Life is stressful. To prevent becoming stressed out there must be a stress coping strategy devised and personalized to each and every individual. Research has shown the benefit of sleep, optimism, physical activity, and doing something nice for another person as a positive and helpful stress reducing strategy.
Today, everything is about more, more, and more; that is except for sleep. For some reason people believe they can neglect a quality night’s rest. The body needs sleep and does not function properly without it. Hall’s study, Sleep as a mediator of the stress-immune relationship, found that the EEG-assessed during sleep may be significantly correlated to the stress-immune relationship. This is of importance because stress-related changes in immune function have been associated with adverse clinical health outcomes; such as increased susceptibility to the common cold. Additionally, stress was also related to subjective sleep complaints and immune function.
Research has shown that optimistic people are more likely to have successful adaptations to stressful encounters. Weintraub and Carver’s study on, Coping with stress, found that pessimism was associated with denial and distancing, with focusing on stressful feelings. Pessimists were also disengaged from their goal of which their stressor was interfering with; which means their determination or will to achieve a goal was diminished because of their attitude’s response to stress. Optimistic people were more positively associated with problem focused coping as well as willing to seek social support. Bottom line, optimists engage in more adaptive coping responses to stress than do pessimists.
Shopping is not only a girls’ best friend it is a way to relieve stress. However, there is a catch to that claim. The issue of acquisition factor versus discount factor does play a role in the release of stress. Turns out there is also a monetary component too. Spending more doesn’t not correlate with greater stress relief, but with diversion buying there is a greater expenditure needed to acquire that sense of stress relief. Shopping for others such as a close friend, specifically among women, contributed to release of stress as well. This idea related to the acquisition factor, and the idea of gift-giving works. The acquisition factors states that if respondents scores for buying goods for themselves were the highest, then it indicates that the acquisition factors gives the most release of stress.
Physical fitness is directly related to both psychological and physical distress. Physical fitness is inverselely associated with distress. The more an individual is able to exercise, the greater the decrease in distress. This occurs because fitness serves as a buffer to the effects of stress. Being physically active also has an indirect effect on stress by positive assocations with psychological resources, such as self-esteem. Engaging in exercise is not only good for one’s health, it is a distraction from depressive symptoms and is preventing those symptoms from manifesting. The buffer model best explains this principle: when physical resources are at their heighest the social stressors are high and fitness is low. If an individual has a low fitness level then they are less capable to cope with stress, thus resulting in higher levels of distress.
A successful stress coping strategy would not be complete without journaling. Writing down one’s feelings has important implications for understanding one’s own coping process. This relationship allows for links between journaling (self-report) and objective health measures, and the value of insight compared to catharsis in healing. Both insight and healing is necessary to be able to cope with life’s stressors. Tying it all together now. Being able to write down and journal: 1) quality of sleep: indicating how long it took to fall asleep, length of sleep, and any sleeps disruptions. In the journal note if there is any rise of disease or sudden illness; look for a relationship between sleep and health. 2) Mood of that day: was optimism high or was the mood and attitude filled with pessimism. Look and see if there are any correlations between sleep and mood that day, keeping a journal will be able to point out patterns and indicate that more sleep associates with more optimistic attitudes. 3) Physical activity, remembering to move is not only important for health, but for mental strength and mental health as well. Lastly, 4) Giving a gift, write down if shopping for a friend occurred and the emotions and feelings tied to the action of doing something for someone else and if that feeling was able to reduce the perception of stress.
Article Written By GUADS Staff Member: Kaitlyn