Definition of coping mechanism
Words nearby coping mechanism
MORE ABOUT COPING MECHANISM
What are coping mechanisms?
A coping mechanism is a psychological strategy or adaptation that a person relies on to manage stress. Sometimes, coping mechanisms are intentional choices, while other times a person may be unaware that they’re using them.
The term coping mechanism is used in psychology. but it’s more than just a technical term used by psychologists and therapists. It has entered the popular vocabulary to the point that you may hear it in everyday life, such as in self-help books or from people on social media discussing their mental health.
Why are different types of coping mechanisms?
We all deal with stress—difficult relationships, dentist appointments, school deadlines (which might even be why you’re here!). We call the things we do to deal with the stress from these situations, coping mechanisms. The term was first used by psychologists Abraham Maslow and Bela Mittelmann in Principles of Abnormal Psychology (1941). Use of the term started to spike in the 1960s when psychologists began using it more frequently to refer to the methods people use every day.
Sometimes coping mechanisms help people manage the emotional effects of one-off events, but often they are applied to ongoing things, such as stress at work or grief from the loss of a parent. Coping mechanisms are also used to manage mental health problems, like anxiety or depression. Some coping mechanisms are healthy, like meditation, and some are unhealthy, like drinking heavily or smoking. Unhealthy coping mechanisms are sometimes called maladaptive, meaning they’re a bad, faulty, or inadequate way of adapting. Many coping mechanisms are subtle, unconscious mental processes, like denial.
Psychologists sometimes classify coping mechanisms into a few main categories. Here are some of them:
- Defense (relying on subconscious coping methods)
- Adaptive (tolerating the stress)
- Avoidance (ignoring the stress)
- Attack (fighting with someone rather than deal with the real problem)
- Behavioral (making changes to your behavior to minimize the stress)
- Cognitive (changing how you think about a situation)
- Self-harm (hurting yourself in some way)
- Conversion (turning one emotion into another)
As you can see, there is a wide range of different ways to cope—both healthy and unhealthy—and some are even used at the same time. Everyone experiences stress, so understanding what a coping mechanism is and how to spot one is a good thing for both your own mental health and that of others.
Did you know ... ?
You probably use coping mechanisms all the time without realizing it. Binge-watching your favorite show can be a coping mechanism (maybe to help you cope with the end of your other favorite show).
What are real-life examples of coping mechanism?
There are many different kinds of specific coping mechanisms—some healthy and some unhealthy. It helps to be able to identify the things you do to deal with stress.
Bitlife is my unhealthy coping mechanism and it's been put to good use these past couple of weeks
— Katie (@Kiptaay) December 11, 2019
“Why doesn’t self-help work for me?”
If we find it hard to relax & switch off there may be a good reason. Maybe growing up it was necessary to be alert, maybe home was volatile or unpredictable. Maybe being quiet & invisible was the best tactic #copingmechanism #traumarecovery pic.twitter.com/qrrFkA95Lg
— We are Vega (@_wearevega) January 8, 2020
What other words are related to coping mechanism?
What are unhealthy coping mechanisms usually called?
How to use coping mechanism in a sentence
They talked for almost 30 minutes before Lam pointed the caller to websites where she could find information on healthy coping mechanisms, like deep breathing and journaling, and organizations that could help her find a therapist.
Sometimes I wonder if I have the coping mechanisms for this ongoing crisis, one that has grown bigger and affected more parts of our lives than any in recent memory.Coronavirus is testing those of us with anxiety. We need to have mental health help available when the pandemic ends.|Sarah Vander Schaaff|January 30, 2021|Washington Post
So, it doesn’t seem to me to be an outlandish vision that at some point we’ll think it’s crazy to have an educational structure that doesn’t include well-being, tools of resilience, social-emotional learning, healthy coping mechanisms.“We Get All Our Great Stuff from Europe — Including Witch Hunting.” (Ep. 446)|Steven D. Levitt|January 7, 2021|Freakonomics
I think one of my coping mechanisms is to remain busy and productive and to give as much as I can.Q&A with Rufus Wainwright: Playing gigs during the pandemic and why he took a road trip with his therapist|Geoff Edgers|December 26, 2020|Washington Post
I don’t know if this is just a pandemic coping mechanism, actually, I think there is good research that suggests that’s pretty universal.
Farrell issued a ticket to an 18-year-old shipyard worker for speeding and an improper exhaust mechanism, according to the TP.
Franck has not, as they say, spelled out a mechanism by which this could happen.The Right Wing Screams for the Wambulance Over Gay Marriage Ruling|Walter Olson|October 13, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Coping with drought and marginal soils was a continual struggle.‘The Harness Maker’s Dream:’ The Unlikely Ranch King of Texas|Nick Kotz|September 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The “tapping” mechanism is similar, like tapping someone on the shoulder via the Internet.Bigger, Bolder, and Better Than Ever: Steve Jobs Would Be Proud of Today's Apple|Kyle Chayka|September 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST
I mean, I recognize the mechanism; I know what it is as opposed to everything else.
The wheezy, crazy mechanism of the car went to bits in unexpected places.The Joyous Adventures of Aristide Pujol|William J. Locke
In the same way the technical form and mechanism of production were presumed to respond to an automatic stimulus.
The attempt at social change threatens a social revolution in which the whole elaborate mechanism would burst into fragments.
The marvelous improvements in mechanism and tone production and control in 1886 to 1913 by Robt.The Recent Revolution in Organ Building|George Laing Miller
The reader may judge of the perfection of mechanism in this plain-looking engine from the fact that a pole, with 150 lbs.Life of Richard Trevithick, Volume II (of 2)|Francis Trevithick