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10 Coping Mechanisms Linked to Happiness

Maladaptive coping mechanisms that impact happiness

  • Denial: putting a buffer between ourselves and our stressor by pretending like it doesn’t exist

  • Passive aggression: sabotaging the demands placed on us through passive aggressive means

  • Projection: Putting our “stuff” on other people, or disliking qualities about someone that we secretly dislike about ourselves

  • Reaction formation: a step farther than denial, by believing the opposite of what is true

Adaptive coping mechanisms that impact happiness

  • Sublimation: channeling out stress into something productive or constructive

  • Suppression: acknowledging the feelings, and moving on regardless (not to be confused with “repression,” which is just pushing the feelings down without acknowledging)

  • Anticipation: viewing stress as a challenge and getting a game plan, rather than avoiding

  • Altruism + kindness: helping others boosts our happiness exponentially

  • Humor: soothing suffering through finding the silver lining or the bit of humor, being unflappable

  • Intimate bonds: and least surprising of all, when our coping mechanisms are other people (for the most part, obviously), we lead happier lives

Where do you fall on the adaptive/maladaptive coping mechanism scale right now? Has this changed at all since you began Reframe? Is there anything that jumped out at you as a point of growth?

Desmond, B. (2020, September 1). 10 Psychological Predictors of Happiness Across the Lifespan.
Stossel, Scott (May 2013). "What Makes Us Happy, Revisited: A new look at the famous Harvard study of what makes people thrive". The Atlantic.

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