Are some kinds of coping better than others?

Stress carriers, who react by taking it out on people around them can worsen things by making the people around them more stressed. This adds to more fear and anger, which makes it hard for anything helpful to happen. Although this may reduce the person’s stress in the very short term, it is likely to make them feel worse once they have calmed down.

Still, there are some good and bad to the different coping styles



Feeling-based coping:

(+) Being able to calm yourself down can be very helpful. Some sorts of stress can go on and on, and problem solving may not remove the stress completely. In this case, it may be better to talk to your family and friends, exercise or meditate.

(-) But people who rely too much on this coping style can find it difficult to problem solve. At times, focusing on how you think and feel to the point that you can't stop thinking about your problems can make you feel worse (e.g. worrying until you lose sleep)


Avoidance-based coping:

(-) This coping style is usually unhelpful, especially if it goes on for too long. Instead of finding a way to manage their feelings, they bottle it up, and stress can come out in people’s bodies e.g. muscle tensions or headaches, or their feelings will explode eventually.

(+) But we all need to escape reality from time to time. Deciding that just for this evening you will focus on something nice, instead of your problem, can provide you with a good break and fresh mind to tackle your problem.


Problem-based coping:

(+) This is usually a very good strategy. If you can do something about the source of stress and manage it well, things are likely to improve. Tackling problems in a practical way also helps people feel in control.

(-) The problem arises when you are in a stressful situation which you don’t have much control over. Then, people may not be very good at using other coping styles and may end up being angry at people around them, making things worse.