Stress in psychology (as opposed to physics or biology) is defined as a feeling of strain or pressure. Stress is a large umbrella term that covers a large field of phenomena. Naturally stress has a long list of possible symptoms including: irritability, fatigue, insomnia, rashes, blood pressure changes, loss of appetite, depression, insecurity, panic attacks, etc. But, it is often proven that a small dosage of stress can actually be beneficial and even healthy. A small amount of stress can positively affect athletic or mental performance. Stress can arise from a wide variety of stressors. The most common stressors are often crises, catastrophes or major life events. Nonetheless there are also smaller stressors that occur through everyday struggles such as minor decisions, homework, tests, etc.
For all these causes of stress the human psyche has developed numerous coping mechanisms. The first types of mechanisms employed are the adaptive and problem-focused solutions. These can come in the form of affiliation, humour, sublimation, or positive reappraisal. Affiliation is where you make use of your social network to help you cope with stress. Humour, evidently, is when you 'make a joke' out of the situation. Sublimation involves transforming this unwanted stress into something that is preferred through mental power. Lastly, positive reappraisal involves turning your focus away from the stressful situation and instead towards some other positive situations in your life.
Other types of mechanisms employed are inhibition and disavowal mechanisms. These can involve displacement, repression, or reaction formation. Displacement is where you superimpose your stressful emotions onto another less stressful situation thereby mitigating the stress. Repression is when you remove your thoughts and feelings from the stressors in question and disconnect yourself from the situation altogether. Reaction formation is when you force yourself to replace your undesirable emotions with their polar opposites. It is believed by some that these mechanisms can actually increase stress in the long term. The third type of coping mechanisms are active mechanisms. These usually take the form of either acting out or passive aggression.