Loginova O. I.
The full text in Russian and English languages
STRESS COPING TECHNIQUES
OR HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS
Currently more and more people all over the world suffer the affect of stress. This is due to emotional pressure appearing in different everyday situations. Stress influences various age groups: children starting from the preschool age, pupils, students and adults and seniors. One of the reasons that the children are stressed is that they live under expectation to be punished by their parents for mistakes or bad marks in school; besides, strict teachers cause children’s anxiety throughout the class. This may be observed in both favourable and unfavourable families. Children stress may be caused by poor adaptation in their age group. School graduates and students are mostly often stressed about their exams. This is related to waiting for the exam to come, fear to receive bad mark as well as poor performance during the exam when the student hardly or does not know the answers to the questions. Adults are stressed due to multiple reasons. These may be extreme situations, including anthropogenic accidents, natural disasters, sentence to imprisonment, physical, psychological and sexual abuse, family problems, difficulties at work, problem of loneliness or retirement. A person who is constantly subject to stress may develop psychosomatic diseases. That’s why psychologists perform studies in order to detect, classify and prevent stressful situations taking into consideration personal traits of character, as well as to reveal a personality’s internal resources enabling us to cope with stress.
COPING – BEHAVIOUR STRATEGIES
1.1. Coping terminology
The term coping was used for the first time by Murphy (cited ) in 1962 when he studied ways in which children overcome demands that appear during critical periods of their development. Such ways include active strive of a personality with the purpose to take control over difficult situations or problems.
Coping comes from the English ‘to cope’, which means ‘to deal with’. . Studies of human behaviour in stressful situations resulted in detecting coping mechanisms that determine further successful or unsuccessful adaptation.
According to Kondakov I. M. , coping behaviour is a form of behaviour showing that the individual is ready to solve problems and orients in his/her behaviour to accommodate to the circumstances of life. Coping behaviour suggests that the ability to use certain means to overcome emotional stress has already been formed. Specific features of this ability are related with Ego-concept, control locus, empathy and environment.
The author considers that there are three types of coping strategy: child coping (negation and distortion of the reality); adolescent coping (projection, hypochondria, emotional outbursts); mature (humour, conscious abstraction from disturbing thoughts). As an individual gets older, there is a shift from child coping strategies to the mature ones.
According to A. Masclow (), coping behaviour is opposed to expressive behaviour.
V. A. Bodrov Med. Dr. writes  that the most characteristic mental condition that develops under extreme life conditions is stress.
According to the author, the term ‘stress’ includes a wide range of issues related with the originating, manifestation and consequences of extreme influences of the environment, conflicts and so on. Various aspects of stress are studied by psychologists, physiologists, medical scientists and other researchers.
V. A. Bodrov states that until today, the notions of stress, distress, pressure, tension, emotional stress and so on are not clearly distinguished in literature.
In his book ‘Psychological Stress: Development and Coping Techniques’ , the scientists mentions that ‘the problem of stress stopped being exclusively scientific, but rather became a notion encompassing wide range of every day events, including changes of mental state under the influence of extreme circumstances. Stress as a specific mental condition is related with manifesting emotions… and is reflected in motivational, cognitive, volitional, character and other elements of a personality. That’s why the phenomenon of stress should be studied from psychological point of view.’
Maklakov A. G. Dr. Phil. in psychology , in his book ‘General Psychology’ explains the role of stress in a human life, enumerates the circumstances of long-term stress suffered on physiological level.
According to Maklakov A. G. Stress is an emotional condition. One of the main characteristics of stress is its instability. In certain cases this condition may turn into optimal condition, while in other cases it may turn into a state of nervous and emotional tension that is characterized by lower efficiency, poor functioning of systems and organs, and exhausted energy resources.
An American professor of psychology David Mayers  writes that ‘stress is not a stimulus, nor a reaction. It is a process during which we evaluate the situation and fight with the threat.’
The notion of stress was introduced by H. Selye (). He found out that when being exposed to unfavourable factors, such as fear, humiliation, pain and many others, the body responses with single-type reaction in dependence on the irritant.
In his studies H. Selye () proved that there are several stages of adaptation that characterize stress. The stages of stress are characteristic for any process of adaptation.
During the first stage – anxiety, according to H. Selye, the defensive forces of the body are being organized, thus enhancing its stability. The body functions under much pressure. Initial physiological mobilization manifests itself, as a rule, by following symptoms: the blood becomes thicker, the liver or spleen grow, etc. The end of the first stage is marked by efficiency. Thus, the stress appears when the body has to adapt to new conditions, i.e. the stress cannot be separated from the adaptation process.
During the second stage, called stabilization or maximally effective adaptation, all the parameters that were misbalanced during the first stage, are being fixed on a new level. However if the stress continues for a long time or if the stress factors are very intense, the third stage, the stage of exhaust, is inevitable. Under stress secretion of certain hormones into the blood starts. Cardiac rhythm becomes more frequent. Blood coagulability increases and protective mechanisms of the body change.
Thus, having analyzed special literature on psychology, we may come to a conclusion that stress is the body’s reaction to adaptation to extreme life situations. This reaction, first of all, is reflected in human psychosomatics. The stronger the stress, the more distinct psychosomatics.
Types of stress, according to Maklakov A. G. , may be conventionally classified as physiologic and mental. In its tern, mental stress may be classified as informational and emotional. Informational stress appears in cases of high information overloads. Emotional stress is related with dangerous situations, threat, sorrow and so on. Under the stress, informational and emotional factors may not be separated. In its turn, there are three forms of emotional stress: impulsive, inhibitory and generalized.
S. Yu. Golovin, editor of the ‘Dictionary of Practical Psychology’  mentions that such forms of emotional stress as impulsive, inhibitory and generalized ‘lead to modification of mental processes, emotional shifts, motivational structure transformation and modifications of motor an verbal behaviour. ’
P.T. Wong (cited ) suggested the following classification of stress:
- Internal personal Stress;
- Interpersonal Stress;
- Personal Stress;
- Family Stress;
- Work Stress;
- Ecologic Stress;
- Financial Stress; and
- Social Stress.
Yu. V. Scherbatikh  provides in his book detailed description of professional stress, which he divides into separate types: educational stress, stress experienced by medical practitioners, managerial stress, and sportive stress. Besides, the author has analyzed the reasons of the industrial stress and the phenomenon of professional decay. As to him, professional reasons of stress are conditioned by lack of knowledge and skills, and in certain cases are related with the health of a person. Reasons of personal types of stress are more often related with low self esteem, lack of self confidence, fear of failure and uncertainty in future.
Thus, when analyzing these literature sources, one can see that there is huge variety of the types of stress in modern world, which influences mental and physiological level of human life. The reasons of stress may be internal personal or interpersonal. Stress depends on objective and subjective factors.
Maklakov A. G. , considers that ‘people with increased sense of anxiety are more subject to be affected by stress, which may manifest by various reactions known as anxiety reaction.’
Foreign researcher in Psychology, Nutt D.J. (cited ), distinguishes four elements that play important role in state of anxiety:
All these happen in order to prepare the body for what Kennon () called ‘fight or run’. He treated this reaction as a wonderful adaptive system.
Canadian scientist Hans Selye  contributed to Kennon’s theory by his scientific study that took 40 years to complete, and made Stress one of the most important notions in psychology and medicine.
Scherbatikh Yu. V. Dr. Phil in Biology  suggests that behavioural, intellectual emotional, and physiological manifestations of stress should be studies separately, taking into consideration that these forms of manifestation of stress are closely and objectively interrelated.
According to the author, behavioural manifestations of stress may be classified into four groups:
Psychomotor dysfunctions may manifest as:
M. K. Akimova and K. M. Gurevich, authors of the book  ‘Psychological Diagnostics’ state that anxiety is related with existing deep internal conflicts, insufficiency of internal resources required to achieve a set goal, mis-coordination between needs and lack of desire to satisfy the need.
According to the authors, ‘anxiety as a mental state is often called situational anxiety, as it is related with a specific external situation. Anxiety is determined as temporary and transitory emotional condition characterized by subjective feeling of tension and worry. Anxiety as a trait is graded by the level of stable inclination to be anxious. However, the way of perception of each potentially worrying situation depended, first of all, on the individual’s past experience.”
Analyzing the literature, we may come to the conclusion that anxiety is a component of stress and, as a rule, is manifested on emotional and physiological level by distorted psychomotor functions. Analysis of this condition allows ruling out adequate measures in order to enable an individual to overcome anxiety with the purpose of successful adaptation.
FORMS OF STRESS COPING STRATEGIES
Bodrov V. A. , a scientist studying stress, writes the following: ‘Main issues that arouse during study and discussion on the essence of mental stress and ways to overcome it are determined by lack of general unifying theory describing the nature of stress and its adverse effect for a human being. Alongside with this, many scientists studying the reasons of stress, its symptoms, individual and psychological particularities, methods of measurements, preventive measures and liquidation techniques, looked into this matter.’
Stress coping is the subject of the entire series of studies. Among Russian psychologists who are authors of scientific works on stress are Kuznetsov M. A., Frolova S. V., Abramova G. S., Sirota N. A. Yaltonsky V. A. and others
Foreign authors studying coping with stress are R. Lazarus and S. Volkman, E. Heim, G. Amirkhan, N. Endler, D. Parker, N. Kupera, T. A. Ville, L. Perlyn and K. Schuler and others. The most interesting works written by them describe the mechanism of stress coping strategies (behavioural strategies) and their relation with coping resources (personal resources) and other psychological characteristic.
We would like to mention a scientific work written by candidate of sciences in psychology, Osipova N. A  ‘Psychological Particularities of Marital Relations During Young Family Crisis’. In her work the author studied ‘forms of the spouses’ individual reaction in conflict situations during marital relations crisis in the families… and their relation with successful adaptation of young spouses to the family life and, especially, their reactions in conflict situations.’
In her scientific study the author mentions that ‘there are practically no families without conflicts, and it is especially true about young families; conflicts differ a lot in different families as to their nature, frequency, and, most important, as to the ability to settle them…’
Besides, in her dissertation Osipova N. A. writes that ‘young family crisis… is a process of adaptation to the family life, mutual accommodation of the spouses.’ According to the author ‘… existence of conscious will of the partners to develop mutually, to determine changes in the relations, allow the spouses to correct their behaviour.’
On the basis of her scientific studies of young families, the author came to a number of conclusions:
‘…- Spouses’ adaptation to marital and family relations should be regarded as a process of elaborating their own stable forms of reaction to conflict situations that may relate to any side of family life.
…- Successful adaptation consists of forming constructive forms of reactions in conflict situations, while failure to adapt means the use of non-constructive forms of reaction.
…- During a crisis, young families, regardless of the degree of mutual satisfaction, use various forms of reaction in conflict situations:
- Protection, directed to protect his/her own health (in case of mutually unsatisfying type);
- Co-ownership, aimed at preserving family interests (in case of mutually satisfying type).’
Mikhaylova N. F. was another scientist who studied family stress and coping.
It is worth to mention scientific works dedicated to adolescents’ coping behaviour written by Kornilova O. A.  ‘Meaningful life Situations in the Structure and Strategies of Des-Adaptive Behaviour in Adolescents’ and Zapesotskaya I. V. ‘Particularities of Conflict Situations and Coping Strategies in Adolescence’.
Furthermore, we would like to note a scientific work of a psychologist providing analysis of students’ behavioural strategies: Kovrova M. V.  ‘Students’ Communicative Stress Study’.
Thus we may see that the behavioural strategies in crisis situations were studied by Russian and foreign scientists from different points: different age and social groups were analyzed, alongside with issues of families and students’ behavioural strategies, taking into consideration professional background of the studied groups. These are only few of the scientific works that were quoted in the thesis. Other studies were held by psychologists among people of hazardous and extreme professions.
Russian Psychologist Bodrov V. A. () mentions in his book that ‘the notions of Strategy in relation with stress coping involves certain types of analyzing conditions, predispositions or signs of stress situations and person’s behaviour in these conditions.’
In the author’s opinion stress coping includes four groups of means: avoiding stress factors by means of regulating life and work conditions; regulating the requirements of the situation; modification of stress producing behaviour; and development of personal resources needed to overcome stress.
Foreign Psychologist H. Weber () considers that psychological strategies to overcome stress include the following forms:
1) Cognitive or behavioural solution of the problem; 2) search of social support; 3) interpretation of the situation to the person’s benefit; 4) protection and negation of the problem; 5) avoidance; 6) compassion to oneself; 7) decrease of self-esteem; and 8) emotional expression.
Adaptive behavioural habits that should be adopted anew and automated, constitute a very important behavioural goal, the achievement of which requires including a lot of factors that promote rational behaviour. First of all, the purpose of behavioural strategies should be determined. Classification of the behavioural goals into partial or stage related .
Yu. P. Platonov  describes in his book human behavioural strategies. Behavioural strategy is modifying an activity or its form:
According to the author, strategies of emotional coping manifest themselves as different inadequate assessments of the situations, which leads to anxiety. Different means of information processing take place in the cognitive sphere:
T. Yu. Bilgildeeva and T. P. Kryukova (), in their studies ‘dedicated to age aspects … and held analyzing the groups of patients 15-19 years old, determined, first of all, that young people use big variety of stress coping strategies (more than 400!) when they meet with tension and anxiety as the result of different unpleasant events.’ Secondly, it was determined ‘that young people choose behavioural strategies (60.4% cases), cognitive strategies (22.8%) and emotional strategies (16.8%), which, in the authors’ opinion, indicates that rational behaviour prevails in stress situations.’
Saprovskaya M. V.  in her work ‘Relations Between Children and Parents and Coping Behaviour of First-Grade Pupils During their Adaptation to School’ mentions ‘the fact that relations between parents and young pupils that are included into the child’s value system are determined by the fact that parents may become a factor of success or failure of the child to adapt during this period.’ In the author’s opinion, the child’s strongest emotional bonds are those with the parents. That’s why worries that dominate in parents-children relations, stereotypes of parents’ behaviour, particularities of cooperation between the parents and the child, would be reflected in their relations with their peers and adults. Thus, in the author’s opinion, parents ‘… produce active influence on the growth of the child’s personality and on his/her development.’ The beginning of school and difficulties related therewith are stressing not only for the child, but for the parents as well. Stress situation and related to it negative anxiety ‘trigger’ the mechanism of psychological coping.
When analyzing behaviour strategies, the author of the work determined that ‘the most productive strategy for the child’s successful adaptation to school are prevailing emotions of the parents that make part of the group of emotional acceptance, such as models of ‘unconditional acceptance’ and ‘conditional acceptance’, as well as frequent use of the coping strategies by the parents in order to analyze and solve problems, as well as of those coping strategies that are oriented to receive social support.’
Zapesotskaya I. V.  in her dissertation ‘Particularities of Conflict Situations and Coping Strategies in Adolescence’ writes about her studies held between 6-8 grade pupils. Behaviour of both boys and girls was studied.
As the result of the analysis the author detected a serious of coping techniques used by the pupils in conflict situations, such as:
- Protective behaviour;
- Situational behaviour;
- Constructive ways to overcome stress.
As the author of the dissertation points out, the studies allows us to determine that the behaviour of adolescents in conflict situations is mostly situational. Then they use protective and only after that – constructive strategies. Throughout the course of the study it was found out that by the 8th grade the degree of constructiveness increases if compared with the 6th grade.
According to Zapesotskaya I. V., situational behaviour constitutes an intermediate stage, during which restoring strategies are closer to the protective forms, while regulated strategies are closer to the constructive ones.
In author’s opinion, protective behaviour is characterized by pupils’ passiveness, while situational behaviour is characterized by activeness. Activity is also low when the behaviour is regulated. In case of restoring situational behaviour the activity is in its peak. Its drawback is that it is impulsive.
Zapesotskaya I. V. believes that constructive way to overcome conflict situations involves assessment of the situation and setting targets of one’s behaviour. It’s this reflection that makes constructive adaptation most adequate in any situation.
Kornilova O. A. also studied behavioural strategies used by adolescents. . In her work ‘Important Life Events in the Structure and Strategy of Adolescents’ Des-Adaptive Behaviour’ she studied behavioural effects of living through important life situations in adolescence, especially in family relations, where the type of family relations and personal particularities of adults were considered. The author points out that such anxiety results in des-adaptive behaviour, which constitutes a type of compensation and protection. Des-adaptive behaviour is regarded as subconsciously worked out and used by an adolescence inadequate way to live through important life events.
The researches made it possible to distinguish a group of adolescents having actively aggressive and passively dependant forms of behaviour. The choice of the strategy depends on the way of living through important life events, on the adolescent’s personality features, traits of character and personality status.
Having analyzed scientific
studies dedicated to adolescents’ behaviour, we would like to underline general
features that are distinctive to the adolescents. Adolescents’ behaviour depends
on the entire range of factors, such as: social background, behaviour strategy
chosen by a personality serving a role-model for the adolescent, as the process
of imitation and learning is very important. Temperament of the adolescent,
his/her age and sex also influence the choice of behavioural strategies.
Libina E. V.  in her work ‘Individual Differences of Coping Strategies in Difficult Life Situations’ elaborated differential and psychological classification of coping and protection strategies. This classification identifies behavioural and cognitive strategies as a separate class. In the author’s opinion, all the strategies may be classified into emotional, cognitive and behavioural, and each of them, in its turn, may be of coping or protective nature. According to Libina E. V., dominating coping and protective ways to solve difficult life situations makes a tremendous impact onto psychological and social wellbeing of a person. The author managed to identify 18 coping and 18 protective strategies, which differ in their modality (cognitive, emotional and behavioural), direction (self-orientated, orientated towards others or towards an object), and intensity (active and passive). From the author’s point of view, coping strategies are positively related with such factors as ability to switch over and activity. Libina E. V. detected positive relation between preferred coping strategy and a person’s satisfaction with his/her life (which is a contextual characteristic of a personality).
Mikhaylova N. F.  in her dissertation ‘Systematic Study of Individual and Family Stress and Coping Techniques of Healthy People - Members of Families’ studied 70 complete families with adolescents. There were 40 practically healthy families and 30 families in which one of the members suffered from neurosis
The author of the dissertation found out several micro factors of stress in healthy families:
- Fathers: lack of money, unfinished work, thoughts of his future, conflicts with the wife;
- Mothers: lack of money, arguments with the child, arguments with the husband, thoughts of her future;
- Adolescents: access of home assignments, lack of money, thoughts of his/her future, arguments with parents, unfinished work.
Mikhaylova N. F. points out that members of healthy families, unlike members of the families in which one of the members suffers from neurosis, are less subject to conflict situations both inside and outside the family. The effectiveness of coping in healthy family depends on the character of the emotional state in stress situations, as well as on the chosen coping strategy. The more resources (mental wellbeing) has the subject, the more favourable his/her emotional status in the stress situation is, which influences the choice of coping strategy and eventual efficiency of coping.
Kovrova M. V.  in her dissertation ‘Students’ Communicative Stress Study’ studied students’ coping techniques and the dynamics thereof throughout educational process. The participants of the study were students of different professions: teachers and psychologies, in the beginning and in the end of the educational process.
According to the results of the study, future teachers – students of the 1st year, showed the following coping techniques in behavioural sphere: adaptive (collaboration, conversion, altruism); relatively adaptive (compensation, distraction, constructive activity); non-adaptive (active avoiding, giving up). Optimism is dominant in the emotional sphere, while aggressiveness is less pronounced. Coping behaviour of men and women is the same. According to the information provided by the author, in the beginning of their education process future teachers prefer adaptive forms of coping behaviour in each class.
Future psychologists, in the beginning of their educational process, mostly use the following behaviour forms: conversion, distraction, cooperation, compensation and giving up. Such forms as altruism, active avoidance and constructive activity are not significantly marked.
Kovrova M. V. noticed that students studying psychology in the 1st year use adaptive techniques in 43% of cases, relatively adaptive in 37%, and non-adaptive in 19%. Unlike teachers, psychology 1st year students use much less constructive and much more relatively constructive techniques. There is no significant difference between teachers and psychologists in emotional coping behaviour. By the end of their education process psychologists acquire collaboration, which becomes the most active technique, followed by distraction and compensation, which are relatively adaptive, altruism, constructive activity and, the last, active avoidance and conversion. Senior students of the teaching department use less of adaptive techniques and more non-adaptive ones.
The analysis of scientific works revealed that in order to satisfy the necessities of life it is preferred to use coping behaviour strategy, rather than protective one. More efficient in solving life problems are adaptive stress coping strategies, rather than non-adaptive.
Theory of Coping Behaviour based on the work of cognitive psychologists Lasarus and Folkman (cited ), distinguishes basic coping strategies: ‘problem solving’, ‘search for social support’, ‘avoidance’ and basic coping resources: Ego-concept, Control Locus, empathy, affiliation and cognitive resources.
One of the major basic coping resources, according to the authors, is Ego-concept, the positive nature of which stimulates the feeling of self-confidence and ability to control the situation. The next other coping resources is empathy, which includes both empathy per se and ability to accept another point of view, which allows quicker evaluation of the problem and creates more versions of solving the problem. Affiliation as a coping resource is manifest as a sense of feeling attachment and faithfulness as well as communicability and desire to cooperate with others. Affiliation regulates informational and social support by means of building efficient interrelations. The success of coping behaviour is determined by cognitive resources. Cognitive resources allow assessing the stress-creating event itself, as well as the amount of the available coping resources.
P.T. Wong () elaborated a resource model and explained their correspondence to the needs of effective stress coping. An important characteristic of this model is the special attention it pays to the proactive measurements. If a person constantly develops his/her resources in their variety and rationally avoids risks, he/she reduces potential risk of stress development.
The author of the model includes the following resources into the resource states: psychological, intellectual, spiritual, social, physical, financial cultural and environmental.
Reactive coping with stress, according to P.T. Wong, starts as soon as the initial assessment detects a problematic situation. During this stage the following two types of resources coordination are of major importance in order to effectively cope with stress: first of all, the assessment should reflect real situation, and secondly, it is necessary that the strategy chosen should correspond to the character of stress. Eventually, the choice of adequate resources and corresponding stress coping strategies will reduce the stress.
According to the author, effective coping with stress is assessed by the following criteria: efficiency of energy and resources consumption, efficiency in achieving targeted purpose of opposing the stress and of recovering the body and mind functional balance, personality development through enhancing abilities, increased self-respect and well being. Thus, successful coping with stress facilitates obtaining short-term and long-term benefits.
Yu. V. Scherbatikh Dr. Phil in Biology  suggests two classifications of the methods used to neutralize stress. First classification is based on the nature of anti-stress influence: physical, chemical or psychological, while the other is based on the method of acquiring anti-stress orientation, individually or with the assistance of another person.
According to the author, the reduction of stress may be achieved by autogenic therapy, meditation, massage, physical activity, hydrotherapeutic procedures, sex, music therapy, light therapy, phytotherapy, pharmacotherapy, alcohol, and so on.
In dependence on the source of stress (in past, present or future) the coping techniques will be very different ( )
Yu. V. Scherbatikh  in his book ‘Stress Psychology and Correction Methods’ describes an algorithm of coping with stress in dependence on time relation to the stress:
- Algorithm of actions when expecting stress (future stress);
- Algorithm of actions during stress (present stress); and
- Algorithm if actions after stress situation was in the past, but the stress is not over (past stress).
The author advises that a person experiencing anxiety when expecting stress should reduce the level of anxiety by means of autogenic therapy or by concentrating on breath. Then Yu. V. Scherbatikh suggests learning to form self-confidence by NLP techniques. After that, according to the author, it is necessary to model in mind expected result and to run ‘ideal’ scenario in mind multiple times.
If a person is already stressed, the algorithm of the coping techniques should be different, according to the author’s. In order to reduce negative emotions ‘Full Breathing’ techniques should be used. With the help of autogenic therapy or NLP a person should enhance his/her self-confidence. Then the structure of stress should be determined. Besides, the person should analyze his/her resources, develop a plan of action and to make first steps towards its realization.
In the case when the third algorithm is used because the event that caused stress is in past, but it is still important for the person, the author considers that the person should dissociate from such a situation and then to choose the resources needed (indifference, calmness and so on) and to actualize them using NLP techniques. Then he/she should find positive moments in the situation that was created, and to finish the work by modelling desired result.
Today more and more consideration is given to different methods of Art Therapy used for successful coping with stress.
Cheder Williams  in his book ‘Speaking Picture or How to Know Your Internal ‘Me’’ provides advice how to cope with stress. In order to do the exercise ‘Express Anxiety’ Cheder Williams suggests:
Lucia Capaccione  suggests drawing with both hands in order to release stress. In her opinion this exercise allows to free the mind from unnecessary sad or worrying thoughts and serves a relaxant. When feeling exhausted, upset, mentally distressed, one should try to do the exercise using both hands.
A. M. Shevtchenko , who is a practicing psychologist and art therapist, writes in her work that each person periodically finds him/herself in crisis situations, such as loss of job, illness, death of close person… The author says that often our problems are created by ourselves. She advises to use the force of positive imagination.
In her work A. M. Shevtchenko describes ‘Cutting the Problem Away’ exercise. She suggests that you draw your problem on the right side as a clew of tangled threads, and that you draw yourself on the left side. Then you should take scissors and to cut the part of the picture with the problem. According to this Art Therapist, this action will help our mind to clarify the situation and to solve the problem. The author considers that our thoughts put into writing are our holograms. Thus, they may be destroyed, i.e. a person may free him/herself from negative energy, negative thoughts and emotions .
Barbara Ganim  states that expressive art may help us to avoid negative thoughts that block our body’s abilities. Expressive arts, according to her, may help to liberate from stressful emotions, which weaken our immune system, as proven by multiple studies. Barbara Ganim, the author of ‘Healing through Arts’ writes that as soon as negative emotions are visualized, there appears a possibility to get rid of them by expressing them in a painting, sculpture or collage.
Barbara Ganim considers that negative thoughts and emotions provoke stress. Psychological tension that lasts for a long period of time may interfere with the immune system, after which healthy cells may be modified, which may lead to serious diseases. She, together with many other Art Therapists, suggests starting drawing with subdominant hand. This is a means to reduce the control of a person over his/her actions and to prevent him/her from criticizing the work. Basing on her observations she came to the conclusion that people who don’t know how to draw achieve better results. According to the author, when working with drawings, it is advisable to turn on relaxing music, preferably with no lyrics. Negative emotions may be expressed through colour, form, lines and other visual forms. The mere act of placing the negative and stressful emotion onto the paper will liberate our body from the pressure and will never be harmful again.
Having studied Russian and
Foreign literature on Coping Resources and Stress Coping Techniques, we came to
the following conclusions: Art Therapy is a powerful tool in working with
stressful situations and assisting exit from such situations. Dance Therapy,
Music Therapy, Photo Therapy and so on show significant advantage in
Psychotherapy. In all these cases the person would let go the emotions and thus
will reduce tension. The analysis of literature sources suggests the conclusion
that coping resources include first of all cognitive resources, which serve the
basis of choice of coping strategies, as in different sources the number of
coping strategies is different: from 5-6 to 400 strategies. Intellectual skills
of a person allow him/her to choose multiple strategies. In certain cases
combined strategies may be used, which leads to successful adaptation to
stressful situations. Coping resources include psychological, spiritual,
physical and financial resources. One of the most important resource conditions
of a person is confidence in his/her forces, which brings calmness and
concentration of thoughts, and favours to the achievement of the goals.
In her book ‘Stress Management Course’, I. Yu. Miteva, a practicing psychologist , gives several recommendations for those who want to cope with stress.
Hydro massage. In the opinion of the author of the book, this type of massage is the most effective one for the stress. Massaging certain spots on the face, neck and head is also very effective. It is necessary to locate zones with hardened skin. These should be intensively rubbed and squeezed.
Physical Activity. Exercises release stress and trigger chemical reactions in the body, which makes us feel good. We recommend exercising daily, at least 30 minutes a day.
Swimming also neutralizes the consequences of stress. During swimming the muscles are relaxed. Water helps us find piece of mind and start thinking positively.
According to the author, alongside with physical activity, relaxation and mediation are also powerful stress coping tools. Skills of quick relaxation make it possible to reduce the level of stress and to avoid dependence, as any dependence is problematic.
In the opinion of I. Yu. Miteva, there is a connection between negative emotions that a person experiences in stressful situations, and muscular tension. Negative emotions (fear, anxiety, excitement, irritation and so on) always provoke muscular tension. Ability to consciously reduce excessive tension may help to effectively direct the emotions and to reduce their impact.
S. A. Igumnov MD  suggests Relaxant Mask for facial muscles relief. This exercise allows to relax mimic, masticator muscles and tongue. Each tense muscle produces an impact on the motor zone of the brain.
Relaxant Mask is used in those cases when there is no possibility to use autogenic training. This exercise reduces physical and mental tension, and will result in disappearing headache.
Holistic massage is used to reduce psychological and physical stress . It is used for psychosomatic and emotional conditions, state of fear and depression, psychological, physical and sexual abuse. The author of holistic (pulsation) massage is T. Browning.
Holistic massage enables to realize the signals of one’s body, as they reflect directly the needs of unconscious. Realizing the signals of the body helps the person to connect to his/her internal source of knowledge.
Sarvir I.  in his book ‘Get Rid of Stress’ suggests to use internal resources in order to reduce the impact of stress factors. Such resources include:
1. Stress preventing breathing
2. Short term relaxation
4. Changing of the environment
9. Communication and
There are other methods to change stress related coping behaviour. The efficiency of these methods is partially studied. First of all, there are relaxation techniques, stimulus control, various forms of hidden conditioning, or biological feedback, and so on. Usually several methods are used separately or in combination .
Biblio-therapy () is used to improve the behaviour in the conditions of stress through the information and exercise programs, though communicative impact of books. Alongside with social forms of interference, cognitive behavioural or physiological interference may be used. Physiological interference includes biological feedback, cognitive interference includes self verbalization training, and behavioural interference includes training competence.
According to Miteva I. Yu. , humour therapy is also a strong weapon helping to reduce stress. A smile relaxes facial muscles: sorrow involves 43 muscles, while smile only 17. In its turn, this will cool the blood in the brain vessels and will produce elements stimulating the work of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for feeling joy. Biochemical processes inhibit appearance of ‘stress hormones’. In each particular case it is necessary to re-think the stress situation in a positive way, to look into it from another angle. Using positive approach, it is necessary to try to find alternate possibilities in making decisions that were beyond conscious.
Thus, we can see that Russian and foreign authors suggest multiple autogenic training and relaxation techniques to be used to prevent and to cope with stress. Each person should choose appropriate technique of relaxation, breathing, massage and physical exercises in dependence on his/her psychological and physical condition. All this will enhance positive mode and will add confidence in communicating with others.
Our analysis of the scientific literature allows us to make the following conclusions:
1. Coping Strategies of different people in different situations will be different.
2. These strategies depend on the level of anxiety of the personality
3. Coping behaviour depends on the age of the person. The same person growing older will change his/her strategy. This is due to the acquired experience.
4. The choice of strategy depends on the social environment of each person, on the lifestyle norms that are acceptable for each person.
5. Adaptation strategy is most often used to effectively cope with stress, followed by avoiding the problem, switching over to searching support from friends or close people, in order to be heard, understood and assisted.
Correctly chosen strategy will help to quicker remove stressing factors, to reduce anxiety level, to enhance health and to restore efficiency.
When the stress is coped with, the person obtains confidence in his/her resources, higher self-esteem, and restored internal harmony, which brings satisfaction with life and leads to the development of the personality.
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