The relationship between stress and psychological symptoms has been related to emotion regulation and coping.
Coping is defined as cognitive and behavioural efforts to manage specific external and/or internal demands that are appraised as taxing or exceeding the resources of the person.
Coping is divided into task-focused (problem focus), emotion-focused (blaming) and avoidance coping (distraction or social diversion).
Emotion regulation/inhibition refers to the process by which individuals influence the emotions they have, when they have them and how they experience and express these emotions.
Emotion regulation is further divided into rumination (repetitive thoughts), emotional inhibition (not showing feelings), aggression control and benign control (regrets).
Task-oriented coping was found to have the highest positive correlation with health.
Emotion-focused coping is more likely to be associated with psychological distress and is less effective.
Rumination was found to be the greatest emotion-focused predictor of cardiovascular reactivity, interpersonal sensitivity, hostility, depression, phobic anxiety and somatisation (The process by which psychological distress is expressed as physical symptoms.)
Beverly’s Comments – What does this mean for our wellness programming?
Many people do not truly understand the relationship between the source of stress and the reactions to that stress and to the strategies utilized.
Strategies that help the person deal directly with the situation help the person to stay healthier and reduce the risk of depression, anxiety and interpersonal conflict. Strategies are also needed to successfully stop/block rumination. Here we can employ such strategies as distraction and social diversion.
The S-O-S Principle (Situation – Ourself – Support) that I developed is comprehensive and ensures that each of these areas is considered when developing a personal action plan. It doesn’t rely on the flavour-of-the-day.
When hiring someone to present your stress management workshops, ask how they address these areas to ensure that they are comprehensive in their knowledge, views and deliverables.
Are your stress management workshop leaders skilled at discussing comprehensive strategies that your team needs?