Stress is something humans feel quite often. It is “the physical and psychological response of the body to any demand that is made on an organism that requires it to adapt, cope, or adjust” (Rathus, Maheu, & Veenvliet, 2012). In other words it is the physical and mental strain from negative and/or demanding situations. Eustress is a healthy form of stress that is short-lived and helps with personal growth. Long-lived stress, also known as distress, is the type of stress people need to keep an eye on. Over the next four blogs, I will discuss four separate things that will help you deal with stress before it becomes an illness.
Emotion Focused vs. Problem Focused
A good way to cope with your stress is determine how you cope with stress. The two coping strategies: Emotion-Focused and Problem-Focused.
Emotion-Focused is acting emotionally to a stressful situation. These people can react to negative situations in a positive way.
Ex: Someone being diagnosed with a terminal illness and choosing to get out and do things they have always wanted instead of staying home and being a grump about it.
Problem-Focused is acting active and strategic to a stressful situation. These people often find the source of stress, creating solutions to the problem, and eliminating the stress.
Ex: If someone had a handful of projects, they would create a schedule, ask for an extension, complete one project each day, etc.
It is helpful to know how you will react to stressful events so you can plan around them. You will also learn strategies to help you in these events instead of hurt you more.
I personally act to different types of stress differently. When it comes to work stress I definitely handle it in a problem-focused manner, but all other types (social, mental, or physical) I react with a emotion-focused manner. It is easier to sit down, organize, and complete homework rather than stressful social situations. For other situations I often have a melt down before I am able to fix a situation. I find when life becomes very overwhelming I am never motivated to confront issues with people. Melt downs end up helping me hit rock bottom and realize it can only go up from there. That is when I am motivated to do what I need to do.
Before and After
Before I learned about this in Psych I thought I was good at dealing with my stress. I am now aware that I am mostly a emotion-focused problem solver. As I continue growing as a person I want to challenge myself to become a problem-focused person to any stressful situation. If I cannot do that, I hope I someday reach a point where my emotions are positive and not something that cause more chaos in my life.
Rathus, S., Maheu, S., & Veenvliet, S. (2009). Psych (2nd ed.). Toronto: Wadsworth.