Recognize Your Patterns of Coping

You can’t avoid stressful situations forever. It comes every day and happens all the time.

Each person has varying degrees of how much stress they can manage and how they plan to react to it. They also have varying cognitive and behavioral efforts to manage different internal and external demands that the brain tags as “taxing.” Psychologists Susan Folkman and Richard Lazarus attribute these efforts as coping mechanisms.

Types of Coping

There are two types of coping depending on the reaction to the stimuli. Some people avoid or foresee the events of an incoming stressor while others react on the time of the incident. They look after the aftershocks or the outcome of the situation to decide which action to take.

People who look ahead to the situation use proactive coping. Often, they avoid the person, thing or circumstance altogether to prevent the adverse effects or unwanted experience. It’s a safe play as they can minimize the damages and avoid meltdowns. Persons who already identified the triggers or sources of their stress use proactive coping. A fortune teller Philippines may provide valuable insights that can help you navigate through life.

Meanwhile, reactive coping is a common effort to spur the intensity of the stressor. Most people react to the situation rather than think objectively to become a spectator in the unwarranted spectacle. They anchor their responses to the encounter at hand. The reactions are highly unpredictable as these depend on the person’s conscious mind.

Though coping mechanisms aim to help the person overcome the stressful situation, it’s important to note that not all of them are positive coping. Some habits picked up by the person may be maladaptive. Maladaptive coping is similar to non-coping as the activities do not ward off the stressor. Therefore, the person hasn’t coped to stress at all.

General Classification of Coping Mechanisms

You identify your ways of coping depending on their manifestations and purposes. Knowing the category where the action falls will help you make smart decisions in the face adversity. These eight classifications chunk down your behavior.


Your coping ways happen unconsciously. The reactive coping forces you to form specific reactions each time the situation occurs. Regression is an example of resistance. Going back to old or childlike patterns of behavior is an indication of regressive action.


When you adapt to the stressor, you start to gain an understanding of the phenomenon. You develop a new perspective and high endurance to the event. People who conform to stressful situations are altruistic and often cling to certain beliefs. They look for the deeper meaning of life or a sense of purpose.


Avoiding stressors can be a form of proactive coping. Keeping yourself away from the triggers is an excellent way to maintain a sense of balance and calmness. It is effective in stabilizing your mental health. However, it can also be maladaptive as coping should help you tackle the problem head first rather than avoid it. Denial, dissociation, engaging in fantasy and passive aggression are some manifestations of avoidant behaviors.


Aggressive types tend to divert their responses to another person or group of individuals outside of the stressful situation. It is different from avoidant coping as attack manages to pin the efforts to something or someone else. Retaining the action and doing it to someone else, emotionally and projection are examples of attacks.


Modified and mature type of coping comes with maturity. Behavioral coping is the most useful and constructive as it entices a person to look for ways to release uncomfortable and destructive thoughts to a valuable piece of work. When a person compensates for the lack of abilities and skills by driving towards excellence, he or she unconsciously work to become a positive force. The same way happens when he or she chooses the opposite in a situation. Instead of lashing out at someone, they prefer to remain calm and act nicely.


At times, the mind reacts to the situation involuntarily to remove or reduce stress. Shutting down the problems at home whenever you are at work or compartmentalizing your roles is an example of a psychological defense mechanism. Repressing emotions by relying on facts and logic or intellectualization is another method of coping. Repression, suppression and rationalizing are also cognitive coping that you may consciously or subconsciously do.


Resulting in self-harm is another maladaptive coping as it only adds stress to the body. It does not allow the person to explore the options that can help face the situation. Introjection or internalizing the beliefs of other people is an example of self-harm.


A person changes thought, behavior and emotions due to stressors. Unexplained physical symptoms are by-products of high levels of stress. The mind reacts to the stimuli through the body processes as it releases different hormones to cope with the situation.

All of these will help you recognize your ways of coping. Each person’s method may vary so try to be patient with yours. There is nothing with finding the non-coping actions you take. It’s more important to recognize the mistake and make a conscious decision of changing it.



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