8) How To Positively Cope With Stress
1. Assess it. “Stress comes both from real demands and from the internal experience of how you perceive those demands,” says Saunders.How you respond to stress will depend on how you rate your resources, both internal (“I can knock this assignment off in an evening”) and external (“My friend Beth is great at this—she could help me out”) in response to that crisis. If you perceive you have the resources to cope, your stress level may not increase.
2. Change it. If your resources are lacking, you may need to take concrete steps to change things.
3. Cope with it. If you can’t change things, “you move on to emotion-focused coping, where the focus is not on making the problem better but on making yourself feel better about what you can’t change,” says Maunder.
4. Learn from it. For significant or persistent stress, coping emotionally might not be enough. In the most extreme kinds of stress—a parent’s chronic illness perhaps—it’s most effective to find a deep personal meaning or value in what you have been through, says Maunder. “Often, you’ll hear people say, ‘I wouldn’t have wished it on anyone, but it brought us together as a family.‘ That’s an example of that kind of coping.”