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Identify and discuss strategies for coping with Stress

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Introduction

Identify and discuss strategies for coping with Stress. Stress has been defined as a pattern of negative physiological and psychological processes occurring in situations where people perceive threats to their well being which they may be unable to meet. These situations involve stimuli which can be either real or imagines and are generally known as stressors. Stressors come in many forms; for example, they can be cataclysmic such as life disasters including floods and earthquakes and also things such as rape and abuse. But they can also quite insignificant things such as being late for work or stuck in traffic - these are generally known as life's little hassles. Although stressors are mainly seen as negative, they can also some be seen in a positive light such as wining a competition or sitting an exam as these can affect people's behaviour in positive ways. Stress is a biological response that is exposed through an emotion although the form it takes can vary depending on the nature of the stressor as we respond differently in a variety of situations. When a person senses a stressor, the hypothalamus will send a signal to the autonomic nervous system and also to the pituitary gland these both respond by stimulating the bodies organs which then change their normal activities such as an increase in heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, air passages also ...read more.

Middle

Kobasa believed that hardiness consisted of three things, Control; this was the belief that the individual had control over the incidents occurring in their life rather than attributing control to outside influences. Commitment was also another component and this refers to a sense of involvement in the world around the individual and involving a strong sense of purpose in their activities. Challenge was the other component that refers to the individual's life changes, which are to be seen as challenges and opportunities rather than threats and stressors. From his research Kobasa came up with three coping strategies to increase a person's hardiness. The first strategy was known as focusing, this is where the individual is trained to identify signs of stress and so recognise their sources. The second strategy is known as reliving stressful situations in which the individual learns to analyse a stressful situation and is given examples of how it could have been better or worse. This helps the individual gain insight into the strategies they're currently using and how they are most likely to be more effective than the individual thought. The final strategy is known as self-improvement, this is where the individual is encouraged to take on and carry out challenges that they'll be able to cope with. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although it does not seem to help manage long-term stress as it has only been found to work effectively under short-term/temporary stress. There are many different strategies that can be used to alleviate stress. Overall, it has been shown more effective to use more than one strategy at a time because each one has different ways of dealing with stress as some only deal with reducing the physical symptoms of stress such as exercise and it doesn't look at the underlying reasons as to why the stress occurred in the first place where as Meichenbaum's Stress Inoculation Training only looks at the underlying reasons of the stress and why it occurred rather than one actually happens to the person physically. Because of these it seems obviously more beneficial to use more than one strategy at a time, For example, over 150 studies have shown exercise to be good for reducing depression and anxiety but even better if it is used alongside anti-depressant drugs such as Prozac and also using Psychotherapy (Arent et al 2000, Berger & Motl, 2000). Research has shown that no method of coping with stress is perfect, however each method is able to help the person in some therefore, the person under stress needs to find the methods available and beneficial to them in order to alleviate their stress if not get rid of it for good. ...read more.

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