How to Deal With Stress – Part 1

How to deal with stress is different for individuals. It can be closer to fantasy if there is a way to have no stress at all for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we should wisely manage the stressors in our lives to maintain the right stress level and find its balance. 

Coping strategy is the stress-management strategy that concentrates on controlling negative emotional responses to a stressful situation.

Even though people react to stress in various ways, coping mechanisms may be classified into three groups. There are problem-focused, emotion-focused coping, and seeking social support.

This article will first find out about problem-focused coping techniques and seeking social support coping strategies. 

Problem-focused coping 

Problem-focused coping techniques aim to face and directly manage the situation’s demands or modify the situation to make it less stressful. Following are the five techniques how to deal with stress in problem-focused ways.

  • Active coping / problem-solving: A person directly puts it into action to manage a stressful situation.

e.g., Studying for a test. Create a timetable and write down the plans.

  • Planning: Developing ideas to deal with the stressor. Purely doing with thoughts.

e.g., Try to prioritize a couple of tasks up next in your mind and stay focused on one thing at a time.

  • Suppression of competing activities: Put other problems on hold until the primary or current stressor has eased.

e.g., There will be a wedding ceremony a couple months later, and you are preparing a wedding ceremony. It’s a significant life event that can be stressful sometimes due to a lot to prepare. Reducing the time of other activities and investing the majority of the time for the wedding. 

  • Exercising restraint: Waiting for the right time to act effectively. Not taking action too soon.

e.g., Trying to come up with an idea and try solving the problem right away. However, a good idea is not coming, so it’s giving you a lot of stress. Sometimes take a step back from the problem and take some time to relax and think can solve the problem. 

  • Confrontation with assertiveness: Having an argument with assertive behavior. Assertive behavior is that having the ability to articulate one’s demands, wants, and expectations while yet respecting the rights of others.

Confrontation is unavoidable in your area of work. When you practice approaching assertively, it becomes a lot simpler. It is challenging to get the desired outcomes when you behave in non-assertive and aggressive ways. 

e.g., The situations that have to talk about work at the company. Instead of “You’ve done a bad job again,” say, “This report is lacking critical information.” 

Seeking social support

When you’re stressed, you may rely on people for help and emotional support.

  • Instrumental social support: Seeking tangible and/or physical help or assistance is instrumental support. It can be requesting help, information, or guidance from the social network. Seeking financial support is included.

e.g., You are injured and asked your roommate to cook a meal for you to eat.

  • Emotional social support: Looking for sympathy, understanding, or emotional help and support.

e.g., A guy with a terminal illness could decide to reach out to a terminally sick support group.

Problem-focused coping is helpful, mainly when there is a realistic chance of managing stressful situations. But, there are certain circumstances we can’t control, and problem-focused coping may end up doing more harm than good in those instances. 

Trying to alter the circumstance is not always the most excellent method to cope with a stressor, even though the findings show that most people prefer problem-focused coping. Emotion-focused coping, on the other hand, maybe the most effective method. Since, while the circumstance cannot be altered, emotional responses that are difficult to accept may be regulated or minimized with emotion-focused coping strategies. 

Therefore, we will find out about the emotion-focused coping techniques in the upcoming article. And have more understanding of how to deal with stress.

Read next Phrens blog post How to Deal With Stress – Part 2


Photo by Susan Q Yin, Olav Ahrens Røtne, and Momentista on Unsplash

  • Passer, M & Smith, R. (2015). Psychology: The science of mind and behaviour. (2nd ed.). McGraw-Hill Education.
  • Broadbent, J & Hayden, M. (2015). HBS110 Health Behaviour. (2nd ed.). Pearson Australia.
  • Orzechowska, A., Zajączkowska, M., Talarowska, M., & Gałecki, P. (2013). Depression and ways of coping with stress: A preliminary study. Medical science monitor: international medical journal of experimental and clinical research19, 1050.

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