Dealing with Stress

Dealing with Stress

Stress is caused by a number of factors that vary depending on the individual. With that being said, stress must be handled with strategies specific to the person.

There are 3 groups of strategies used in psychology to deal with stress effectively.

Problem focused coping

  • Problem focused coping means dealing with stressful circumstances with specific cognitive and behavioral techniques.
Proactive approach technique
Avoid procrastinating. Easier said than done, but when a task is not tackled from the start, it is later accompanied with feelings of unsettled discomfort. At the very least, when a task is first issued, immediately make a to-do list or an outline to break down and organize the job.

Knowledge technique
Become educated on the current situation. Knowing as much as possible about a situation decreases anxiety and stress while fostering a feeling of control and confidence. This may be as simple as locating a place on a map before driving to an event in unfamiliar territory.

Emotion focused coping

  • Emotion focused coping is learning behavioral and cognitive strategies to adapt to and therefore reduce distress in stressful situations.
Distraction technique
Adversity can be dealt with by learning to exhibit positive emotions to distract from fear, anger and elevated heart rate to name a few. It is best to use this in a situation of high stress that cannot be changed at the current moment and in which panic could be detrimental. Examples of this could be as flippant as traffic or as serious as a hostage situation.

Sharing technique
Opening up about one’s feelings can help sort out thoughts and relieve built up stress, especially from traumatic experiences. This encourages a release of negative energy and supports a calming spirit.

Proactive coping

Proactive coping is tackling a stressful situation head on and not giving it time to develop and fester.

Social technique
Becoming isolated can be extremely stressful and depressing. It starts by letting a career or similar factor completely take over one’s life and leave no room or energy for socialization. People are social beings and having close family ties and friends is therapeutic in dealing with stress.

To prevent this isolated “hermit syndrome,” make a point to call a friend once a week, meet someone for coffee, and join a club where people with similar interests meet and discuss common interests and hobbies. These groups can be found online or in local papers.

Remember that practice makes perfect, but making a commitment to better manage stress will improve physical health and overall well-being.

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