According to Perfas (2003), coping can be defined as a behavioral effort that keeps changing constantly and has a nature of behavioral cognitive effort with the ability of managing some internal or external requirements that are considered to be challenging by an individual. Coping can further be seen as one’s extending of their conscious effort to enable them to find solutions for either their personal problem or problems related to other people, and by doing this they are attempting to tolerate or minimize the effects of conflicts’ or stress.
According to Falvo, (2011), psychological coping mechanisms are also regarded as strategies necessary for coping or also the skills that are used in coping. An individual uses these strategies, but is done unconscious and they are not considered to be effective coping strategies. Effective coping refers to behaviors one constructs so as to adapt to certain challenges. The strategies work for the reduction of levels of stress. There are some strategies of coping that are considered to be maladaptive, which means that they work in increasing stress levels. Acts that are considered to be maladaptive are considered to be strategies that are non-coping. Also coping may refer to a form of reactive coping, which means that the response to coping is related to the act by the stressor. There is also proactive coping, which is a coping strategy that generates a response with an intention of discouraging any future stressor. A coping response is also in a way determined by an individual’s personality or the personal traits of an individual, or by social context, especially the nature of the stressful environment to the individual
There are a number of coping strategies that can be adopted. The way in which the various strategies can be classified into groups based on their various methods has not yet been identified. There are various different coping strategies; for example there are problem focused and emotion focused coping strategies, the engagement and the disengagement strategies, and also the cognitive and the behavioral strategies. Also they can be categorized into appraisal focused strategies, strategies focused on the problem or strategies based on emotions.
The coping strategies that are focused on appraisal happen when an individual modifies his/her style of thinking; this can be achieved by applying certain methods such as use of denial, or attempting to distance him/herself from the problem at hand. An individual can change his/her way of thinking on a certain topic based on various ways; this is achieved by changing of goals, principles, and values, or by applying humor in certain events. Humor is used as a tool of moderating stress and it is an especially effective tool to women.
Individuals employing problem based focus in their coping strategies, attempt to deal with what is causing challenges in their life. They usually achieve this by seeking the available information on the source of the problem and adopting new skills that are necessary to manage and effectively deal with the problem at hand (Page, 2011). This method of dealing with the problems is meant to completely eliminate the problem that an individual is facing. It is an effective strategy that individuals can employ to deal with their everyday lives.
Using strategies that are focused on emotions, an individual releases his/her emotions by either ensuring that he/she is distracted and thus do not put a lot of thought in the challenge he/she faces, hence being able to manage hostile feelings, or by employing the meditation or procedures that are meant to systematically relax an individual. Strategies that are focused on emotion coping are meant to manage the emotions that accompany a stressful environment.
People will employ all the available strategies in case they are in a challenging environment. The skills that an individual uses in a challenging environment changes with time and are also bound to change with the circumstances. All strategies that are used in coping are important in managing difficult environment, but the most effective methods are those that attempt to focus on the source of the problem. A strategy that is focused on the problem will enable an individual to achieve better control of the existing challenge and other future challenges (Schacter, 2006). A strategy that focuses on the emotions for coping can at times lead to reduced control of a challenge, since it is the maladaptive strategy for coping.
A positive strategy of coping with problems is the ability to anticipate a challenge. This leads to drastic reductions of the challenges. By being ready for a challenge one is able to prepare better for its effects, and thus its damage is less. Being always prepared is a good tool that individuals should employ in coping with their challenges. Also seeking support of the people around, such as people who one can trust, is also an effective way of reducing the effect of the problem. Other people might also have undergone the same challenges and recommend mechanisms of overcoming the challenge. Keeping fit and good nutrition can also help in reducing effects of difficult challenges. Negative methods of coping with challenges include engaging in truant activities, drug abuse, avoiding other people among others (Burger, 2011).
It is important that when one is coping with difficult situations, they should be socially, physically and mentally healthy. It is important that one maintains good health by employing proper diet and regular exercises. Besides, it is essential for mental health of an individual to be always positive, to have proper time management, to plan ahead and to express their emotions. One should maintain their health and learn to relax if they find themselves under stress and should have a functioning relationship with others. A person should be able to communicate with people and engage in social activities. With these methods one will be always able to cope with stress effectively in their life.