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I am an excessively emotional person who responds to stress through crying and being gloomy. When I lost a friend during the last semester, I cried a lot to overcome the stress. Causes of stress, thus referred to as stressors, are elements or circumstances leading a person to anticipate a feeling of exceeding psychological and physical demands on ability to comfortably cope up with the situation (Greenglass, 2002). Through expressing physical emotions, I was able to quickly overcome the experience of losing a dear friend.
Avoidant in coping and its effectiveness
In my coping with stressors, I tend to be an avoidant in order to let nature facilitate the healing process. From what I remember, upon losing my friend, my family and I did not talk about the death after the final funeral service. I just went on doing my own things to get the sad situation out of my head. I did not discuss the death and loss despite having felt some kind of sadness and emptiness. I just shouldered my feelings and kept them within control. Though it may sound strange, I always find it easy to use the avoidant strategy when coping with stress since it gives me time to think through and reflect on the impact of the stressor (Taylor, 2006).
Emotion-focused coping application
Since the stressor situation was involving death of a close friend, I used emotion-focused coping since I had to let out the pain through crying, and remember the past experiences with the late friend to facilitate an easy exit strategy from this painful experience. During this period, I felt that “the right to grieve entitles a bereaved person to grieve in a manner he/she chooses to, free of interference from others. Thus, no one is obligated to grieve in a particular way” (Attig 2004, p.198). I found the emotion-focused coping useful in managing the pain as a result of the death experience.
The impact of external resources
The external resources such as the previous video and sound recordings with the friend who died presented very serious challenges in the recovery process from the grief. These external sources acted as triggers to remind me of my best friend and the activities we carried out together. Every time I came across any material we did together, it would triggers and stimulate sad memories of the demise. As a result, I had to shed tears each time this happened for almost three months after the funeral service.
Social support in coping
I had to heavily rely on social support from my immediate family members in the form of emotional support. Each time I experienced the emotional outbursts, there was always an open arm from a member of my family ready to pat and hug me until I calmed down. Besides, the family members were very tolerant and constantly listened to my reflections for several hours without criticism. I was made to feel loved by my family members who exercised cautious empathy through reminding me of the equal pain they felt because of my loss (Taylor, 2006). In addition, I relied on informational support from the deacon of the local church through sharing spiritual and comforting advices on the need to let go of my pain. The deacon made it easy for me to recover through sharing a similar experience he underwent, when his wife passed away.
Attig, T. (2004). Disenfranchised grief revisited: Hope and love. OMEGA, 49(3), 197- 215.
Greenglass, E. (2002). Proactive coping: Chapter 3. In E. Frydenberg (Ed.), Beyond coping: Meeting goals, vision, and challenges (pp. 37-62). London, UK: Oxford University Press.
Taylor, S.E. (2006). Health psychology, international edition. London, UK: McGraw-Hill Education.