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When Under Stress We All Regress

Sometimes there are moments in life when the pressures of life start to sink your ship. It might appear there isn't any immediate solutions, so we'll turn towards the coping mechanisms that we have used in the past. These coping mechanisms have helped us wade through the tough waters by giving us a framework to deal with overwhelming pressure of stress.

What Is Regression In Psychology?

Regression in psychology is a coping mechanism used when we exhibit during those stressful moments in live. These coping mechanisms come in the form of behaviour during our childhood or earlier stages in our development. In the extremes, this could be sucking our thumbs, wetting the bed, clinging onto to former toys, etc. as we did when we were children. Everyone eventually exhibits some form of regression at some point in time, but to a milder degree.

Whether it's biting your nails like you did when you were younger or throwing temper tantrums, the behaviour can be subtle during adulthood. When someone is showing signs of regression, sometimes we can be unaware of its effects. They'll mostly see the signs as immature, but not in the form of regression to "safer" times during early development.

Sigmund Freud, also known as the "Father of Psychology," states that individuals who revert to earlier points in childhood do so to feel more nurtured or secure.

During childhood we have not yet to developed effective ways to solve the problems we face. We deal with these stressors using prior experience to soothe the situation. Regression isn't indicative of mental illness and is generally viewed as healthy behaviour. Sometimes adults can exhibit unhealthy ways of coping and teach children these ways, for example seeing a parent drink excessively, or using anger towards others.

Like any coping mechanism, we exhibit behaviours that will ease the stress we immediately face so that we can better understand it. After the initial wave of anxiety has passed, we problem solve. Without such a cycle, we would be thinking through emotions and solving with inflamed thinking. This could pave the way to rash thinking or destructive behaviour.

What You Can Do About Regression In Psychology

Regression is an effective means to deal with stress until it's time to use some form of problem-solving.

Regressing in childhood is normal as there will rarely be moments when a child learns to act on intent. One way of helping children is completing the Triple P program. This gives you skills how to manage your child and help them manage their emotions.

In adulthood, there will be chances to use behaviour we've learned intentionally. Instead of relying on the childlike responses to soothe the pains of frustration, disappointment or loss we can develop objective ways of handling these stressors.


Meditation is one way you can try. as it has been a practice to better handle stress and anxiety for thousands of years. Having the benefit of time, meditations have become varied and more specific. There is meditation to handle trauma. There are meditations to manage the effects of insomnia. Whatever stressors you may be facing, there will most likely be a particular meditation that combats it. Check out insight timer on iTunes or Playstore for a free app.

During meditation, you'll control your posture and your breathing. Using these anchors inside your body, you'll slowly build a more profound awareness with consciousness and yourself. Meditation is particularly useful as a means to set time aside for ourselves.

Life, work, friends, and family can all be demanding a portion of our time. It can be tough to carve simple moments out of our days to soothe our problems. Meditation sets the practice of bringing more awareness towards ourselves and the stressors affecting us.

Singing Bowls

This is one of my coping skills, is to just listen and connect.


Some people enjoy writing. This can be powerful technique if struggling sleep at night, no matter the hour write it down on paper next to your bed. This has been proven to help sleep. Writing as it was intended during earlier times is a great way to document a process of thinking for later reflection. Writing down our regrettable incidents can offer a healthy and effective means of coping, as well as reflect on it later on. Merely writing the details of such events can reduce body tension and restore the focus on solving problems.

The wonderful nature of writing is that there is no one way to do any form of writings. This includes journaling your own unique life. Whatever route you choose, having the words on paper gives you a resource to reflect later in life, but also a means to solve problems now.

We can better understand our stress to hopefully find solutions but also to understand the insignificance of them.


I personally enjoy Yoga! There are many positive effects that combine brief exercise, meditation practices, and stretching that helps with stress or anxiety.

This is be a yoga day festival 2019.

Yoga is an ancient practice that has found its way into our western culture. This practice falls under the same vein of paying attention to you. With meditation, there is acute attention to your posture and your mind. With yoga, there is attention towards each element inside your body.

The great news is there are yoga practices online and short drive away that can fit almost any lifestyle you want. Whichever you choose, yoga can be a great way to build a more effective means of handling the stress that could cause you to regress.


Regression in psychology can be a complex subject to discuss as the behaviour we all exhibit during childhood won't be a comical thumb sucking or wetting the bed. The effects of regression will be much more subtle. for example, chewing nails or pulling our hair can be a simple means of coping.

Coping mechanisms are healthy when they don't come at the expense of another person. Chewing your hair maybe reverted behaviour, but if it helps you handle stress and the behaviour is at least self-aware, then the habit is healthy. When the behaviour negatively affects your image, then it might be time to move onto different forms of coping.

Regression in psychology has its roots in stress. Whenever we feel the negative effects of being unable to solve the problems in our lives, we use a coping mechanism to soothe the feelings to then problem solve. There is no identifiable reason for regression besides seeking stress relief.

As adults we can learn many ways to deal with stress that arises. If stress is a problem for you contact Matt at Redland's Counselling Service.

Meditation is a great practice where all it needs is you and your body. Building self-awareness to understand all the pressure you're currently dealing with and learning acceptance in letting it go. Engaging your para-sympathetic nervous system for calm is as easy as controlling your breathing. Breathing technique here is previous blog.

Journaling can be a wonderful means to better problem solve or heal traumas. By putting pencil to paper, we are actualising the thoughts that we may have. Having these thoughts down on paper relieves much of the tension of keeping them inside your head. By releasing these thoughts, not only are you freeing up precious space in your brain, but you're forming a new form of coping.

Last, but not least, yoga. Exercise can be a stress buster. A simple practice of 20 minutes or less can be all the time you need to experience the full benefits. Yoga combines light exercise, meditation, and stretching, giving you those benefits and more.

Remember under stress we all regress, so learn compassion and kindness.

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