What are Coping Mechanisms?

daily life habits of happy and successful people
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Coping mechanisms are emotional or behavioural responses to stress-inducing or triggering situations. It is a way of promoting mental stabilizer and easing yourself in frustrating or scary situations. It is a good and healthy way of adjusting to your fears and insecurities.

What types of situations cause coping mechanisms?

Any stressful situation in life can lead to creating coping mechanisms. A coping mechanism is a psychological reaction to stress and anxiety. The problems can range from a messy divorce, parental separation, a car accident or an irreparable loss. Even certain happy situations such as having a child or buying a new house or car can cause stress and lead to building coping mechanisms.

Are coping mechanisms and defence mechanisms the same?

No, coping mechanisms should not be confused with defence mechanisms. They might have some similarities but are fundamentally two different concepts.

A defence mechanism is an unconscious habit that sometimes even the individual is unaware of; it is a way of handling yourself that your brain decides.

A coping mechanism, on the other hand, is a conscious decision where you are in control. The act of choosing something and doing it for your mental health is what makes coping mechanisms work and so impactful.

What are the different types of coping mechanisms?

Your coping mechanism depends on the stressful situation in your life and your nature. Everyone has different ways of reacting to the same problems; some love to let loose after a king week of working by going out while some enjoy a calm day inside the house. Your coping mechanism is yours to choose.

Here are a few common coping mechanisms:

Asking for help

This might sound like a regular thing, but many people have difficulty talking about their problems. However, some people need to discuss their troubles and worries to support their family and friends.

Progressive relaxation activities

Many people choose to unwind by doing something creative like painting or sketching, watching their favourite movie, or listening to some songs. Any recreational hobby can be your coping mechanism, and it is a healthy and beneficial habit to grow.


Many people have the habit of cracking jokes or making unnecessary funny comments during stressful situations. It is a coping mechanism that is generally light and helps tone down the stress and worries in a case.


Fitness lovers know how important it is to exercise after a long day of work. Exercising helps open your mind, progressively use your energy and get some good rest.

Are there unhealthy coping mechanisms?

Yes, unhealthy or maladaptive coping mechanisms do exist. A few of them are:

Obsessive eating

Obsessive or stress eating is a coping mechanism that many peoples create. It is a way of seeking pleasure and happiness through good food when a stressful situation presents itself. It might feel good initially, but you will soon find yourself obsessed will junk food or in an unhealthy relationship with your diet.


Another sad and seriously disturbingly coping mechanism is self-harm. People who practice this habit usually define it as a way of channelling all the hurt and anger in a different direction or making the mental anguish go away by replacing it will physical pain. It is risky and harmful. If you see yourself causing self-harm during stressful situations, immediately seek the help of a medical professional.