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Stress is a feeling that one experiences when faced with a situation that demands more personal and social resources than what an individual perceives to be having (Myers, 2009). Coping refers to the thought processes and behavioral responses that people apply to deal with stressing stimuli. Some people cope with stress by adopting problem-focused approach while others cope through emotion-focused approaches. These are two very distinct approaches to coping with stressful encounters or experiences. Problem-focused coping strategy to stress involves direct confrontation and dealing with the issue that is causing the stress. It may involve finding a lasting solution to the problem or at least doing something to deal with the problem in long term so as to stop or limit the stress (Myers, 2009). For example, a problem-focused approach to dealing with a disease that is causing stress to or family is to seek medical treatment for the family member who has been diagnosed by the disease.
Emotion-focused strategy to coping with stress involves dealing with the negative thoughts and feelings of distress that are caused by imminent or present aversive stimulus or problem at hand. The emotion-focused coping approach does not therefore find a lasting solution to the problem, neither does it remove the aversive stimulus but instead seeks to empower the victim to learn how to live with the problem (Myers, 2009). This approach is based on the belief that the origin of stress is in the thought processes and the attitudes that are built based on how the problem at hand is perceived relative to the existing resources to deal with it. This approach thus modifies thought processes and builds the capacity of a stressed person to alter the stress and develop an optimistic attitude towards it. In the case of the disease illustrated before, this approach may involve counseling the patient, the family members and removing any fears or stigma that the disease may expose them to. This enables the patient and the family members to think positively about the problem and confidently seek solutions to the problem at hand.
There are different tactics that are used in stress management and reduction of stress-related ailments. Having enough sleep is one of the tactics that has proved effective in stress management. Psychologists maintain that having enough sleep is a healthy habit since it enhances emotional and physical wellbeing (Myers, 2009). Lack of enough sleep limits one’s ability to deal with stressful experiences that one may have encountered in the course of the day. Sleep enables one to rejuvenate and recover from the previous worn-outs so that the exhaustion and burnout of the previous day is not carried forward to the next day. This ensures that one begins the day when he/she is very fresh and strong enough to take-on the new day. In order to enhance good sleep at night, one can for example consider having power naps.
Maintenance of a strong social support network is highly recommended by stress management specialists (Myers, 2009). This tactic helps in creating a strong buffer against stressful experiences. For example, friends can be very supportive in stressing moments like bereavement. They may not only provide emotional support but also provide great insights, financial support and general closeness that are very essential in dealing with stressing moments. Therefore, people should have strong social support networks of friends, peers, relatives and other people around their environment since such people are a social capital that one needs to manage and cope with stress.
Developing and maintaining the right attitude is a very effective tactic of dealing with stress. Myers (2009) cited that life experiences and encounters can be very stressful depending on individual perceptions. It is therefore imperative that people maintain an optimistic attitude even amidst very challenging and threatening moments. This tactic helps to reduce the stress levels that could otherwise be very severe and deadly if negative and pessimistic attitudes were permitted. Negative thoughts can thus be altered to positive ones through positive affirmations to effectively manage a stressing condition or experience.