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5 ways you cope with stress and anxiety


Self-defense mechanisms are psychological strategies used by individuals to cope with uncomfortable emotions, situations, stress, anxiety, unfamiliar situations, and experiences.

Examples of self-defense mechanisms

1.    Denial – Denial as a self-defense mechanism is the refusal to acknowledge the real situation and feelings caused by discomfort or pain.

For example; After the death of a loved one, an individual might choose not to accept the reality that the person is gone and hold on to the made-up fact that they will be back.


2.    Repression – This is a defense mechanism where one blocks negative or pain-causing memories and thoughts. Repressing makes the individual believe that the negative situation or experience was made up and did not happen to them. Repressing negative experiences does not deal with the pain and might wreak havoc when the experience is re-lived. 


3.    Projection - Projection is a self-defense mechanism in which an individual attributes their unacceptable thoughts, feelings, or behaviors to someone else. This is done unconsciously as a way to avoid dealing with or accepting these thoughts or feelings within themselves.

For example, a person feeling jealous of a friend's success may project those feelings onto the friend, accusing them of being jealous or competitive instead. By doing this, the individual can distance themselves from their own uncomfortable emotions and avoid taking responsibility for them.

4.    Rationalization - Rationalization is a self-defense mechanism in which an individual finds logical reasons or justifications to explain their behavior, beliefs, or feelings, even if those reasons are not valid. This can be a way to avoid accepting responsibility or to avoid feeling guilty or ashamed of one's actions or beliefs. For example, a person who is struggling with addiction may rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that they deserve to indulge in harmful behavior because they've had a tough day or because they work hard and deserve to relax. By doing so, they can justify their behavior and avoid feeling the discomfort or guilt associated with it.

5.    Regression - Regression is a self-defense mechanism in which an individual reverts to an earlier stage of development or behavior, often in response to stress or anxiety. This can be a way to avoid dealing with uncomfortable emotions or situations and to retreat to a more comfortable, familiar state. For example, sucking thumbs or bed-wetting.

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Denial Denial


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