Practice Adaptive Coping Skills and strike Maladaptive Ones Now| Special Content For Kids

Last Update on March 9, 2022 : Published on July 22, 2020
Maladaptive & Adaptive Coping Skill

Life is like a circus! We have on or the other show going up. On some days we are enjoying the happy shows on other days we have overwhelming shows going on. Meanwhile, we are constantly striving and thriving to maintain a balance between our happy and not so happy days with the help of coping strategies that are available at hand. But, not every go-to coping tool is healthy.

Just like every coin has two faces, coping skills are no exception to it. Certain coping strategies are adaptive in nature while others are maladaptive. Now, the problem is that we often assume that we are coping effectively with any overwhelming situations but then we might be on the maladaptive route without even realizing it. More importantly, the longest-running happiness study has found that using adaptive coping skills leads to a happier and healthier life. So, now it is time to learn adaptive coping skills and implement them in our lives.

Time to enlighten ourselves…

Maladaptive Coping Skills to Avoid:

The 7 most common coping skills that are maladaptive in nature are and are probably practiced by us are:

1. Venting

Of course, bottling up of emotions is not recommended but at the same time, venting overly is not healthy as well. Sharing what is bothering you is definitely healthy, but not taking proper actions towards the situation and just keeping on venting is not recommended. Remember you can only step out a problem by taking actions not just talking about it.

2. Self-Blame

Often we tend to believe that if I will take the entire responsibility of whatsoever wrong that has happened the situations will get better. But, this doesn’t hold true. Blaming yourself makes situations even worse as it diminishes your inner strengths and takes a turn towards negative thinking.

3. Denial

Saying phrases to yourself such as “This isn’t real” or “This never happened” may provide short-term relief to an individual but is likely to create a pool of issues for later times. By denying a situation we might tell ourselves that things never happened but sooner or later when reality comes following it makes the situation overwhelming.

4. Self-Distraction

Not addressing the overwhelming situation, putting it under the carpet, and not talking about it is also a maladaptive coping strategy. It is often done by self-distracting oneself in light of other activities that don’t revolve around the stressful situation.

5. Behavioral Disengagement

This maladaptive coping strategy may also be referred to as having a giving up attitude. Here an individual might just completely give up on the situation and accept that there is no scope of betterment. Therefore, they stop moving in the direction of solutions.

6. Substance Use

Do you often light up a cigarette or make a peg when stress or anxiety kicks in? Well, if yes, then I am sorry to say but you are not on the right track to living a happier and healthier life. Using any form of substance to get through difficult times falls under the maladaptive coping strategy category.

7. Escape

The sweet escape is one of the most common maladaptive coping strategies that it is often viewed in a positive light. It comprises various other coping tools like avoidance, isolation, and withdrawal. Not meeting people and avoiding them is the most obvious and widely used form of escaping.

These maladaptive coping tool kits should better be kept locked!

maladaptive coping tool kits

Adaptive Coping Skills You Need

If not the coping strategies mentioned above, then what how to cope? Here is a list of adaptive coping skills that you should be using instead:

1. Active Coping

This adaptive coping skill is also known as problem-based coping. Here you take active action to deal with the stressful situation, you constantly work on the problem and find its solution. It helps in managing your behaviors, thoughts, and emotions in a way that you wave off the stress-provoking situation effectively.

2. Positive Reframing

Viewing the stressful situation in a positive light might be a little overwhelming but with positive reframing it is possible. Herein, you just change your lens to view the situation so that you can see more positivity. It is like finding the good in the situation and assuring yourself that things will be fine soon. Creating and repeating a positive affirmation can be helpful here.

3. Acceptance

The opposite of the maladaptive coping skill denial is acceptance. Here you actively accept what the situations are and instead of running away, you work on it. It is important as it minimizes the damage that ignorance could cause.

4. Humor

Surprised to see the humor in the list? Well, humor is a great adaptive coping skill that we all should practice. Making the stressful situation light by joking about it is indeed a great way to make sure it doesn’t take a toll on your wellbeing. Just make sure that the humor is not intending towards the other person causing them distress.

5. Emotional Support

Escaping and withdrawing might just make things even worse by amplifying your stress. Therefore, seeking emotional support is advised. It will help you sail through the tough times. So, don’t shy out, go and seek help as and when required.

6. Instrumental Support

Sometimes the source of stress may need more than emotional support, it might require instrumental support as well. Instrumental support may be received in the form of advice, monetary terms, and by simply being there.

7. Spirituality

Finding your peace in substance use is maladaptive but if you want a healthy distraction for your mind, body, and soul then taking spiritual roots is suggested. And by spiritual we mean engaging in religious activities like meditation, yoga, and even connecting with nature. Not only is this super effective but also has a calming soul-soothing impact.

Now, this is the coping tool that you should keep handy and use in difficult times.

PS: This list is backed with science and research!


A-Z of Coping Skills (Best For Kids)

While we teach our kids all the basics of life then why to miss on teaching them effective coping skills that will help them throughout their lives. Kids go through loads of changes as they grow and to make this developmental process easy for them they should be well aware and educated for the same. This A-Z coping skills toolset works best for kids. Just take a print out or make a handmade one with them and help them sail through life in a positive direction

A: Ask For Help

B: Breathe Deeply and Slowly

C: Count forwards or backward slowly

D: Drink Cold Water

E: Exercise

F: Find a safe and calm place

G: Go to your happy place

H: Hug Someone (friend, Family, Toy or Pet)

I: Ignore the annoyers

J: Jokes To Help You Laugh

K: Kind hands, keep them to yourself

L: Listen to Calming Music

M: Meditate or Practice Yoga

N: Name Your Emotion

O: Observe and Use Mindfulness

P: Paint your Feelings

Q: Question Your Thoughts

R: Run as fast as you can

S: Separate yourself from the situation

T: Talk it Out

U: Use your imagination and Visualize

V: Voice Your Concerns

W: Write your feelings down

X: Exhale Your Feelings

Y: Yoga

Z: Zone Out and Relax

A-Z of Coping Skills

Well, the A-Z coping skills work best for kids but it can be used by anyone. So, don’t shy away to use them or keep this A-Z coping tools list handy.

Now it is time for you to introspect, find your maladaptive coping styles, and switch them with adaptive coping skills.

Wishing you happiness and power…

You May Like These Also:

Johari Window: Your Ultimate Tool For Building Self-Awareness

Positive vs Negative Punishment: Which Is More Effective?

RAIN- Mindfulness Tool to Deal With Your Overwhelming Emotions

About The Author

Anjali Singh
Anjali Singh

Anjali Singh is a content curator in the field of Mental Health. She is currently done Ph.D. in Psychology. Her aim is to light up the world with positive vibes through her words, her idea of life is ‘Grow through what you go through’. Apart from this, she is a big-time pet lover.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

As Seen On