How To Deal With Stress
How to deal with stress in our system - ReDraw Life - is simple really. We focus on LIFE. Coping with the stress in our lives. In order to discover how to deal with stress properly we need to
LEARN how you are currently coping with stress & then IDENTIFY healthy alternatives.
FIND ENCOURAGEMENT to help you maintain healthy coping mechanisms. Also during the holiday season, check out our Tips on Surviving The Holidays
Essentially, there seem to be three major categories that people use to cope with stress, easily remembered as APE (Weiten, Lloyd, 2006)
Problem based; or
Sometimes the monkey on your back can actually show you how to deal with stress
How to deal with Stress using APPRAISAL based method.
In the case of Appraisal based methods, the monkey on your back has glasses, is your teacher or helps you look at things differently. This monkey can help you see things realistically or alternatively depending on the kind of monkey you grow up with.
This tricky monkey's methods include:
Seeing the situation from different points of view
Seeing the humor in a situation
Trying to see the value or learn something from a difficultsituation
Changing your perspective on the problem
Using denial or distancing oneself from the problem
Alter the way you think about a problem by altering your goals and values
Realistic appraisals: This approach uses glasses that help you judge things to make them easier to cope with. Life events such as traffic jams and spills on the carpet aren't problems unless we appraise them as such. If our appraisals are realistic, we're better able to react to day-to-day life events with a sense of proportion. The appraisals we make (or the glasses we see through) are generally close to belief system we grew up with. If we hold unrealistic, inflexible beliefs then our appraisals may not always help us cope with stress. Also, irrational beliefs that include 'musts' and 'shoulds', with an emphasis on perfection can make our lives harder. Sometimes we know where our appraisals help us and where they don't. "I must be liked by everyone" and "Everything always has to be neat and clean" are irrational and impossible beliefs to attain.
Is it possible you and your monkey can get you new glasses? Yes, it is possible to change irrational beliefs. First identify them, then reframe them. Suppose you are driving in the car and someone cuts you off at the intersection. It's easy to say, "That person is horrible, they are so inconsiderate" or "This town has terrible drivers". An alternative interpretation could be: 'I wonder what's happening with that person for them to behave so rudely? Maybe they had a sick puppy on the floor of the car that I couldn't see and they are trying to get to the vet as fast as they can. If I knew that, I wouldn't have responded in the same way.' We have the choice how to frame our perceptions. In addition to these 'primary appraisals', it's important to develop 'secondary appraisals' when we ask ourselves afterwards if there's anything we can do about a life event we've appraised as stressful.
If we feel helpless to change things, or incompetent when facing challenges, then we're less likely to come up with a suitable coping response.
How to deal with Stress using PROBLEM (or PUZZLE) based methods.
Problem based coping involves actually dealing with the challenge that is causing stress. This is a monkey that likes to take things head on.
This determined gritty monkey's method involves:
Finding the cause of the predicament
taking action to alleviate the problem.
Learning new skills to help deal with stress
Rearranging your life around these problems. Examples would include: taking the stairs instead of elevators if you are claustraphobic, getting a second job in the face of financial difficulties, or studying harder to prepare for exams.
Planning ahead with ways to directly attack the cause of your stress
Problem based coping is generally about taking action and if you utilize the appropriate actions for the cause of your stress this can directly reduce a source of bad stress.
How to deal with Stress using EMOTION based methods.
Emotion based coping skills can sometimes reduce the symptoms of stress without having to address the source of the stress.
This expressive cheeky monkey's methods include:
releasing pent-up emotions,
distracting one-self through drinking, eating, sex, tv
managing hostile feelings,
using systematic relaxation procedures
discussing the stress with friends
talking with a therapist
laughing at your problems
Emotion based coping skills can sometimes reduce the symptoms of stress without having to address the source of the stress. There are both positive and negative coping strategies that can be defined as emotion-based. Emotion-based coping can be a useful in reducing stress to a manageable level, but if the problem is never addressed then it will most likely remain. And as we are all aware - certain escaping methods such as food, drugs and alcohol can become problems in themselves and can create more stress if not closely monitored.
People may use a mixture of these different types of coping mechanisms. All these methods can prove useful. Men often prefer problem focused coping, whereas women can often tend towards an emotion focused response. Problem focused coping mechanisms may allow an individual greater perceived control over their problem, while emotion focused coping may more often lead to a reduction in perceived control. Certain individuals therefor feel that problem focused mechanisms represent a more effective means of coping.(Nicholls & Polman, 2006)
How to deal with stress - additional methods