This paper discusses six stress management strategies. Depending on the situation, the stress can be avoided, anticipated, adopted, and adjusted to. These approaches presume that a person is supposed to alter his/her attitude towards stressful situations and emotions. What is more, it is advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle collecting positive emotions and concentrating on them, as well as having a well-balanced diet and well-set daily schedule with a sufficient sleep time. In addition, it observes the conjunctive mechanisms of stress management, such as a proper stress assessment and the identification of the main stressors. Moreover, it emphasizes the importance of the positive attitude since the individuals with the negative one are more exposed to the ill stress effects. Besides, the given paper advises maintaining a stress journal as a relevant means to trace the history and detect the peculiarities of stress development.
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This approach provides the essential information that can be implemented to lessen the ratio of distress. Simultaneously, it introduces the unhealthy ways of stress reduction, which are commonly known as coping strategies, and advises to eschew those destructive techniques. What is more, the paper educates that there are two kinds of stresses: physical and emotional. The research points to their interdependence. Furthermore, it reveals the notion of stress as a generally positive reaction of the one’s organism on an action of external stimuli. Consequently, stress has a critically important role since it can be viewed as a strong motivating factor, a source of positive excitement, and a warning and protection mechanism.
As it is known, stress is a defensive mechanism, which has evolved to protect the human’s body and mind from the plausible negative conditions. This process can be sensed on both physical and mental levels. It is appropriate to state that, to a certain degree, every individual is doomed to endure the impact of stress. The apprehension of stress mechanisms and their role in the one’s life is critically important for everyone who strives to learn the efficient stress management.
First and foremost, people should learn to make friends with this natural response of their bodies. To succeed with this goal, the one is supposed to remember about a positive effect of stress. For instance, the positive side of being stressed presumes that this condition may compel a person to take an active life position, by this. It helps to trigger or strengthen the one’s motivation. In these terms, stress “can result in a new awareness and an exciting new perspective” (The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 2007). A correlated idea presumes that pretty often “a person’s attitude can influence whether or not a situation or emotion is stressful” (Berger, 2014). The scientists claim that such individuals “often report more stress than would someone with a positive attitude” (Berger, 2014). Naturally, this thought leads to the conclusion that one should learn to maintain the positive attitude towards physical and emotional stress acknowledging its defensive and useful nature.
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It goes without saying that the development of the positive attitude greatly depends on the one’s ability to correctly detect the stressors as well as appropriate “emotional and physical reactions” (The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 2007). It is important to remember that the problems should not be ignored because, typically, an attempt to conceal the stressors, in practice, gives an opposite result. Therefore, one should learn to correctly identify the events that cause stress. Besides, it is needed to scrutinize the responses to stress and comprehend their meaning. In addition, it is strictly recommended to study the respective physical reactions with the purpose to identify the ways in which one’s organism reacts to these stressors.
Once this information is processed, it is necessary to evaluate the methods that can be used to reduce the level of stress. On this stage, an individual should be able to acknowledge and willing to avoid the unhealthy and unproductive responses towards stress stimuli. For instance, while endeavoring to decrease the stress ration, it is inappropriate to apply to so-called coping strategies. In particular, they comprise such activities as smoking, drinking, taking drugs, procrastination, oversleeping, over- or under-eating. Besides, one should not avoid dear people or habitual activities. Neither it would be proper to adhere to certain tasks with the aim to avoid facing the issues that beget a stressful reaction. Finally, another vastly implemented coping strategy is shifting the stress on the surrounding people (Smith & Segal, 2014).
It is recommended to replace the above-stated unhealthy reactions with the healthy and productive strategies. For instance, to maintain the proper level of stress one should consider starting a stress journal. The information that should be included to the journal presumes the answers to the following questions:
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What has caused your stress (make a guess if you are unsure)? How have you felt, both physically and emotionally? How have you acted in response? What did you do to make yourself feel better? (Smith & Segal, 2014).
Recording one’s sensations during the certain period of time is rather helpful because it allows comprehending the overall picture of how the person responses to stress. As a result, this approach facilitates the negative outcomes of distress and assures better chances to cope with stressful situations and emotions.
Furthermore, one should learn to avoid the unnecessary anguish. For instance, if someone does not like crowded places (this environment is stressful), it is recommended to apply to the Internet markets. Another example is the avoidance of a conversation, which is expected to discuss stressful topics or presumes the presence of unpleasant communicators. The core idea of this strategy (as well as those described below) is that humans always have the complete control over their lives. This thought is known to be a powerful tool of stress reduction. Thus, all stress management strategies are directed to evoke and sharpen this idea (Smith & Segal, 2014).
The next strategy needs to be implemented when it is impossible to avoid the stressors. It suggests altering the situation. In other words, taking a full control over his/her life, the person should adopt the principles of effective time management, diplomacy, and reflexivity. Besides, an individual should learn to anticipate plausible problems as well as be mentally ready to deal with the present ones. In this way, the proper management of life events, interpersonal relations, and one’s inner reactions towards the external stimuli can help to decrease the ratio of stress (Smith & Segal, 2014).
The next logical step to prevent negative stress effects is the adaptation to the stressors. Naturally, whereas, it is impossible to avoid or reduce the impact of stressors, the person is supposed to change his/her attitude and reactions towards stressful situations. The psychologists suggest that “you can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude” (Smith & Segal, 2014). This stress management strategy presumes that an individual is capable to reframe the issues, accept the events as a part of a bigger picture; adjust to the standards, and concentrate on the positive matters. Reframing problems is an approach to shift any anxious situation from negative to positive. For instance, if the person has to wait for his/her transport for a long period of time, it causes distress. Nevertheless, this situation can be transformed into a positive one if the waiting time is used with an advantage (i.e. the communication with dear ones, making necessary arrangements, and other productive activities).
Moreover, being capable to assess the events and objects as the parts of the general picture is an effective way to manage stress. The positive effect of this approach can be achieved while correlating the meaning of the particular situation with the general order and perspectives. Without a doubt, the today’s subjects of worries and distress are less significant when they are observed from afar.
The adjustment of one’s standards is also critically important as a part of the effective stress management. It helps to regulate the motives and attitudes to the extent, whereas, their negative impact is reduced. Consider the case, the psychologists warn that “perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress” (Smith & Segal, 2014). Indeed, the proper adjustments of standards and setting realistic goals may save a person from distress and other unpleasant emotions. Finally, the maintenance of a positive attitude serves the same purpose of stress elimination.
The fourth stress management strategy educates to accept per se the situations and conditions that cannot be changed. This approach presumes that the person should not attempt to change other people, including their attitudes and behavior. Besides, it is important to consider challenges and hardships as opportunities for the personal growth and development (Smith & Segal, 2014). In addition, acceptance implies forgiveness. It means that an individual must learn to forgive the offenders and forget offensive situations. Otherwise, the accumulation and storage of negative emotions may lead to significant distress and even cause depression.
The next stress management strategy accentuates the importance to find time for leisure and relaxation. As a rule, this method is being implemented inseparably with the adjoint strategy, which presumes the adoption of a healthy lifestyle (Smith & Segal, 2014). Specifically, to lessen the negative effect of stress, it is recommended to refer to a physical activity. It helps to promote the sense of heartiness and well-being. Moreover, one should remember that “not getting enough physical activity can put the body in a stressed state” (Berger, 2014). Apart from that, an individual is supposed to rely on the support of his/her dear ones. Otherwise, the level of stress may become too high to be endured. This advice assumes that the person must be willing to have a quality time with relatives and friends. Furthermore, it underlies the significance of hobbies and interests in one’s life. Finally, people should always care about their body. The essential particularity of this purpose is to sleep 7-8 hours per day (preferably, sleep time should be a part of a sell-set schedule, whereas, the active time is replaced with rest).
Summing up the above-mentioned, it is appropriate to emphasize that the adoption and development of the effective stress management techniques is highly important for a successful and harmonious co-existence with the surrounding world. First and foremost, it is necessary to remember that stress is a powerful defensive mechanism. It is meant to protect a person from physical injuries or a mental overburden. This supposition means that stress has a permanent positive effect on a human being. To reduce the negative outcomes of stress the psychologists advise to utilize the six main stress management strategies. Specifically, it is recommended to identify and observe the stressors and the one’s mental and physical reactions towards stressful stimuli. Furthermore, the person should elaborate the friendly and positive attitude towards own stressors. To succeed with this task, one should apply to healthy and productive strategies of stress management. In particular, the individual should keep a stress journal, avoid unnecessary stressors, alter the conditions, adapt to the stressors, and accept them per se, find time for relaxation, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.