Assessing Stress – Blog 2

In the first blog I talked about determining how you deal with stress. Another way to deal with stress is accessing then avoid, alter, or adapt to the situation. A part of doing this is called Primary and Secondary Appraisal.

Primary Appraisal – Accessing a potential stressful situation and determining if it will be positive or negative.
Secondary Appraisal – Determining how you will cope with the situation.
This is where you determine if you can avoid, alter, or adapt to the stressor. Once you have done both of these steps you will have a full grasp on the situation and how to deal with it.

After following steps from the first and second blog, you will know how you react to stress, if the situation is harmful or not, and how you are going to cope with the situation.

When I was going into grade three, my family had moved from Fredericton to Riverview, NB. If you are not familiar with the area, there is a two hour distance. My family had to completely start over and I was starting at a new school and knew no one. Understandably this was a stressful event, especially for a seven year old. I remember the night my mom had done her best job to help me deal with the stress using primary and secondary appraisal.
She sat me down and asked me how I was feeling. I knew that I was going to a new school, but I did not really understand that everything was going to be different. She explained to me that none of my old teachers would be there, I would have to get used to the new layout of the school, I would have to make new friends, and our schedule would be different. I think I asked her a hundred questions, but she patiently answered them all. I finally understood the situation I was going to face the next day (primary appraisal) and the panic began.
She asked me what I was scared about and she made sure she answered each one before we went on to the next one (secondary appraisal). The only question I really remember is, “who will walk me to my class?” She asked me who I wanted to take me so the other one could go with my brother. Me being a daddy’s girl, I chose my daddy.
The next morning we followed the plan we had made and the day could not have gone any better.

Before and After
Before talking about this in Psych, I was not aware that it was an actual thing; however, I have always done it. My mother is a very problem-focused person and has everything figured out before the situation happens. She has always tried to pass this onto my brother and I. I think that now I know it is a thing, I will be more conscious of it and make sure I take time to determine and avoid, alter, or adapt to the stress I face.


Coping with Stress – Blog 1

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.