Healthy coping mechanisms

Photo by Verywell / Kelly Miller

Everyone goes through stress. It is a part of people’s everyday lives, and can be caused by a variety of different things. Anything from daily responsibilities like work and family to something severe like a bad loss. Stress is unavoidable, but also a normal aspect of life. Letting the stress pile up, and not alleviating it can cause many other mental health issues, which can negatively affect you and the people around you. There are many different ways to alleviate stress, which are called coping mechanisms. These are strategies by which people use in times of stress to help relax and alleviate some or all of the stress they’re enduring.

Keep in mind there are healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Unhealthy mechanisms include behaviors such as avoiding issues, substance abuse, over-sleeping, and over/under eating. These are unhealthy because they don’t help resolve the problem you’re facing, and can also cause other negative health implications. Healthy coping mechanisms vary person-to-person depending on what you love to do, which Is why it’s important to figure your mechanisms out yourself. However, I will go over some common healthy coping mechanisms just to give people some ideas.

Listening to music. Music when used correctly can be a great way to alleviate stress, and boost psychological well-being. Listening to music that you love in a positive manner is a healthy coping mechanism. Keep in mind that many healthy mechanisms can be turned unhealthy if not used correctly. Listening to sad/negative music at times of stress will only make things worse, and add to the ongoing stress.

Exercise. When it comes to exercise, most forms of healthy coping mechanisms do what you love. Whether that be weightlifting, swimming, going on a walk, yoga, etc. Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress and produce endorphins (hormones that make you feel good).

Hanging out with friends. We are naturally social human beings, and being around others who you enjoy spending time with can be extremely beneficial. For one they can be a great support network, and they can also prevent you from feeling lonely or isolated. Hanging out with friends is a proven way to make people happier and reduce stress. 

Reading. This is something that isn’t just great for reducing stress, but also can improve your cognitive abilities. Although it may seem boring and like a waste of time, it can be really relaxing if you find something to read that you’re interested in. Reading is proven to have meditative properties resulting in less stress and an increase in relaxation. 

Find hobbies you love. The best types of healthy coping mechanisms are ones that you love doing. There are tons of hobbies ranging from cooking to gardening to even playing games. Hobbies help you focus on the present moment and are a necessary way to deal with stress. They are a great way to unwind and take a break from your everyday life. It is extremely important that people find hobbies that they enjoy doing. This is crucial in reducing stress and promoting good mental health.

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