Coping Strategies Can Help Individuals Build

Coping Strategies Can Help Individuals Build.

Whether you’ve been dumped by your date or you’ve had a rough day at the office, having healthy coping skills can be key to getting through tough times. Coping skills aid you tolerate, minimize, and deal with stressful situations in life. Managing your stress well can help you lot experience improve physically and psychologically and information technology can bear on your ability to perform your best.

But not all coping skills are created equal. Sometimes, information technology’southward tempting to engage in strategies that will requite quick relief but might create bigger problems for you downwardly the road. It’due south important to establish healthy coping skills that volition assist y’all reduce your emotional distress or rid yourself of the stressful situations you face.

Verywell / Emily Roberts

Problem-Based vs. Emotion-Based

There are two main types of coping skills: problem-based coping and emotion-based coping. Understanding how they differ tin can assist you lot determine the best coping strategy for you lot.

  • Problem-based coping
    is helpful when you need to change your situation, peradventure by removing a stressful thing from your life. For case, if yous’re in an unhealthy human relationship, your feet and sadness might be all-time resolved by ending the relationship (every bit opposed to soothing your emotions).
  • Emotion-based coping
    is helpful when you need to take care of your feelings when you either don’t want to change your state of affairs or when circumstances are out of your control. For case, if yous are grieving the loss of a loved one, it’d be of import to take care of your feelings in a healthy way (since you lot tin can’t alter the circumstance).

There isn’t always ane all-time way to proceed. Instead, it’south up to you to decide which type of coping skill is probable to work all-time for you in your particular circumstance. The post-obit are examples of stressful situations and how each approach could be used.

Reading Your Functioning Review

You open your email to observe your almanac functioning review. The review states that yous are beneath boilerplate in several areas and you’re surprised by this because you idea you were performing well. You experience anxious and frustrated.

  • Problem-focused coping: You go to the dominate and talk about what you can do to improve your performance. You develop a clear plan that will help you do meliorate and you start to experience more confident nearly your power to succeed.
  • Emotion-focused
    You spend your lunch interruption reading a book to distract yourself from catastrophic predictions that you’re going to be fired. After work, you do and clean the firm as a fashion to aid you feel better so you can think nearly the situation more clearly.

Getting a Teenager to Clean

Y’all have told your teenager he needs to clean his bedroom. But information technology’south been a week and apparel and trash seem to be piling up. Before heading out the door in the morning, you told him he has to clean his room after schoolhouse “or else.” You get in home from piece of work to observe him playing videos in his messy room.

  • Problem-focused coping: You sit your teenager downwards and tell him that he’southward going to be grounded until his room is make clean. Y’all take abroad his electronics and put him on restriction. In the meantime, yous close the door to his room so you lot don’t take to expect at the mess.
  • Emotion-focused coping: Yous decide to run some bathwater because a hot bath ever helps you feel better. You know a bath will help y’all calm down so you don’t yell at him or overreact.

Giving a Presentation

You’ve been invited to give a presentation in front of a large group. You were so flattered and surprised by the invitation that you lot agreed to do it. But every bit the outcome approaches, your anxiety skyrockets because you lot hate public speaking.

  • Problem-focused coping: You decide to rent a public speaking double-decker to help you learn how to write a good speech and how to deliver it confidently. You lot practice giving your speech in front end of a few friends and family members so y’all will feel improve prepared to footstep on stage.
  • Emotion-focused coping: You tell yourself that you can exercise this. You practice relaxation exercises whenever you start to panic. And you remind yourself that even if you’re nervous, no ane else is even probable to notice.

Healthy Emotion-Focused Coping Skills

Whether you lot’re feeling lonely, nervous, sad, or aroused, emotion-focused coping skills can help y’all bargain with your feelings in a healthy way. Healthy coping strategies may soothe you, temporarily distract you, or assist you tolerate your distress.

Sometimes information technology’s helpful to face your emotions head-on. For instance, feeling deplorable afterwards the death of a loved one tin can assist yous honor your loss.

So while it would be important to utilize coping skills to assistance relieve some of your distress, coping strategies shouldn’t be about constantly distracting y’all from reality.

Other times, coping skills may help you alter your mood. If you’ve had a bad day at piece of work, playing with your kids or watching a funny flick might cheer you upward. Or, if you’re angry about something someone said, a good for you coping strategy might assistance y’all calm down before you say something y’all might regret. Hither are some examples of healthy emotion-focused coping skills:

  • Care for yourself: Put on lotion that smells skilful, spend time in nature, take a bath, drink tea, or take care of your torso in a way that makes yous feel proficient such equally painting your nails, doing your hair, putting on a face mask.
  • Appoint in a hobby: Do something y’all enjoy such as coloring, drawing, or listening to music.
  • Exercise: Practise yoga, go for a walk, have a hike, or engage in a recreational sport.
  • Focus on a task: Make clean the firm (or a closet, drawer, or surface area), melt a meal, garden, or read a book.
  • Practice mindfulness: List the things y’all feel grateful for, meditate, picture your “happy place,” or wait at pictures to remind y’all of the people, places, and things that bring joy.
  • Apply relaxation strategies: Play with a pet, practice animate exercises, clasp a stress ball, use a relaxation app, enjoy some aromatherapy, attempt progressive musculus relaxation, or write in a periodical.

Become Advice From The Verywell Mind Podcast

Hosted by Editor-in-Principal and therapist Amy Morin, LCSW, this episode of The Verywell Listen Podcast shares how to face up uncomfortable emotions, featuring comedian Paul Gilmartin.

Follow At present: Apple tree Podcasts / Spotify / Google Podcasts

Healthy Problem-Focused Coping Skills

There are many ways yous might determine to tackle a problem head-on and eliminate the source of your stress. In some cases, that may mean changing your beliefs or creating a plan that helps y’all know what activity you’re going to have.

In other situations, problem-focused coping may involve more drastic measures, like changing jobs or ending a relationship. Hither are some examples of good for you problem-focused coping skills:

  • Ask for support from a friend or a professional person.
  • Create a to-do list.
  • Engage in trouble-solving.
  • Institute healthy boundaries.
  • Walk away and exit a situation that is causing yous stress.
  • Work on managing your time improve.


Whether emotion-focused or problem-focused, salubrious coping skills should assist calm stress without avoiding the issue. The right coping skill often depends on the situation and your specific needs in the moment.

Unhealthy Coping Skills to Avert

Merely considering a strategy helps yous endure emotional hurting, information technology doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Some coping skills could create bigger problems in your life. Hither are some examples of unhealthy coping skills:

  • Drinking alcohol or using drugs: Substances may temporarily numb your pain, but they won’t resolve your issues. Substances are likely to introduce new problems into your life. Alcohol, for case, is a depressant that tin make you lot feel worse. Using substances to cope besides puts you at take chances for developing a substance utilise disorder and it may create health, legal, fiscal problems, and social issues.
  • Overeating: Food is a common coping strategy. But, trying to “stuff your feelings” with food tin can lead to an unhealthy human relationship with food and health issues. Sometimes people go to the other farthermost and restrict their eating (because it makes them feel more in control) and conspicuously, that tin be merely as unhealthy.
  • Sleeping too much: Whether you take a nap when yous’re stressed out or y’all sleep late to avoid facing the mean solar day, sleeping offers a temporary escape from your bug. However, when you wake up, the problem will nonetheless be there.
  • Venting to others: Talking about your problems so that you can gain back up, develop a solution, or meet a problem in a different way can be good for you. But studies show repeatedly venting to people nigh how bad your situation is or how terrible you lot feel is more than probable to keep y’all stuck in a place of pain.
  • Overspending: While many people say they enjoy retail therapy as a way to feel better, shopping can become unhealthy. Owning besides many possessions can add stress to your life. Also, spending more than you lot can beget will merely backfire in the terminate and crusade more stress.
  • Fugitive: Even “healthy” coping strategies can become unhealthy if you’re using them to avert the problem. For case, if you are stressed well-nigh your financial situation, you might be tempted to spend time with friends or watch TV considering that’s less feet-provoking than creating a budget. Only if you never resolve your fiscal issues, your coping strategies are only masking the problem.

Proactive Coping

Coping skills are usually discussed as a reactive strategy: When you feel bad, you practise something to cope. Simply, research shows that proactive coping strategies can be an effective way to manage the future obstacles you’re likely to face up.

For example, if y’all have worked hard to lose weight, proactive coping strategies could assist you maintain your weight after your weight loss program has ended. Yous might plan ahead for circumstances that might derail you lot—like the holiday season or dinner invitations from friends—to assist you cope. You likewise might plan alee for how you’re going to cope with emotions that previously acquired you to snack like boredom or loneliness.

Proactive coping can as well exist used to help people deal with unexpected life changes, such equally a major alter in wellness. A 2014 written report found that people who engaged with proactive coping were ameliorate able to deal with the changes they encountered later having a stroke.

Another study found that people who engaged in proactive coping were better equipped to manage their type ii diabetes.
Participants who planned alee and set realistic goals enjoyed better psychological well-beingness.

So, if you are facing a stressful life event or you’ve undergone a major change, try planning ahead. Consider the skills you tin can apply to cope with the challenges you’re likely to face. When you have a toolbox set to go, you’ll know what to do. And that could aid you to feel amend equipped to face the challenges ahead.


Proactive coping has been constitute to be an effective mode to assistance people bargain with both predictable changes like a decline in income during retirement, as well as unpredictable life changes such every bit the onset of a chronic health condition.

Find What Works for You lot

The coping strategies that work for someone else might non work for y’all. Going for a walk might help your partner calm down. But you lot might find going for a walk when you’re angry causes you to retrieve more than near why you’re mad—and it fuels your aroused feelings. So you might decide watching a funny video for a few minutes helps yous relax.

You might find that certain coping strategies work all-time for specific issues or emotions. For case, engaging in a hobby may be an effective way to unwind subsequently a long day at work. But, going for a walk in nature might exist the best approach when you lot’re feeling distressing.

When information technology comes to coping skills, there’south always room for comeback. And so, appraise what other tools and resources you tin can apply and consider how y’all might continue to sharpen your skills in the future.


It’s important to develop your ain toolkit of coping skills that yous’ll notice useful. You may need to experiment with a multifariousness of coping strategies to help you discover which ones work best for you.

A Word From Verywell

Healthy coping skills can help protect y’all from distress and face up problems before they become more serious. Past understanding the two main types of coping skills, you tin meliorate select strategies that are suited to different types of stress.

If you lot are struggling to practice healthy coping skills or find yourself relying on unhealthy ones instead, talking to a mental wellness professional tin exist helpful. A therapist tin work with yous to develop new skills that will serve your mental well-being for years to come.

Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our manufactures. Read our editorial process to learn more near how we fact-bank check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Byrd-Craven J, Geary DC, Rose AJ, Ponzi D. Co-ruminating increases stress hormone levels in women.
    Horm Behav. 2008;53(3):489-92. doi:10.1016/j.yhbeh.2007.12.002

  2. Drummond S, Brough P. Proactive coping and preventive coping: Evidence for two distinct constructs?.
    Personality and Individual Differences. 2016;92:123-127. doi:10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.029.

  3. Tielemans NS, Visser-Meily JM, Schepers VP, Mail service MW, van Heugten CM. Proactive coping poststroke: Psychometric properties of the Utrecht Proactive Coping Competence Scale.
    Arch Phys Med Rehabil.
    2014;95(four):670-v. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2013.11.010

By Amy Morin, LCSW

Amy Morin, LCSW, is the Editor-in-Chief of Verywell Listen. She’s also a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist, and international bestselling author. Her books, including “13 Things Mentally Stiff People Don’t Exercise,” have been translated into more xl languages. Her TEDx talk,  “The Surreptitious of Becoming Mentally Potent,” is one of the most viewed talks of all time.

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Coping Strategies Can Help Individuals Build


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