Hook: Rebecca woke up to find herself late for her morning class. She hurriedly rushed out of bed, got dressed, and ran to her class that’s all the way across campus. Half way there, shed realize that she forgot her physics homework on her desk, but it’s too late to get it back now. Rebecca ended up arriving 20 minutes late to class, unprepared and with no assignment to turn it. Her professor, Mr. Colby, does not accept any late work and also does not tolerate tardiness. So, Rebecca received a failing grade on the assignment, despite having stayed up all night working on it, and also caused her participation grade to decrease. If you were in Rebecca’s position, how would you react to this stressful event? Background/ Information: Almost every day, many individuals undergo stress, whether it be losing a loved one, relationship breakups, academic demands, or even as simple as losing their phone, getting into an argument, and so on.
When dealing with stressors, there are two types of ways people handle it: negative and positive.
When dealing with stress, some people tend to handle it negatively. These negative mechanisms are unhealthy, harming, and damaging to a person. Examples of negative mechanisms include avoiding the problem, use of substances – such as alcohol and drugs -, excessive use of electronic devices, drinking too much caffeine, stress eating, and so on.
While there are some that handle stress negatively, there are others that have positive mechanisms. Positive mechanisms include doing physical activity, praying, meditating, hanging out with friends, seeking support, venting to families/friends, and doing hobbies. All of these positive mechanisms can replace the negatives ones in order for individuals to cope stress healthily.
Negative coping mechanisms can provide instant relief, however, it can jeopardize your health. Therefore, in the long run, positive coping habits are much more beneficial for it allows you to relax when stressed without damaging your health. Bad habits are often difficult to get rid of, so in order for people to effectively and healthily cope with stress, one must replace the bad habits to good ones. Smokers can’t instantly quit smoking if they decide to stop the habit. If they don’t make a plan and commit to it, they’ll eventually come back to that habit.
How to turn negative coping mechanisms into positive coping habits
People can teach themselves new ways to positively cope in stressful situations. Instead of relying on substances, for example, they can perform activities of their liking or do anything that gives them peace of mind and relaxation.
- When people want to “stress eat”, replace junk foods with healthy foods, so that they will be eating something nutritious.
- Make sure to get rid of triggers that will remind you of your negative coping habits. If you tend to eat chips whenever you’re stressed, hide or don’t buy and junk foods. If you drink, stay away from places where alcohol is present.
- If your stress is caused by a deeper issue, seek help or support from families instead of relying on substances to make you feel better. Even if drinking or smoking provides instant relief, it will cause health problems in the long run.
Negative and positive coping mechanisms are two ways people handle stress. Coping mechanisms including stress eating, procrastinating, avoiding the problem, and using substances are negative habits that causes harm and damage to a person. Even if it provides instant relief, it’s an unhealthy way to cope with stress and it will cause health problems in the long run. Coping mechanisms that include doing physical activity, seeking help, praying, meditating, and doing hobbies are positive ways of coping with stress. It’s beneficial for the mind and body. Negative coping habits don’t have to be eradicated, rather, they can be simply replaced by positive ones. We encounter stress every day, and how we cope with it, whether positively or negatively, can affect our mind and body.