We all find ways of coping with
stress. Some coping strategies are not as helpful as others. For example, negative coping responses often make your stress worse, because they wear you down over time or are temporary distractions. On the other hand, positive coping responses keep you in the present moment and give you chances to actively work toward solving your problems. Not all positive coping responses will work for every person. Try several until you find one that works for you.
Positive coping responses
Listening to music
Playing with a
Laughing or crying
Going out with a friend
(shopping, movie, dining)
Taking a bath or
Writing, painting, or doing other creative
Praying or going to church
getting outdoors to enjoy nature
Discussing situations with a
spouse or close friend
Gardening or making home
Practicing deep breathing, meditation, or muscle
Making and following through with an action plan(What is a PDF document?) to solve your problems.
Seeking counselling if you continue to struggle with stress.
Negative coping responses
Criticizing yourself (negative
Driving fast in a car
Becoming aggressive or violent (hitting someone,
throwing or kicking something)
Eating too much or too little or
drinking a lot of coffee
Smoking or chewing
Yelling at your spouse,
children, or friends
Taking a recreational drug, or misusing prescription medicine
Avoiding friends and family
All coping responses have limitations. They may:
Not be available on a regular basis or often
enough to do the most good.
Not produce the complete relaxation
that is best for undoing the harmful effects of stress.
lead to new kinds of stress (such as a holiday that becomes hectic or a highly
competitive sports activity).
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerSteven Locke, MD - Psychiatry Christine R. Maldonado, PhD - Behavioral Health