March 12, 2018
Coping is a dynamic process that includes efforts to solve the problem (problem-focused), manage emotions (emotion-focused), and maintaining close relationships (relationship-focused). Effective copers tend to vary their coping strategies during different phases of a stressor. For example, the initial coping response of someone receiving a diagnosis of cancer may be denial, allowing the person to gradually adapt to the life-threatening diagnosis. However, this may change as the individual and his or her family accept the diagnosis and begin to look toward treatment options. So, although denial is effective initially, if continued it may hinder chances of recovery if treatment isn’t sought. Additionally, it is important to be aware that stressful situations may include many different stressors, and these may require different coping responses.
Problem-focused coping describes direct efforts to solve the problem at hand. Problem-focused strategies often include trying to change the situation. These strategies may include defining the problem, identifying or generating alternative solutions, coming up with a plan, and then acting on that plan. Other problem-focused coping strategies may be geared toward changing ourselves, such as learning new skills, thereby increasing one’s coping resources.
Several factors influence the use of problem-focused coping strategies. For example, the perception of threat or high levels of stress may interfere with the successful use of this form of strategy due to the reduction in capacity for information processing. People are more likely to use problem-focused coping strategies when they feel the situation can be changed and that this change is within their control. For stressful situations that cannot be solved with problem-focused coping, such as the death of a family member, individuals may need to direct their efforts to emotion-focused coping.
The primary focus of emotion-focused coping is to reduce emotional distress. This form of coping may be achieved through avoidance, distance, or wishful thinking. While these strategies can be maladaptive in certain circumstances, they can also be quite effective, as discussed in the cancer example earlier. Changing the meaning of a situation, using cognitive reappraisal, can be helpful when we can’t change the problem itself.
Relationship-focused coping is aimed at managing, regulating, or preserving relationships during stressful periods. Successful coping may not only involve solving problems and managing emotions but may also involve maintaining and protecting social relationships, particularly when stressors occur in interpersonal contexts. This aspect of coping is important for the maintenance of social relationships during periods of stress. In studies of couples coping with stress, relationship-focused coping strategies involving empathic responding have been associated with less marital tension and greater marital satisfaction and stability.
Some coping strategies can have mixed functions. For example, social support seeking could be used to express emotion (emotion-focused coping), to gather information (problem-focused coping), and to maintain relationships with others (relationship-focused coping). Sometimes using a combination of all these strategies together provides an optimal solution for beating stress.
Read more in our tips for preventing job burnout or determine if you're suffering burnout.
This is an excerpt from my book Fresh Start: A Guide To Eliminating Unhealthy Stress.
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November 26, 2018
Ever wondered why we human beings have a strong preference for consistency? It's partly because we couldn't function if we didn't have some sense of certainty about the way things work in our world.
October 01, 2018
September 04, 2018
Feeling overwhelmed? Do you have trouble sleeping? Are you feeling increasingly depressed? Could you be suffering from burnout? We all experience stress, but sometimes stress can leave us physically and emotionally drained. It can be difficult to regain a sense of balance in our lives.Inside Fresh Start – A Guide to Eliminating Unhealthy Stress you’ll discover:• What stress is so that you can understand whether you’re affected. • The difference between stress and burnout, so that you know which of these you’re dealing with. • The many sources of stress, the key triggers, and how to halt stress in its tracks. • Different coping strategies, so that you can see how your current coping strategies might be modified for better results• In the moment stress reduction strategies, so that you can lower your stress levels today. • And much, much more!There are answers. Discover how to manage unhealthy stress and start feeling more calm and peaceful. Let Sarah O’Flaherty guide you to a healthier, happier life. Sarah O’Flaherty assists people in improving their job/life satisfaction and working through career transitions. Currently training as a clinical psychologist, Sarah leverages the latest research and techniques for managing unhealthy stress to help her clients emerge from the chaos of stress and find balance and greater peace in their lives. In Fresh Start, Sarah teaches you about stress in any easy to understand format, with the hope of releasing you from damaging stress once and for all. Fresh Start will help you to transition away from stress while maintaining your relationships, your job, your home, and your sanity. Fresh Start is packed with straightforward, honest, and practical advice that can be your wake-up call to a new start in life. If you like easy reads that tell it to you straight, then you’ll love having Sarah on your team.Buy A Fresh Start to help you return to calm and balanced living!
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