Why focus helps you to cope with stress

A new study finds that being mindful of the stressors in your life not only can influence how you feel, but also how you consciously cope with them.

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A growing number of researchers have found that attentive individuals tend to be happier and less stressful. Why this happens, we’re not completely sure. One possible explanation is that careful people handle the challenges of life easily and are more versatile in their dealings with problems. In turn, this could improve your health and wellness.

In order to know whether this was accurate, researchers demanded that 157 University of Connecticut undergraduate students complete an online questionnaire at the beginning of the school year. At the end of each day the month following, students finalized for seven days a daily online questionnaire.

A list of 17 possible stressors was included in the daily survey. They demonstrated which of those stressors were the most distressing or upsetting they faced that day, and they then answered questions about the “worst” occurrence that day, such as how stressful it was and how much power they had. The following described potential coping mechanisms, such as acceptance, constructive re-assessment, self-belief, and abandonment, asked which of these their “worst” stressors of the day were. They asked for more details. Finally, you rated your mood with a motivated, involved, driven, scared, upset or shamed list of emotions.

Why awareness helps you cope with stress

Similar to previous research, findings have shown that people who have considered themselves more vigilant find their interactions less stressful and less likely to become pessimistic moods in the face of difficulties. That indicates that it can be difficult to grasp the immediate situation, providing a buffer for negative emotions such as guilt, anxiety or fear. The current study has shown that there are not actually more conscientious people who felt more favorable. You just feel less bad.

More careful people showed less self-responsiveness and better able to accept circumstances that they cannot alter in terms of how they handled it. Caution, the authors say,’ predisposes people to increase their use of coping acceptance in fairly uncontrollable circumstances versus problem-oriented coping in situations with a greater increase in problem-focused strategies when a stressor is considered to be more controllable.’

In general, the study findings show that being mindful of and how much we can manage ups and downs of life will improve our stress tolerance. In effect, this could result in more deliberate and adaptive coping strategies and keep us from trapped in bad moods.

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