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The way you act and the things you do when you're stressed—these are called coping strategies.
Negative coping responses
Some coping strategies or responses are not as helpful as others. For example, negative coping responses may feel good in the short-term, but they are temporary distractions. In the long run, they wear you down and often make your stress worse.
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
Yelling at your spouse, children, or friends
Taking a recreational drug, or misusing prescription medicine
Avoiding family and friends
Positive coping responses
On the other hand, positive coping responses keep you in the present moment. They give you chances to actively work toward solving your problems.
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 doing other creative activities
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
Making and following through with an action plan to solve your problems
Seeking counseling if you continue to struggle with stress
Getting enough sleep
Eating healthy foods
Not all positive coping responses will work for every person. Try several positive coping strategies until you find one that works for you.
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Christine R. Maldonado PhD - Behavioral Health
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