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Updated June 18, 2014

Definition: Coping refers to the thoughts and actions we use to deal with stress. In large part, feeling stressed or not depends on whether we believe we have the coping resources to deal with the challenges facing us.

Most coping strategies fall into one of two broad categories:

  • Problem-focused coping strategies are used to tackle the problem directly.
  • Emotion-focused coping strategies are used to handle feelings of distress, rather than the actual problem.

In general, research has shown that problem-focused coping strategies are the most effective way for dealing with stress.
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