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The world right now is a stressful place, even more so because of complications caused by the pandemic. It’s only natural that a lot more people are feeling the pressure and becoming anxious. Research by medical professionals has confirmed that the pandemic has caused high levels of stress and anxiety among the adult population.
The survey showed that 84 per cent of the population experienced at least one strong emotion due to prolonged stress.
People can turn to coping mechanisms when they feel the pressure of their situation. However, not all of these coping mechanisms can be truly helpful. Some can even be downright harmful.
Learn about negative coping methods and how to switch to more positive ways of coping with stress.
What are Negative Coping Methods?
A negative coping method is a way of dealing with stress that can harm your mental and physical well-being. Examples of these coping mechanisms include substance abuse, violence and other self-destructive behaviour such as reckless driving.
Not all negative coping mechanisms are illegal. For example, smoking is legal, yet continued use of it to deal with stress can lead to premature ageing that may take a non surgical face lift to correct. It can also lead to other health complications like cancer.
Even small activities that may not seem so destructive can be very harmful. People often think that they can release their pent-up frustrations and anxiety by indulging in violent activities like boxing. But studies have shown that feeding aggressive behaviour can increase violent tendencies and do nothing to make you feel better. An activity like Yoga will have a more calming effect on the body.
Negative coping methods can feel good for a short time, but they can quickly accrue their own complications. Mental and physical effects can pile up and lead to more stress, essentially negating their supposed positive effects.
How Can You Switch to Positive Coping Mechanisms?
When you find yourself turning more and more to negative coping mechanisms to deal with your stress, it’s time to start exploring how to make the effective switch to more positive outlets.
Below are some tips on how you can effectively vent your stress without harming yourself or other people.
1. See a Professional
Your priority should be to schedule an appointment with a medical professional who can help you deal with your stress in a much better way. A psychiatrist or psychotherapist can help you through stressful moments with each session. They can also point out behaviours that you may not believe to be harmful and help steer you to more positive outlets for your stress.
2. Explore Options
Flexibility is the key to making the switch from negative coping habits to more positive channels. After talking to a mental health professional, begin exploring your options.
Map out the things you want to do and the things that may or may not be healthy for you. You have to ensure your options include things that are interesting to you personally so that you can maintain passion for them while you are using them to cope.
Make sure that you open your mind to the possibilities of changing your coping behaviours. Only by staying open can you find the will to make such a change.
3. Come Up with an Action Plan
With the help of a mental health professional, you should also devise an action plan for how you can make the switch and maintain it. Such an action plan should first address how to slowly wean you off your negative coping mechanisms. This can be simple or drastic, depending on how you were dealing with your stress before.
For example, nail-biting is a simple negative coping habit with few health repercussions and should be easier to deal with. On the other hand, smoking or alcoholism are much harder in comparison to quit. An action plan is essential for dealing with such habits and ensuring you can transition to safer methods of coping.
4. Find Big and Small Mechanisms
Everyone has multiple methods of coping with stress, and they can be simple or complex. You need to determine both large and small ways you can vent your stress safely. Small positive coping mechanisms include listening to your favourite musicians and having a good cry. Larger coping mechanisms include gardening, meditation and pursuing creative talents. Cultivating a variety of coping responses is essential in ensuring they all remain effective, and you don’t fall back on harmful mechanisms.
Stress is unfortunately prevalent at the moment. If you want to make it through the foreseeable future with your well-being intact, you will want to maintain positive coping mechanisms with these tips.