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Wellness > Mental Health

Do You Have Healthy Coping Mechanisms?

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Utah chapter.

In the face of hardship, life does this really cute thing where it doesn’t stop for you. No matter the gravity of your situation, you still have to wake up the next morning. You still have to go to work, and school, and pay the bills, and wash the car. You need to keep going, even if every cell in your body is aching for you to just… not. It’s an unfortunate reality that even if your world stops, the actual world merely keeps spinning.  

In the face of hardship comes the hardship of dealing with the hardship.

So how do you deal? The way people deal with problems is often times referred to as a ‘coping mechanism.’ There are all sorts that work for different people, but it comes into question whether the mechanism is good or bad.By that I mean, is the coping mechanism healthy? What defines a healthy coping mechanism is a way to alleviate stress that helps you overcome it. An unhealthy coping mechanism is usually a way to avoid the stressor altogether, thus never addressing or or properly dealing with it. 


Here are a few examples of unhealthy coping mechanisms:

Drug use

It’s common knowledge that using drugs or drinking alcohol provides a temporary buzz that can make one happy and carefree. Unfortunately, a lot of people exceed the use of these substances outside of moderation in order to forget about their problems. This could become a serious enough issue to the point of addiction, which is considered so severe that doctors recognize it as a disease.

Retail therapy

Everyone loves a feel-good shopping spree, but some get a little too happy with it. It’s an attempt to fill the emotional hole in one’s heart with tangible items, but this is just a band-aid on a serious injury.

Not eating/overeating

Emotions are integral to eating, so it makes sense that some people either stop eating or overeat when they are stressed. This is a way people feel in control of themselves under situations they feel are out of their hands, but this way of coping is absolutely detrimental to one’s health.

Sleeping all day

I have never met a person who doesn’t like sleeping in, but ignoring the rest of your life to spend days or even weeks in bed is ultimately worse than facing each day. While I understand the benefit of mental health days, spending every day as one will make responsibilities pile up until the load becomes overbearing when (or if) one feels prepared the face the world again.


Now here are instances where healthy coping mechanisms come into play:


I know. It’s not everyone’s go-to coping mechanism. Extra fries over exercise, am I right? In all reality, it’s a fantastic way to naturally boost endorphins (feel-good hormones) in your brain to help you face the day no matter what’s thrown at you. People often credit lengthy workouts such as a long-distance running for the maintenance of their mental health due to the solitude and biological components combined.

Talk to friends or family

My support system is one of my go-to ways of dealing with my problems. Talking out what’s upsetting me to people I trust is a surefire way to process what I’m going through, gain validation about how I feel, and come to a conclusion about how to move forward in my life.

Create art

Whether you are Picasso or have the ability of the third-grader, creating art in some sort of form is cathartic for most people. Singing along to music, making latte art, or water-coloring along with Bob Ross, are all soothing ways to channel your emotions. At the end of your healing, you can look back at all the beautiful things you made!

Eat healthy meals

Eating well is not only good for your body, but for your mind! Enriching your diet with food full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and balanced carbs, fats, and protein will enrich your cognitive engine. The key is to eat intuitively – that is to say that you listen and honor your cravings, eat when you’re hungry, and stop when you’re full.


A tried and true coping mechanism that relieves loads of stress is crying. Getting out a hearty cry sesh, either by watching Brokeback Mountain or simply letting it out, psychologically sheds distress as you shed tears.

Here’s to coping in a more healthy manner in the future!


Image Credit: Treat Yo Self, Hamtaro Crying

Her Campus Utah Chapter Contributor