Stress has become very common in today’s faced-paced society. Financial circumstances, monotonous work, and other environmental factors can make for a very stressful existence. There are many ways to cope with the stress life can bring. Many of us rely on strategies that may seem effective in the short term but often have dire consequences to our long term health and well being. Learning safer and more effective ways of managing stress is essential to living a healthy and long life. One of the most effective ways of coping with stress is emotion focused coping.
What is Emotion Focused Coping?
Emotion focused coping is a way of training your mind to focus less stressful thoughts and more on the positive aspects of your life and circumstances. In this way we can force our mind and emotions to remain more positive thereby reducing stress. It may take some time to learn these techniques but with enough practice emotion focused coping can become second nature. The idea is based on the premise that the mind cannot work with two contradicting emotions at the same time. This means we cannot be happy and sad simultaneously. Instead of allowing your mind to dwell on the negative, producing greater negativity and stress there are many things you can do to guide your thinking back to the positive side of things. Some examples include:
1. Keeping Your Mind Busy.
Being busy and involved in different tasks helps in reducing stress. Stress often occurs when a person is sitting idle thinking about past or future experiences. We all tend to naturally dwell on the negative aspects of our experiences. In a attempt to problem solve many of us tend to resort to worrying. This is a highly stressful activity. A busy mind cannot focus on negative thoughts and by staying busy we can avoid stressful moments. Divert attention from stressful issues by watching television, surfing the internet, or spending time with friends who are positive distractions. Find opportunities to laugh. This reduces stress-causing chemicals in body, improving both mental and physical health. You can also try to play some games or read books to divert your attention from stressful thoughts.
2. Ignoring Stress-Inducing Thoughts.
Another good way to cope with stress is to ignore stress inducing thoughts by deliberately thinking of good experiences. Keep a gratitude list or a journal of all your good times and refer back to it during times of stress. A good experience triggers positive chemical reactions in the body and this can go a long way to making you feel better.
3. Positive Self-Talk.
It is often said that our mind gives out what goes in. Positive self talk means speaking positively to one’s own self. Speaking positive helps a person to develop an optimistic outlook. Over time, our mind learns to cope with stress by thinking positively. Try using positive affirmations and simple phrases like “Today is a wonderful day” or “I am feeling happy today” throughout your day. Many find it helpful to speak these thoughts aloud while looking in a mirror as if they are truly having a conversation with themselves. Doing this first thing in the morning can sometimes help set a positive tone for the rest of the day.
4. Prayers and Spiritual Guidance.
Many rely on their religious and spiritual beliefs to maintain hope in their lives and to find peace. Research has shown that this is a very effective practice. Even if you are not a spiritual person, taking a few moments every day to clear your mind and meditate can go a long way to reducing stressful thoughts and feelings.
5. Meditation and Exercise.
There are various meditation techniques available today to help with stress reduction. Yoga has become popular all around the world because of its effectiveness in reducing stress. Exercise is a good way to release positive chemicals in our body. Exercise also helps in refreshing our mind.
There are various ways to reduce stress. People often use medications to deal with stress. However, medications are not a permanent solution. Emotion focused coping can help you reduce stress by making small but powerful changes to your thinking. With enough practice this new way of thinking will eventually become habit.