Let’s admit it, you’re stressed, I’m stressed, and everyone else reading this post is most likely stressed as well. Whether it be because you just started your five-page paper that’s due at midnight (cough, cough) or simply because you can’t decide what outfit you’re going to wear tomorrow morning. The beauty of stress is that it can apply to anyone at any given time, however, the downside is that we often don’t know how to deal with it and eventually break down (it’s okay I too have just recovered from such tragedy).
Everyone reacts to situations differently. What may seem like a big deal to you may not raise a hair on the person next to you. However, how you successfully deal with your stressors should be determined by what Alice Boyes refers to as your own cognitive style. We all are different. We have different ways of retaining information and further processing that information to make our own decisions. Which means that we have to create strategies that work for our own self when it comes to dealing with our stress.
One of the many reasons why we tend to stress is because of how much attention we give to a particular situation. Research shows that how much attention we have is limited, creating this notion that beyond a certain point we are unable to process what is going around us and how effectively we are able to make decisions. In the article, Boyes states that it is important to create strategies that will help find a balance between how much attention we give to a stressful situation in order to avoid overthinking.
How do you deal with your stress? Is by eating an entire tub of your favorite ice-cream (I am guilty of this), do you address the situation with positive energy, or do you completely avoid the situation until it “goes away.” Our personality definitely plays a role in which direction we chose to deal with our situation. As mentioned in Boyde’s article, those who tend to feel more hopeless should try to face the situation with a more defensive pessimistic view. Meaning that if you set low standards from the gecko and envision all the possible negative outcomes that could occur, you would be more likely to take action in trying to avoid that from happening in the first place. Resulting in less stress in the long run.
If you are the complete end of the spectrum and are someone who is optimistic about every situation you have a better chance of having to deal with your stress in a positive manner. However, one does have to realize that regardless of your subjective feeling it won’t necessarily change the reality of the situation but will help in terms of emotional well-being.
Reading this article I did find myself agreeing with a lot of what Boyes had to say in terms of how everyone has their own cognitive style in dealing with certain issues. Although I do think she could have incorporated more ideas into it in regards to other factors and solutions that one could engage in to control our stressors.
Robinson-Riegler & Robinson-Riegler, Cognitive Psychology: Applying the Science of the Mind. Pearson, 2017. ISBN 9780134003405