“Anxiety can transform from something we try to avoid and eliminate to something that is both educational and beneficial.”
The idea is to use the information that anxiety is giving you to live in beneficial ways for your health. It explains how to assess your stress coping mechanisms and make positive changes. We all develop coping techniques to handle and get back on track in the face of challenges and the worry they typically cause. These automatic actions or mental processes are generally created when we are younger and less thoughtful, and many of them operate without our conscious knowledge.
These coping methods were designed to help us self-soothe or avoid unpleasant emotions. However, when these coping mechanisms stop working to regulate stress, they exacerbate our anxiety and undermine our sense of control over our life.
Your anxiety is probably under control if you cope in ways beneficial to you. However, if you’re dealing in ways that jeopardize your health, employment, safety, or relationships, it’s time to think about your options. Furthermore, our coping mechanisms frequently mirror our anxiety-related relationship. If you cope in ways that are beneficial to you, your anxiety is likely under control. If you’re dealing with stress that’s affecting your health, employment, safety, or relationships, it’s time to think about what you’re doing.
Coping strategies are classified as adaptive (helpful in coping with stress) or maladaptive (helpful in dealing with stress) (bad for us because they cause other damage, through avoiding a problem that then gets bigger or giving us another problem, as with alcohol dependence or abuse). When the sentiments that underpin these behaviors go untreated, anxiety components increase and become trapped. Therefore, our poor coping habits serve to reinforce our failure to control or regulate our emotions.
Take, for example, Liza, a hard-working career woman. She is a top-ranked business school graduate who entered the financial services industry and is well-liked and regarded by her peers. But, suddenly, she’s 41 years old and has no life outside of work. She’s a workaholic, and all of her hard work and desire to succeed have benefited her bank account and sense of self-worth up until now.
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However, she has been returning home to her apartment feeling completely exhausted. To unwind and fall asleep, she consumes three to four glasses of wine. Her alarm goes off at 5 a.m. so she can go for a run and get to work by 7 a.m. This has been her cycle for years, but it no longer works for her. Liza now feels exhausted when she wakes up. She’s lonely and full of self-doubt, and she’s wondering what’s driving her so hard.
It can help to look at what happens in the body when bad anxiety takes over to understand better how this occurs. Briefly:
- When your brain-body is under persistent anxiety stress, your ability to manage emotions is downregulated, making you less effective at responding to internal and external stimuli. You become hypersensitive to any stress and may experience self-doubt and a loss of confidence.
- Next, suppose your body is drained, and you don’t receive enough rest and recovery time. In that case, it won’t be able to boost your motivation, which is the primary emotion of a positive mentality. The inability to reset erodes the ability to maintain emotional regulation even further.
- Then, if you isolate yourself in response, you are removing the chance for encouragement and support from your social contacts, thus removing a critical bad-anxiety buffer.
- Furthermore, if you seek respite from drugs or alcohol, you risk unintentionally exacerbating your anxiety after the “high” has worn off. The nervous system is depressed by drugs and alcohol. They also cause dopamine and serotonin functioning in the brain and body to be disrupted, giving you a false impression of relief from anxiety.
These answers indicate a reduction in the functionality of numerous brain-body neural connections. However, there is a silver lining to all of these negative coping techniques and their drawbacks: it is perfectly feasible to change your present wrong ways of coping with anxiety and their underlying repercussions on your brain-body. Energy, curiosity, and the recognition that you have a choice are all necessary for restoring emotion management. However, we may learn to recognize indicators of physical depletion and emotional dysregulation and take steps to improve our situation. This is how good anxiety works in practice.
What do you usually do to calm yourself down when anxious or upset? Read through the common negative coping tactics listed below without overthinking them. Which of these do you recognize?
Ways to Cope in a Negative Way:-
- Using or abusing alcohol or other drugs.
- Behaving violently against others.
- Intentionally acting out or misbehaving.
- Avoiding conflict.
- Rationalizing or blaming others for your difficulties.
- Denying that there is a problem.
- Act as though you’re not who you say you are by repressing or forgetting what happened.
- Behave as though you’re someone you’re not.
- Remove yourself from a situation.
- The display controls conduct.
- Turn into a workaholic.
- Isolate yourself and stay away from people and activities.
- Feel compelled to dominate or manipulate others.
- Refuse to communicate.
- Regular fantasies.
- Rather than helping yourself, help others.
Then go over the list of positive coping skills and effective ways to deal with worry.
Beneficial Coping Strategies:-
- Anger Management.
- Practice self-reflection.
- Seek help from friends and family.
- Discuss or communicate your feelings.
- Engage in hobbies and sports.
- Spend time outside.
- Think about an issue from a different perspective.
- Maintain flexibility and openness to new ideas by keeping a diary or engaging in conscious self-reflection, spending quality time with family, partner, and friends, and using positive self-talk and affirmations.
- Playing or being with a pet or children.
- Cleaning or organizing your workspace or home.
- Seeking help from a health expert if you need it.
Ask yourself, without condemning yourself, what, if any, of your go-to techniques of dealing with stress are helping you? Are any of them obstructing your progress or causing unpleasant side effects? Also, which of these coping strategies do you think you could use more?
Harmful coping methods can indicate that you’re locked in a poor anxiety cycle. Using good coping strategies demonstrates stress tolerance and emotional flexibility. Our ability to process anxiety and our relationship with it is likely to change over time. It would be best if you addressed Maladaptive coping strategies.
The longer you ignore how your coping techniques are no longer helping you or providing you with the mental break you require, the worse your anxiety will become, and the more entrenched your negative coping strategies will become. However, once you recognize your circumstance for what it is — an overdue update to your coping skills — you’ll be able to start changing components of your situation and orienting yourself toward a more fulfilling life.