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How We Deal With Stress

Updated on October 27, 2012
Feeling Stressed?
Feeling Stressed? | Source

Everyday we face a colourful variety of things that stress. Us. Out. These things range from big things like losing your wallet or getting fired to smaller things such as an online writer using the bold and italic functions inappropriately.

Thankfully, humans have an arsenal of techniques that they(mostly) subconsciously use to defeat stress.

Here are just 5 ways that we do this.

Please feel free to leave a comment below outlining how you find yourself subconsciously dealing with stress and maybe I'll just add it to the list!

1. Sublimation

A lot of the time, without even realising it people will find themselves taking their emotions and channelling them into something socially acceptable. For example, someone that is feeling constantly stressed and therefore irritated might find themselves taking up a contact sport like rugby (American football) or boxing.

This technique allows us to release angst, anxiety and frustration out on something or someone without it being unacceptable in the views of others.

2. Humour

Do you know someone that is always making jokes? Someone that passes almost everything off with humour? Are you that person?
Well humour is just another way we deal with stress more specifically: inadequacy.

It’s very stressful to feel inadequate (inferior or lacking in something) in some way. One of the techniques us humans seem to use is passing off this problem (As seen in our own eyes) as not a problem at all, something to be laughed about.

This tricks the mind into forgetting that a problem even exists and therefore eliminates the need for fixing the problem. This can be a little debilitating because in a lot cases, the inadequacy could have been fixed had the person actually confronted the problem.

3. Anticipation

Got an interview tomorrow? Need to confess something important to a loved one? Maybe a tournament? Whenever something big is going to happen, it’s hard for us to not think about it: think about how it could go and think about why the situation is likely to be something and not another thing.

This as it turns out is really helpful with dealing with the stress of the situation on the day. Because of all that mental preparation you did, you feel almost as though you’ve already done what you’re going to do before you did it. This helps a lot for performing well at the time, but clearly also puts a lot of pressure and stress on you until that time. Anticipation often results in the use of other stress relieving techniques at the time, particularly active sublimation, where you decide that there’s no use threatening about it all day and that you should take your mind off the stressful event by doing something else.

4. Rationalisation

This is a technique of making yourself feel better after thinking or feeling something that you think is unacceptable or inappropriate. Rationalisation is simply making up reasons/excuses/'logical' explanations for these thoughts.

For a common example, if you found another person very attractive despite having a partner at the time, you might come up with the conclusion that your attraction is acceptable because the person is dressed provocatively or because you've had a recent fight with your partner.

This is a way of fighting internal stress which you yourself have created for yourself by thoughts that you've had.

You should take note that a lot of the time your justifications will actually be somewhat credible but that in other times they will be completely illogical.

5. Reaction Formation

Ever found yourself having to be constantly in a crowd that doesn't share your views? Reaction formation is a technique in which you learn to react to certain questions with views that you don't actually believe in.

For example, if everyone in your circle supported Manchester United so strongly as to mock anyone who didn't, then you might learn to tell people you also support the (English) football team Manchester United even if you were a strong supporter of Arsenal.

This is a way of concealing your views so that you prevent the stress of going against the social norm and works with many other things like for example homosexuality (wherein you might feel ashamed of yourself at which point it is another internal conflict).


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    • neelu sinha profile image

      Deepali 5 years ago from India


      Now the days stress is a global problem. If you are talking about humor... yes it can be a healing to stress but don't you think when a person is in stress(The stress in which people can't find out any way out), how can he go simply with the humor as others.

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Ahah that is really interesting! I don't know which stress technique that falls in, perhaps it's its own one! I'm the same with pens by the way, but they prefer black in England nowadays.

      And I think humour is the best defence technique, at least it causes pleasure for others!

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Details such as making sure I have enough BLUE pens for a written exam because it's said that Examiners prefer blue, or whether the paper that my resume is printed on is the right shade of white, you know, really important stuff that make all the difference...(I also use humour to cover my inadequacies)

    • Philanthropy2012 profile image

      DK 5 years ago from London

      Ahh that's very interesting, what kind of details? And thank you for your kind words.

    • annerivendell profile image

      annerivendell 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Great hub! Succinct and helpful. I find myself focusing on some small, irrelevant detail to distract myself from worrying when I'm about to undertake something really important, such as an exam or an interview.