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Coping With Stress

by Ragini Salampure
Coping With Stress

There are two main categories in coping with stress: 

  • Problem-oriented coping and 
  • Emotion-oriented coping. 

What makes these two forms differ in their emphasis on the problem and the ability to change it (vs. staying in control of the stressor). Problem-oriented coping tends to involve more research and analysis into the source of the stressor(s), which may include organizational issues, professional concerns, or even personal problems. Emotionally, problem-oriented people tend to experience greater degrees of stress because of their inability to effectively cope with the stressors. On the flip side, problem-areas also have greater emotional freedom because they can better control their emotions which in turn prevents them from experiencing high levels of stress.

Problem-Focused Activities

Several problem-specific coping strategies can be employed to help deal with stress. These are:

  • Self-monitoring, 
  • Guilt-Free Comprehending, 
  • Monitoring, 
  • Accepting the Unpleasant, and 
  • Interacting.

Self-monitoring involves evaluating your internal reactions to stressors, such as, do you feel like crying, are you tense or uptight, do you feel angry, do you procrastinate, are you worried or agitated, do you take shortcuts, or shut down? You can also learn how to manage your emotions and to calm yourself when you become tense, by taking deep breaths, visualization exercises, writing down everything you feel, and practicing positive thinking. By accepting the unpleasant, you realize that stressful situations will have no lasting impact on you can relax; by accepting the unpleasant you make room for solutions, and you create a sense of relief. Sometimes cluttered rooms or items in a room might also be stressful for instance, untidy mattresses, dirty sheets, wrinkled sheets, etc. Well, you need to be aware of one thing is high-quality sheets with high thread counts get wrinkles, just like Percale is wrinkle-prone. So, if you are stressed about it, then relax and try out other things.


Guilt-Free Comprehending

The foremost thing that people need when coping with stress is understanding, and this is especially important when dealing with long-term and frequent emotional traumas, such as stress caused by personal loss, financial loss, relationship issues, and abuse. It is important to realize that you cannot change other people, but you can alter your responses to stressful situations so that you will not be impacted negatively. Guilt-free understanding allows you to release negative emotions that you have been carrying around and allows you to move on. In addition, you will be more able to recognize your stress triggers in less time, which enables you to avoid these situations in the future. Managing emotional stress requires that you get into a habit of noticing your emotional state in each situation that arises.


When coping with stress, it is important to be aware of your reaction to stressful situations and how you react, both positively and negatively. By monitoring your reactions, you will have a better idea of how to react when you find yourself in difficult emotional situations. While you cannot change other people or situations, you can take note of your reactions so that you know what to expect when you find yourself in a stressful situation and you can recognize your stress triggers.

Practicing Self-Esteem 

While coping with job stress, it is important to practice self-esteem management techniques. Your sense of self-worth is largely affected by your relationships with others, and you need to cultivate good relationships with those who love you. Identifying your stress triggers will allow you to become a more reliable buffer for dealing with stressful situations. This also includes making sure that your relationships with co-workers and management are optimal, and that you can get along with others. When you create positive relationships within work, you will be better able to respond to workplace stress, and you will have greater success coping with it.

Self-Esteem and Emotional Fatigue

Stress can drain you emotionally and physically, especially if you are working under high-stress conditions for long periods. To maintain optimal mental health, and to cope with long-term stress, it is important to engage in a variety of emotion-focused strategies. These strategies will reduce your emotional demands on you, and they will also help you identify and diffuse your stressor quickly. Many people find these emotional fatigues and stress relief strategies useful. 

The study was done in the field of health services by a team of experts from the University of Pittsburgh-ASS chest down to Cornell University. The main objective of the research was to assess the most common ways of coping with stress in humans compared to other healthy subjects. It was found that people who are suffering from stress and depression are more likely to take their lives. Also, when depressed people were given tasks to perform which included coping with stress, they performed worse than control subjects who did not have to cope with stress. Furthermore, when they were examined after the stressful tasks had been completed, they showed greater signs of depression and increased the severity of their depressive episodes.

The researchers conducted two different sets of statistical analyses. 

  • The first set of tests compared the symptoms of depression and stress, as indicated by the numerical scores on the psychological tests of the subjects, and compared these scores to the scores for control subjects. Results indicated that people with higher counts for depression and stress had greater severity of their depressive episodes than others.
  • The second set of tests was conducted using cognitive behavioral therapy. This type of therapy aims to change patterns of thought and behavior and to increase coping strategies. The aim is to reduce stress symptoms, improve self-esteem, and decrease depressive disorders. A sample of the adaptation strategies included changing work routines, dietary changes, eliminating risky situations, limiting contact with negative people, avoiding potentially threatening situations, and changing interpersonal routines. An example of a strategy used is that when dealing with anxiety and depressive disorders, people are encouraged to change the way they think and act in response to stressful situations so that they can adapt better.

  • The third set of strategies is called maladaptive strategies key takeaways. These include ignoring stressors. It has been found that when under stress people begin to ignore their true needs, such as getting restful sleep and having social interactions with others. It is believed that when people ignore their needs, they will not be able to properly deal with stressful situations. Hence, ignoring stressors can be one of the maladaptive strategies leading to depressive disorders. If you want to be stress-free then you need to keep your beddings clean and in such case washing your bedsheet is inevitable.

In addition, when people begin to ignore stressors, they also tend to use avoidance strategies such as engaging in passive coping strategies (e.g., counting and ignoring the number of items on a shopping list) rather than active coping strategies (e.g., talking to a friend). When dealing with depressive disorders, it is found that this type of coping strategy can worsen the condition. For instance, when people begin to engage in passive coping strategies, they do not talk to friends or family members about their problems. As a result, they fail to get treatment recommendations. It is possible that this type of strategy can lead to increased severity of depressive episodes.

  • The fourth set of strategies is called internalized coping strategies. These include types of thinking such as perfectionism, anxiety, anger, guilt, and powerlessness. These personality traits can affect individuals who have depressive disorders. People who feel these negative emotions can develop coping strategies that may be self-destructive. For instance, they may become perfectionists and ignore or deny the fact that they have errors and omissions in their work.
  • The fifth and final set of strategies to cope with stress and depressive disorders are external coping strategies. These are the strategies that individuals employ to cope with the stressor or to manage its effects. External coping strategies can be physical or psychological. For instance, coping with the effects of stress can be achieved through exercising, eating healthy, or reducing the amount of alcohol or tobacco consumption.


Individuals with chronic stress or depressive disorders need to know and understand their coping strategies. These are the barriers that they have developed over time that limit their capacity to live a normal, well-balanced, and successful life. In some instances, these strategies can be strengthened or modified based upon the specific circumstances that cause the individual to develop stress or depression. As an individual learns and successfully implements new stress management strategies, he or she begins to experience less stress and a greater ability to live life fully and successfully.

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