What is Coping Mechanisms?

Coping Mechanisms.

What is Coping Mechanisms?

  • Defence 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. Defence 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.

Among the more commonly used 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 often greatly reduce the negative effects of a difficult situation.

  • Relaxation. Any number of relaxing activities can help people cope with stressful situations. Relaxing activities may include practicing meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, or 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, for many people, as a natural and healthy form of stress relief.

    • Running.

    • Yoga.

    • Swimming.

    • Walking.

    • Dancing.

    • Team sports.

    • Many other types of physical activity can help people cope with stressful situations and the after effects of traumatic events.

Should you need a meditation session please do get in touch with Della Luce. They reside in France and can communicate in both English and French and through Skype or Messenger as well as face to face.

Thank you for reading, please leave a comment, I would be glad to hear from you.


Coping strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.humanstress.ca/stress/trick-your-stress/steps-to-instant-stress-management.html accessed 09/07/2018

Cramer, P. (2015). Understanding defense mechanisms. Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 43(4), 523-552.

Dombeck, M. (2006, July 3). Coping strategies and defense mechanisms: Basic and intermediate defenses. Psychological self-help tools: Online self-help book. Retrieved from https://www.mentalhelp.net/articles/coping-strategies-and-defense-mechanisms-basic-and-intermediate-defenses

Galor, S. (2012, February 26). Defense mechanisms vs. coping. Retrieved from https://drsharongalor.wordpress.com/2012/02/26/defense-mechanisms-vs-coping.

How do you cope? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.semel.ucla.edu/dual-diagnosis-program/News_and_Resources/How_Do_You_Cope

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