According to Aamodt (2009) stress is the psychological and physical reaction to certain life events or situations. Fear, resistance, resentment, change, relations with others, organizational politics, and unfavorable physical environment are the main causes of stress (Aamodt, 2009). Even though stress affects different personalities differently, it could result to grave consequences if not well managed.
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Many people often think there is little that can be done about their level of stress. However, the fact is contrary. Individuals should identify their stressors and develop coping strategies aimed at neutralizing and finally eliminating the effects of the stressors. I have in the past adopted various strategies in coping with stress.
There are many stress coping methods. However, individuals often find themselves employing unhealthy and unproductive methods, which end compounding the problem. Such methods include withdrawal from friends and families, use of pills, drinking, smoking, overeating, and taking out of stress on other people. Even though these methods can work, their results are temporary as individuals soon face the reality of the stressor.
Healthier and effective ways of controlling stress require either situation change, or reaction change. Every individual exhibits unique response to stress, which makes it impossible to have a common method of coping. The simplest approaches to coping with stress, which I have used in the past, include problem identification and solving, acceptance, alteration, self-nurturing, and anticipatory approach also suggested by Aldwin (2007).
Problem solving approach is a strategy that its applicability is dependent on the determination of the main cause of stress. Once the stressor is identified, it becomes easy to solve the stress as an individual directs his or her energy towards subduing the stressor. For example, if lack of finances is the main cause of stress, then an individual may seek for new employment to provide for the much-needed cash.
The identification of the stressor also opens a window for an individual to explore other adaptation methods, which can be of help in the future such as avoidance. In anticipatory approach, an individual prepares for possible causes of stress and consequently prepares for them before their actual occurrence. Past trends and acquired knowledge can help an individual in such preparations.
For example, a student subjected to last minute revision pressures and stress for failing to revise in time may expect the same, hence prepare early in the following semesters to avoid going through the same. This method is very effective as an individual can review and continually revise the best method to use every time the stressor reoccurs. Sometimes stressful situations are not only complex, but also impossible to avoid.
It is only prudent for individuals affected to alter and adapt to such situations. This involves finding possible ways of changing an individual’s operation to avoid the stress from reoccurring. For example, stress caused by coworkers could be avoided by expressing ones’ feelings to the specific workers instead of bottling them up. If the desired change is not achieved, then one can go a step further by changing his or her own behaviors.
Stressors such as the death of people we love, fatal accidents, and illness are unavoidable and impossible to ignore. However, letting such stressors take tall of an individual’s life is also unacceptable. In such cases, the best coping strategy is acceptance. Though hard to take, acceptance is the only way out for individuals facing unchangeable life-threatening situations.
There are other effective coping strategies, which even though I have not used, I would consider applying. Self-nurturing is such “effective way of coping with stress” (Aldwin, 2007).
Creating time for fun and relaxing, enhance our ability to copy with life’s unending stressors. It is therefore prudent for an individual to engage frequently in healthy ways of relaxing such as, going for a walk, playing with a pet, going adventures, watching comedies, and lighting scented candles.
Aamodt, M. G. (2009). Industrial/Organizational Psychology: An Applied Approach (6th ed.). Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning.
Aldwin, C. M. (2007). Stress, coping, and development: an integrative perspective (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Guilford Press.