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Stress and Coping

Stress and Coping

When things are causing us to feel stressed and overwhelmed, we often try or do something in order to feel better, these are our coping strategies. Coping strategies can be used with anger, stress, sadness, worry, grief, problems, and more. The coping strategies we use can be healthy for us and sometimes unhealthy for us. But how do you know if it’s healthy or unhealthy?

Unhealthy coping strategies tend to make people feel better in the moment; however, they can lead to long term negative consequences. Some common unhealthy coping strategies are:

  • Avoidance
  • Drugs or alcohol
  • Procrastination
  • Over Eating
  • Aggression
  • Social withdrawal

Healthy coping strategies often do not provide people with instant relief, but they do lead to long term positive outcomes. Common healthy coping strategies are:

  • Exercise
  • Talking About Your Problems
  • Eating Healthy
  • Setting Boundaries
  • Practicing Assertiveness
  • Relaxation Techniques
  • Using Social Support
  • Problem Solving


So when you decide that your unhealthy coping strategies are no longer working, make the switch to healthy ones. Ask yourself, what healthy coping strategies might I be willing to try? What barriers might prevent me from using the healthy coping strategies? Sometimes we need to feel uncomfortable in the short term in order to have long term success. 

Keli Hinkemeyer earned her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Cloud State University, MN after completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Dependency and Community Psychology from St. Cloud State University, MN. She has a history of working with individuals who have spent time in the criminal justice system and are on parole. She has worked with individuals who have had an alcohol, substance, and behavioral addiction. 

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