Common Coping Responses for Stress
We all find ways of coping with stress. Coping mechanisms may or may not be effective or harmless.
Positive coping responses
- Listening to music
- Playing with a pet
- Laughing or crying
- Going out with a friend (shopping, movie, dining)
- Taking a bath or shower
- Writing, painting, or other creative activity
- Praying or going to church
- Exercising or getting outdoors to enjoy nature
- Discussing situations with a spouse or close friend
- Gardening or making home repairs
- Practicing deep breathing, meditation, or muscle relaxation
Negative coping responses
- Criticizing yourself (negative self-talk)
- Driving fast in a car
- Chewing your fingernails
- Becoming aggressive or violent (hitting someone, throwing or kicking something)
- Eating too much or too little or drinking a lot of coffee
- Smoking or chewing tobacco
- Drinking alcohol
- Yelling at your spouse, children, or friends
- Taking a recreational drug to calm yourself
- Avoiding social contact
All coping responses have limitations. They may:
- Not be available on a regular basis or often enough to do the most good.
- Not produce the complete relaxation that is best for undoing the harmful effects of stress.
- Sometimes lead to new kinds of stress (such as a vacation that becomes hectic or a highly competitive sports activity).
- Stop being effective because of overuse.
|Editor||Kathleen M. Ariss, MS|
|Associate Editor||Pat Truman, MATC|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry|
|Last Updated||April 22, 2009|