Ineffective Techniques of Stress Reduction

Read this article to know more about some of the not so effective techniques of stress reduction. You'll be able to see that you have probably used many of them.

Ineffective Techniques of Stress Reduction

Stress Management

Stress is a silent killer. It is estimated to play a significant role in physical illness. Due to lifestyle changes stress is on increase. Therefore schools, other institutes, offices, and communities are concerned about knowing techniques to manage stress.

The 2 strategies of coping with stress are:

1 Ineffective Technique

2 Effective Techniques

Ineffective Techniques: Defence Mechanisms

 In the constant struggle to prevent the dangerous Id impulses, the ego faces a difficult task yet for most people, most of the time, the ego succeeds. Sometimes though Id impulses grow so strong that they threaten to get out of control. At this point, the ego may resort to one of the several different defense mechanisms. They are designed to keep unacceptable impulses from the Id out of consciousness and to prevent their open expression so as to reduce stress/ anxiety. Different defense mechanisms are:

1 Repression-  is ‘forgetting’ or pushing from consciousness into unconsciousness, unacceptable thoughts or impulses. The automatic inhibition of a threatening impulse is called depression. For example, a person who has painful experiences attached to his school or teacher may not be able to recall even the name of the school or teacher, a person may fail to recognize her attraction to her handsome new son in law. Therefore, repression serves by providing relief though temporarily, from the tension or anxiety by making one believe that the tension producing situation does not exist. However, in certain cases repression as a defense mechanism may prove detrimental in the long run.

2 Rationalization- Conjuring up socially acceptable reasons for thoughts or actions based on unacceptable reasons for it and does attempts to deceive others and himself by inventing good reasons to justify his conduct. A young woman explains that she ate an entire chocolate cake so that it would not spoil in the summer heat. The use of rationalization is almost universal. We all, at one time or the other, interpret our behaviour in an acceptable or reasonable way in order to prevent a threat to our sense of wellbeing and thus try to maintain or even enhance our image. All justifications, explanations, and excuses help the individual in getting relief from the tension or frustration by playing down the good points and stressing on the unpalatable ones.

3 Displacement- Redirecting an emotional response from a dangerous object to a safe one. When an individual is unable to react or express his emotions and impulse in a particular situation, he may resort to a displacement mechanism for relieving himself of the anxiety or frustration by transfer or displacement to another situation or object neutral, vulnerable, or less dangerous than the original. For example; a youngster rebuke by the mother, being unable to attack or react directly, I trample her flowerbed. A clerk, being ill-treated by his boss, may displace his anger towards peon or his wife or children, or a boy who is unable to get attention from his father may turn his attention to a teacher or another adult male. In this manner, displacement is a kind or substitution of one outlet for another and works as a safety valve for the pent-up emotions and impulses which otherwise may prove harmful to the self and society.

4 Projection- Transferring unacceptable motives or impulses to others. A person may have inferior, trails or motives for his defense; he may now resort to the mechanism of projection by attributing to or observing the unacceptable motives on other persons. For example, a student who has been caught cheating in the examination may defend himself by saying that others have also cheated. A man, who feels strong hostility towards a neighbor, may perceive the neighbor as being hostile to him. It is not necessary that the object of one's projection must always be persons, animals, natural and supernatural forces or even inanimate objects may serve as well. A student may blame his fortune for his failure. A badminton player may attribute his failure to his racket. Thus, in projection what is desirable or unacceptable is neither explained nor counteracted or made up for but one gets rid of it by projecting it on others.

5 Regression- Responding to a threatening situation in a way appropriate to an earlier age or level of development. Regression means going back or returning to the past. It is in a way, a retreat for an individual from the complexities of the present to an earlier and simpler form of behaviour are a more fortunate and pleasant period of one's life. A man failing in his love affair resorts to regression when he exhibits his love for a doll. An adult earning member of the family may also show signs of regression when, after a hard day, he wants to be pampered and otherwise cared for at home. A person who resorts to this mechanism of regression is introverted, timid, and lacks self-confidence. He feels secure only in old situations and strives to avoid new experiences. He avoids adventure and is fearful of new situations and turns around and retreats to the world of his past.

6 Sublimation- A defense mechanism in which threatening unconscious impulses are channelized into socially acceptable forms of behaviour. Sublimation means a way of purifying or modifying is undesirable or asocial desires and feelings. In this way sublimation may be considered as a special type of mental adjustment mechanism which helps in the rechannelling or redirection of our repressed and undesirable wishes, impulses, drive, emotions, or actions in some socially acceptable form and this saves us from mental agony and other troublesome physical consequences. For example- a student quite brave but aggressive in behaviour may turn into a good player, boxer, wrestler, savior of the week, and martyrs.

7 Reaction Formation- a reversal of motives is another method by which people attempt to cope with conflict. A motive that would arouse unbearable anxiety if it were recognized, is converted into its opposite. Here one strives to behave in ways that are sharply in contract with the ways that he tends to behave for protecting his self-esteem. By utilising reaction formation as defense, one tries to inhibit, mark or overcome certain impulses that threaten one’s self or general welfare by emphasising the opposite or contradictory ones. For example- a person who was brought up to believe that sex is dirty, and evil be painfully anxious every time sexual feelings search to surface. A person may offend against that anxiety by dressing and behaving in a very puritanical way and even by joining organised groups again sex in the media.

A person to protect him uses all defense mechanisms unconsciously. They are not permanent solutions to the trouble. They merely disguise or conceive the problem.


Raj Lakshmi Singh

1st year BA

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of MakeBetterLife.)