16 November 2020 16:17
So, what are some of the strategies that you can use to handle stress?
People tend to cope much better with stress when they proactively utilise what is sometimes called, "The Three C’s":
Active coping can help to improve the control, commitment and challenges in overcoming stress. Simple yet effective coping strategies involve:
Problem-focused coping involves actions to reduce the strains of the stressor, so it becomes more manageable. For example, this could be writing down a list of things to do, sticking to getting those things done within that week and gradually ticking those things off your list once they have been completed.
Emotion-focused coping allows us to directly deal with the emotions we may experience, through behavioural and cognitive strategies, such as talking about how we are feeling with others. Feeling listened to, understood and supported can validate how we feel and encourage us to make positive changes in our thoughts and behaviour.
Interestingly research has shown that coping processes which involve finding meaning in the stressful event, positive reappraisal and problem-focused coping are effective in leading to positive outcomes. Positive social support is a key element of coping with stress; it can help our self-esteem, give us the chance for advice, guidance, companionship and strengthen relationships, as well as provide instrumental support (which involves physical help). A research study (Cohen et al, 2015) found that even simply hugging, as a means of support, reduces stress-induced susceptibility to infectious diseases. Over 400 adults were exposed to a strain of the common cold virus and the results indicated that more frequent hugging and greater perceived social support predicted less severe signs of illness than those who became infected by the virus.
The stress buffer hypothesis suggests that individuals tend to cope better with stress through good social support. This theory implies that the existence of other people within our support network helps us when we deal with stressors, through imagining what others would do and selecting an appropriate way of coping to manage the situation. Role theory suggests that the existence of other people provides choices and to which role identity the individual should adopt to handle a stressful life event. It is emphasised that an individual may change their roles according to the type of stressor and seeing through the most effective way of coping.
It is important to take some time for yourself and simply relax, in ways which you like the most.
Whilst they may vary from person to person, they needn’t be complex: it could be learning a new skill, returning to an enjoyable hobby or simply taking a well-needed rest.