of a difficult situation.
  • Relaxation: Any number of relaxing activities can help people cope with stress. Relaxing activities may include practicing meditation, progressive muscle relaxation or other calming techniques, sitting in nature, or listening to soft music.
  • Problem-solving: This coping mechanism involves identifying a problem that is causing stress and then developing and putting into action some potential solutions for effectively managing it.
  • Humor: Making light of a stressful situation may help people maintain perspective and prevent the situation from becoming overwhelming.
  • Physical activity: Exercise can serve as a natural and healthy form of stress relief. Running, yoga, swimming, walking, dance, team sports, and many other types of physical activity can help people cope with stress and the aftereffects of traumatic events.

A short list of common maladaptive coping mechanisms includes:

  • Escape: To cope with anxiety or stress, some people may withdraw from friends and become socially isolated. They may absorb themselves in a solitary activity such as watching television, reading, or spending time online.
  • Unhealthy self-soothing: Some self-soothing behaviors are healthy in moderation but may turn into an unhealthy addiction if it becomes a habit to use them to self-soothe. Some examples of unhealthy self-soothing could include overeating, binge drinking, or excessive use of internet or video games.
  • Numbing: Some self-soothing behaviors may become numbing behaviors. When a person engages in numbing behavior, they are often aware of what they are doing and may seek out an activity that will help them drown out or override their distress. People may seek to numb their stress by eating junk food, excessive alcohol use, or using drugs.
  • Compulsions and risk-taking: Stress can cause some people to seek an adrenaline rush through compulsive or risk-taking behaviors such as gambling, unsafe sex, experimenting with drugs, theft, or reckless driving.
  • Self-harm: People may engage in self-harming behaviors to cope with extreme stress or trauma.

COPING MECHANISMS AND MENTAL HEALTH

The use of effective coping skills can often help improve mental and emotional well-being. People who are able to adjust to stressful or traumatic situations (and the lasting impact these incidents may have) through productive coping mechanisms may be less likely to experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns as a result of painful or challenging events.

People who find themselves defaulting to maladaptive coping mechanisms and/or experience difficulty utilizing effective coping strategies may eventually see a negative impact on mental and emotional well-being. Those who have a difficult time knowing how to cope with anxiety, stress, or anger may fall into the habit of relying on a maladaptive coping mechanism. Consuming alcohol can often help people feel less stressed in the immediate moment, for example, but if a person comes to rely on alcohol, or any other substance, in the face of challenging situations, they may eventually become dependent on the substance over time.

If you experience stress and don’t know how to cope, a therapist or other mental health professional can often help you develop and improve your coping skills. Therapists can provide support and information about coping skills, and therapy sessions can be a safe, nonjudgmental environment for people to explore the coping methods they rely on and determine how they help or hinder stress management.

Reference

Good Therapy (2018) Coping Mechanism. Retrieved from: https://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/psychpedia/coping-mechanisms

Personal Development (Passions and Ambition Pursuing)

Personal Development (Passions and Ambition Pursuing)

Personal Development is the foundation upon which every form of development (social, economic, community, national…) is built. You have to build a strong foundation to experience consistent progress and development. _RARS

Personal development is a stage by stage process everyone must go through alone if you want to feel achieved. Everyone has their own unique ways of going through this development but if we are to follow the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, your physiological needs come first (which are the basic needs of food, water, shelter, oxygen, sex, etc.).

Next up is your safety needs (which involves feeling safe from potentially dangerous physical and psychological situations). Shelter  is one of the vital needs of safety. You must also have clothes and other needs that give you sense of security. You need to improve your emotional intelligence by practising mindfulness, getting rid of unpleasant thoughts, focusing more on positive thoughts and adopting healthy defense mechanisms. You also need to gain more effective coping mechanisms skills necessary for dealing with stress. Don’t wait til you are totally depressed before you reach out for psychological intervention. Take care of your inner being by surrounding yourself with positive people, books and learning to spend quality times with your selg meditating and reflecting. This helps you to discover your strengths and weaknesses. Knowing your weaknesses helps you to build more on your strength which will prevent you from being wasted by your weaknesses.

The third one is your need for love and belongingness (which revolves around affiliation, feeling part of a family/society, giving and receiving trust, acceptance, affection and love, etc). You must learn to give and embrace love. Give love by saying kind words to others, smile and just make others feel what you wish to feel. You are able to embrace love when you give it because while giving you are attracting situations and people that will give you the same feeling of love and affections. Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t fall into the deceptive convention that trauma must follow every pain. Every past experience exists to teach you lessons you will need to keep surviving until you acquire more lessons. Life is all about learning and unlearning. No bad experience should teach you cruelty therefore at every point in time you must learn to care about the feelings of others. That explains you are giving affections and remember we only give things we have even though we think we don’t have them. You are not to solely rely on others for your happiness but ensure that you give that quality attention, be responsible for that happy feelings of others, you will feel more happiness yourself.

The fourth one is the esteem needs (which includes feeling competent, self esteem & self respect, the respect of others, family, at work, etc). When you have optimally met the physiological needs, safety needs and social needs, trust me you automatically feel happy, contented, fulfilled, energized and competent. You feel strong and courageous that you believe there is nothing beyond your power and ability, This is not ostentation at all, it is about naturally carrying yourself with grace and reflecting nobility. You are at peace within therefore you carry along the vibe everywhere you go. Inability to fulfill some of the needs often result into mental distress and social dysfunctions, Nevertheless the inner conflicts that resulted from inability to gratify the previous needs can be alleviated through mental health intervention such as psychotherapy, hypnosis, cognitive-behavioral therapy etc.

The last one is self-actualization (which is reaching one’s full potential and becoming everything one is capable of becoming). Once you gratify all of the previous needs, you progressively triumph in life. You are able to carefully set goals and achieve them. You set your standards and live life according to your terms without being pressured by the noise of the society. Success for everyone is relative and this stage defines it better. A billionnaire is very happy over his accomplishment, someone who has a store is as well very pleased at his or her own accomplishment. Goals are different, means of achieving them are different however one common thing will be the ability to achieve the goals and be filled with a genuine feeling of fulfillment and accomplishment and this is the part we can point out that each person has a purpose to fulfill, fulfilling the purposes is all that makes an individual experience abundant happiness and peace.

“Every creature lives to serve a purpose, you feel pains because you have not discovered yourself nor your purpose. To live a happy life, you need to uncover your cover, understand the deep meaning of life which is proportional to discovering yourself and the Infinite Being known as God. Our success and happiness depend largely on our level of awareness of the Creator”_The Universe.

Now let’s talk about Passion and Ambition.

Steve Jobs once said, “people with passion can change the world for the better”.

When I say passion, I mean the “strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Ambition on the other hand is something that a person hopes to do or achieve. You can always develop your passion and turn it into an ambition but first, you need to:

Understand yourself, ask yourself questions like “WHO AM I?”,” WHAT EXCITES ME?”, “WHAT DO I WANT?”, “WHAT DO I NEED?”, etc. (It is important to know the difference between what you want and what you need.)

You also need to know the things you are not comfortable with – if something doesn’t settle right with you, find another. If you continue on a path with little or no comfort, you might end up being miserable about it.

Find something you are passionate about and make it your ambition. Do this with confidence because without confidence how will you show people who you are and what you can do?

Pursuing and achieving this will make you self-actualized which is a key part of development. Thank you for reading, to engage in exercises that will help to discover and develop yourself. You should  join ProInSafe Leadership And Community Youth (PLACY) Club. Good decision for taking your time to read this information, do yourself more favor of striving to apply the knowledge you have gained from here.