Your Road To Perseverance:
A Guide to Harnessing Healthy Coping 
Mechanisms

Ananya Zharotia

Human beings are inherently complex. Along with the complexity comes the understanding that life can never be black and white. Nothing can be that simple. Complicated situations and problems are accompanied with the claim that we are the most evolved species on the planet. Of course, facing problems is something every other person does but does this mean that how we deal with these stressful situations is the ideal way to deal with them? Well, it varies from person to person because of the vast difference and uniquely intricate design that human beings have. Of course, everyone has their own coping mechanisms but there is an ideal way to deal with these situations and to do so we need to break down the basic principle of coping mechanisms. 

 

Defence Mechanisms vs. Coping Mechanisms

The difference between the two is that defence mechanisms are a subconscious way that our mind helps us deal with the problems we face. Whereas coping mechanisms are more of a conscious effort made to cope or deal with the problems we face. Defence mechanisms tend to distort our reality in order to avoid dealing with our problems. Looking at this, we can say that our brain is hardwired to avoid the issue. But problems are simply a part of life and facing them leads to growth of our minds. 

Healthy vs. Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

Now there’s two types of coping mechanisms. The two opposites, good and bad or healthy and unhealthy. Unhealthy coping mechanisms are based on the principle of avoidance. They’re quite similar to defence mechanisms in that way but they’re definitely a conscious effort. Healthy coping mechanisms on the other hand are based on what one could call “all rounder” growth. This means it leads to growth in all aspects of your life. 
 

Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

People often use unhealthy coping mechanisms to get away from their thoughts. In other words, they are trying to avoid being with themselves. They try to avoid the problem at all costs. According to Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc. on positivepsychology.com these mechanisms include Substance abuse, sleeping too much or too little, overeating or starvation, isolation or surrounding yourself with people, overworking, risky behaviour to name a few. They often seem like a tempting alternative. Problem solving is a lot of work that can be stressful or can trigger bouts of anxiety. It may not always seem worth it but it will make you smarter and in the long run help you with your actions and whatever goals that you are trying to achieve.

 

Healthy Coping Mechanisms

On the note of problem solving, healthy coping mechanisms often seem like a lot of work, I’m not going to lie to you, they can be. But at the end of the day they will always be worth it. There are many of these you can turn to for aid.  Exercise will almost always be on the top of the list of healthy coping mechanisms wherever you look. It helps clear your mind and gives you energy to face your day. Along with the effect of morphine it will also give you clarity on whatever issue it is you’re facing.

 Meditation is one of the most highly recommended ways of dealing with your problems because it’s a way of centreing yourself and clearing your mind from the thousands of racing thoughts that we have each day. It slows your brain down and helps you prioritise from everything that may be on your mind. 

 

Talking about it and getting help can do wonders for you. Getting things off your chest with the right people is definitely the way to go. Talking to the right people is also necessary because there are people who will make you feel like a victim and there are people who will tell you to get up and face the music. Always go with the latter. You can also have access to psychologists and counsellors on our website. 

 

Cleaning is also another way of going about clearing your mind and prioritising because your workspace of wherever you live is a representation of your mental state. If your room is cluttered your mind will also be cluttered. With a messy environment it’s hard to think- let alone face a problem. It is up to you and only you to turn to a more healthy lifestyle. You need to make it a habit. Habits may be hard to form but are about consistency. Try your best to be as consistent as possible when it comes down to it. Make time to do what you think you need to do. 


Healthy coping mechanisms may be the way to go but sometimes you may want to feel good and that’s okay, it’s only human to feel that way. It’s okay to slip or slack off sometimes. Being hard on yourself about this won’t do anything except bring you down. So do your best and go easy on yourself because at the end of the day, you’re just a person and there’s a limit to what you can do and that’s okay.

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