Avoidant coping strategies are mechanisms people tend to use to avoid their stressors - anxiety, depression, sadness - rather than face them. Instead of solving the actual problem, people use avoidant coping to solve the side effects of the problem. Avoidant strategies are almost always maladaptive but can sometimes be used in a beneficial way. An example of a positive avoidant coping strategy may be a student avoiding their homework by cleaning their room. While the actual problem is not being solved, something equally beneficial is taking place while the homework stress is temporarily alleviated. However, most avoidant coping strategies are not beneficial at all. Some avoidant coping strategies include procrastination, substance use, and denial. Pretending there is no problem will never take the problem away, which is why it is so important to refrain from using maladaptive avoidant coping strategies.
Some positive coping strategies include problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping. Problem-focused coping involves working on your stressors by using time management, setting healthy boundaries, and making to-do lists. These are all ways to efficiently solve problems at hand. Emotion-focused coping pertains more to making yourself feel better about the problems you are facing. This type of coping can be done by meditating, exercising, or engaging in positive self-talk.
If you or a loved one in Tallahassee or Apalachicola are trying to develop more beneficial coping mechanisms, consider reaching out to Gulf Wind Counseling at 850-597-7833 to schedule an appointment.
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Terance is a mental health therapist focusing on children and families.