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If you’ve had a go-to action to do when you are in a stressful situation then that is your coping mechanism.
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. Source.
Coping mechanisms are a very important part of our lives, you should learn about them, choose the ones that work for you and keep them accessible to you because you don’t know when something bad will happen, and it will because we are human and painful times are a part of life.
You probably have a few off the top of your head, but here are 10 healthy coping mechanisms to use when in a stressful situation.
Good coping mechanisms for Stress
- Journaling: journaling is a very popular mental health tool because it is very effective. In a stressful situation, there are so many thoughts you through our heads, and journaling will not only help you dump it, it will help you find clarity and calm after letting it all out.
- Doing something creative: creativity is a form of self-expression, expressing your emotions while focusing on something else releases pent-up emotions and leaves you with a work of art.
- Rearranging your surroundings: especially if you have triggers in your environment, rearranging your room or house will stop your brain from associating your present environment with a stressful or traumatic event. Feeling like you are in a new place, will help you associate the place with a feeling of a clean slate.
- De-cluttering: especially when your mind is overwhelmed, de-cluttering and seeing your space get cleaned out reflects that feeling inwards like your thoughts are cleaned out and you feel and think more clearly.
- Feeling connection: connecting with someone is one of the most underrated ways of feeling better. Human connection is a necessary part of our wellbeing and even if you’re not ready to vent or talk about it, having someone there for you will help lighten the load and you won’t feel so alone.
- Grounding yourself: grounding techniques as simple as touching the earth, touching the rain, and basking in the sun, engage your sensory neurons and bring you back to the present which is very to do when feeling the pain of a past event.
- Physical activity: engaging in physical activities like exercise, yoga, dancing, or taking a walk releases endorphins, serotonin, and other good neurochemicals in your body which you lack when you are in a sad, grieving, or depressed state. Having those chemicals released give you energy and you will feel so much better.
- Read: it’s good to get out of your head sometimes especially when you can’t stop those thoughts that are not being helpful. Take a break from your pain, read a nice short story.
- Meditation: you are not supposed to be free of thoughts at any time, you are a human and that is part of you. Meditation is supposed to reduce those thoughts and calm you down a little. Starting with as little as 2-minute meditation videos will help you when dealing with painful or stressful situations.
- Problem-solving: it will help if you can identify the problem and solve it. Self-awareness will help you avoid getting into very painful mental states because that period you spend feeling pain and not knowing what to do will be cut short and sometimes even identifying the problem helps you not dwell on it.
Quick notes about coping mechanisms:
- You don’t need to do all 10 of these. If two work for you, fine. If they don’t, don’t force it.
- Don’t feel bad if de-cluttering or meditation sound feel overwhelming to you, just don’t use them.
- Consult your therapist if you have diagnosed mental illnesses especially if you have OCD, some of these coping mechanisms may be destructive to you instead of constructive.
- You can consult your therapist to come up with a custom coping mechanism strategy for you, just so you know how to manage your stress