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7 Coping Mechanisms for Dealing with Mental Illness

July 25, 2017 - - 0 Comments

Dealing with Mental IllnessDealing with mental illness can be very isolating for sufferers, which is why most mental health treatment centers introduce coping strategies and skills-training in programs, to arm patients with the necessary tools to deal with daily life going forward. The objective of this kind of treatment is to replace negative reactions and responses to difficult situations with a more positive coping strategy and improve confidence levels in the patient in their ability to deal with everyday life.

Humans adopt coping strategies naturally throughout life’s experiences and it is usually the negative mechanisms that lead to drug, alcohol or gambling addictions that are triggered by having no confidence in the ability to cope.

There are seven different categories of coping skills that can all contribute to a more well-balanced state of mind that sufferers can take with them after attending a mental health inpatient treatment center, as follows:


One of the positive coping skills patients at mental health treatment centers can discover are those that allow them to stop focusing on the situation causing them stress and distract the mind to more positive thoughts. Diversions are not intended to provide solutions to difficult situations but are useful if a person is able to recognize the warning signs that they are starting to feel overwhelmed.

Social and Interpersonal Coping Strategies

Getting involved with collaboration and interaction with others to gain support has been scientifically proven to counteract the effects of stress. Support networks are vital for recognizing the signs and symptoms that suggest someone is unable to cope and can provide considerable assistance during difficult of times.

Cognitive Skills

Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT is often used in the treatment of mental health disorders to more positively influence the way a patient feels and behaves. This treatment allows patients to find their own ways to improve responses to stressful situations to allow them to become more resilient to stress and generally improve their mental responses.

Tension-Releasing Strategies

These are mechanisms that allow for an outlet to stress that is safe for the sufferer and others around them. Punching a pillow to release tension is one of the ways someone can react energetically to a situation without putting anyone in harm’s way. Releasing aggression and stress is essential to prevent someone from internalizing difficult issues and making them appear worse than they are.

Physical Exercise

All forms of physical exercise produce an endorphin buzz which is a euphoric and calming effect that can help to disperse internalized bad feelings and considerably improve general wellbeing and health. A good workout session at the gym, for example, releases unwanted stress and anxiety and replaces bad feelings with a lighter more amiable disposition.

Prayer and Meditation

Mindfulness practices have been shown to be extremely beneficial to people with mental illness no matter what their belief system. For both prayer and meditation, the objective is to quiet the mind while focusing on deep breathing to achieve a state of complete relaxation or oneness with spirituality. These practices can be incorporated easily into daily routines and are effective as part of a wider coping strategy.


This is a defensive coping mechanism that protects against overwhelming stress that’s been created by doing something to excess such as drinking or using substances for example. Limits and boundaries can be set by someone with mental health issues or their therapist and are intended to provide a valuable framework in which the patient is the central focus. Limit-setting allows someone to choose the activities that best fit their skills and avoid those that aren’t. This, in turn, improves general time efficiency and gives a stronger sense of purpose to the patient going forward.

His and Her Houses offers industry leading Mental Health treatment programs. We were founded in 1994 and we base our programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your love one at (888) 376-7268.

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